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Pulau Weh remains, even after the horrible 2005 tsunami, an underwater pearl with many different kinds of diving.

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Rated 5.0, 2 votes

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Pulau Weh, Weh Island, Pulo Weh or Sabang as locals often call it is only 15 kilometers northwest of the northern tip of Sumatra, right into the Andaman Sea. It is a small active volcanic island with a smoking crater of 617 meter high and several mud pools nearby formed by volcanic gasses. Most tourists stay at laid-back Ibioh (Ujong Ba'u), which can easily be reached by ferry from mainland Banda Aceh or Pulau Weh's largest town Sabang. The terrible March 2005 Tsunami that killed more than 100.000 Indonesians, most at Sumatra, still left its trails. Houses are rebuilt, tourist shops are opening again and according to researchers Pulau Weh's underwater environment was less damaged than previously expected. Some of the shallower reefs are completely gone, but none of them were chartered dive sites. Most damaged are the mangroves and reef in between Pulau Rubiah and Pulo Weh, but still extremely pretty and reef restoration projects are already in progress.

The Indonesian government has declared over 60 percent of Pulau Weh's landmass as a protected area. Its landscape is covered in dense rainforest; there are many natural hot springs, some spectacular waterfalls and many pretty pristine beaches. It is the only place in the world where you can find a Bufo valhallae, a nice looking yellow/orange endangered toad species. History fanatics will love the Zero Kilometer Monument which was placed to mark the geographical start of Indonesia. There are many WWII bunkers scattered around the island (Island of a Thousand Fortresses) all connected by tunnels, especially pretty at Anoi Itam. Sabang is a great place to go shopping and experience traditional island culture in its handicrafts and food.

Klah, Rubiah, Seulako and Rondo are the four small islets that surround Weh Islands, offering some excellent diving. Some of the best diving can be done at the 350 meter wide channel between Weh Island and its reef-encircled sister island Pulau Rubiah. This fast flowing mass of water attracts many pelagic and offers spectacular drift dives. The two protected parks Ibioh Recreation Park and Rubiah Sea Garden Marine Park offer some of the best unspoiled and un-crowded dive sites. Other well known areas are Gabang and Sumur Tiga. Research has proven that the underwater marine habitat around Weh is one of the richest and most diverse in the world. The megamouth shark is one of the rarest creatures that is seldomly seen. Whale sharks can be spotted in January, but also manta rays, turtles and bottlenose dolphins. Pulau Weh is an area with swimmthroughs, lava flows, arches, shipwrecks, healthy colorful coral reefs, walls with challenging conditions; in one word enough for full adrenaline dives.

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Java Sea Charters organises live aboard trips in the Sunda Straits. Our top destinations are Krakatau (currently erupting!), Perth & Houston wrecks, and Ujung Kulon National Park.

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[Add Message]Messages from readers:

Name: indonesia_liveaboards

The best diving in Sumatra is Pulau Weh, a small island off the north west coast in Aceh province. Aceh province has been politically unstable for years and the December 2004 Asian tsunami also did devastating damage to the area. However the majority of dive sites escaped lightly with most of the damage being done from 0-10m deep with deeper areas of dive sites spared.

Pulau Weh is located off the north western tip of Sumatra and is actually Indonesia's furthest beach to the northwest. It's in the Indian Ocean and the diving season is the same as west coast Thailand and Malaysia with the high season running from November to April. There is accommodation and dive centers on Iboih where the jungle meets the beach or on Gapang Beach which has a nice house reef.

The marine life around Pulau Weh is superb on fringing reefs, walls and wrecks. There are over 20 dive sites around Pulau Weh, Pulau Rubiah and other surrounding islands. Many of the dive sites are suitable for all levels of diver but there are also some strong drift dives and some deep decompression dives that are only suitable for experienced divers.

Batee Tokong has very impressive marine life on it's steep slopes covered with encrusting sponge, zigzag clams and gorgonian sea fans. Pantee Aneuk Seuke (The Canyon) is a good dive spot to see manta rays. Napoleon wrasse can also be seen. Pantee Peunateung is a deep drop off to 70m where big schools of pelagic can be seen including barracuda and trevally. Currents can be strong here. Batee Gla is a also a good drift dive with strong currents. Rock formations create swimthroughs and archways framed by gorgonian sea fans and large schools of fish including snapper, fusilier, banner fish and surgeonfish. Pulau Seulako offers some good drift diving with the chance to see big fish. Arus Balee is a drift dive where the nickname given to the current hints at the strength of the flow. It is called the Acehnese Arus Balee, or Bastard Current! A rocky pinnacle in the passage between Pulau Seulako and Pulau Rubiah attracts bigger fish like barracuda, trevally and sharks. Other popular dive sites are Batee Meudoro Pinnacle, Shark Plateau and the Sophie Rickmers Wreck.




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