Only accessible by boat, the name Batu Kelebit means ‘Submerged Rock’ in Indonesian for its tip of a pinnacle that would penetrate the surface during low tide but otherwise stay submerged. Adjacent to the Alam Anda site, the drop is even steeper and goes very deep, as deep as the drop off, and more, beyond scuba range. A profusion of Goat, Rabbit and Damsel fish works out in the surf surrounding the rock. The large reef-top starts to both sides of the rock at 5m, gently sloping towards the edge where the drop would begin between 12 and 15 meters. Here, a large field of brittle orange Fire coral is so densely packed, there is no room left for anything else to grow between them. Yet I have been here caught up in a mating session of five Broad-armed cuttlefish, a spectacular display of electric color and pattern changes. Vicious, static mating moments would be interspersed with the female gently holding the egg with her trunk-like arms and graciously deposit it inside the coral with such precision that not even a greedy, hungry and agitated damselfish could get to it. Then she would jump right back into the mating foray, colors flashing!
Three spurs, or ‘fingers’ spaced by sand channels to the west of the rock form the drop-off. What makes this area so special is that the three spurs are so intensely compacted with hard coral, soft coral, sea fans and sponges in uncountable varieties, it would be impossible to find enough room to even stick a finger into anything. There is an equally numerous profusion of reef fish to match: clouds of Glass fish, streams of Fusiliers, Snappers, Sweetlips (especially the yellow eyed Midnight snapper variety), Damsels, Angels, Butterflies, a school of juvenile Barracuda… on a clear day there would be such a flurry of movements it can make a diver dizzy. A lone, large purple sea fan stands isolated in the sand channel between the second and third ‘spur’ or finger; in the channel towards Alam Anda, often white tip reef shark would lay at rest, with one fully grown (2m plus) female bold enough to quietly circle divers for a close look down once, sometimes twice, before quietly gliding out into the blue.