Only exposed at times of low water, the beautiful Louisa Reef is 128km south-southwest of Layang Layang and the even more beautiful Royal Charlotte Reef is 78km to its north-northeast. Both rise as deeply undercut walls and steep slopes from very deep water with wonderful stony and soft corals. Safe anchorage is difficult to find, depending on the wind and currents there are sandy areas at the northwest and southwest ends but one must be on constant watch for changes in the wind, the nearest real shelter is the lagoon at Terumbu Layang Layang.

Louisa Reef is oval in shape, approximately 1.5km east to west and 0.5km north to south. The navigation beacon at its southwest point is now defunct and the highest visible rock is at the southeast end. The reef itself abounds with pristine coral growth, with a prolific amount of staghorn coral on the north and west walls. The sandy patches south and west of the collapsed beacon give excellent night diving.

Almost circular in shape with a diameter of approximately one kilometre, Royal Charlotte Reef has more boulders that dry out, particularly to the southeast and there is a light tower at the eastern end.

The fully enclosed lagoon is 23m deep with excellent shallow diving around pretty coral heads and pillars. Although the lagoon has no entrance, it is awash at all but low water, so there is healthy growth.

Dolphins are a common sight but without doubt the most exciting feature in the clear waters of both reefs is regular encounters with huge shoals of Hammerhead Sharks, from great depths to less than 10m. These huge shoals are usually all females with the matriarch at their centres while the larger, darker males are in small shoals.


Payar Marine Park | Pulau Jarak | Pulau Perhentian | Pulau Redang | Pulau Tenggol | Pulau Tioman | Johore Marine Park |
Louisa & Royal Charlotte Reefs |
Pulau Layang Layang | Dallas & Ardasier Reefs | Erica & Mariveles Reefs |
Pulau Labuan | Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | District of Semporna | Pulau Bohaydulong |
Pulau Pandanan | Pulau Mabul | Pulau Sipadan

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