This impish little 656m volcano has always been a threat to Bandaneira, Banda Besar and anyone attempting to farm its fertile slopes. Its last eruption in 1988 killed three people, destroyed more than 300 houses and filled the sky with ash for days. Historically, Gunung Api’s eruptions have often proven to be spookily accurate omens of approaching European invaders or traders.
The waters around Gunung Api are home to lurid purple-and-orange sea squirts, remarkably fast-growing table corals, leatherback turtles and concentrations of (mostly harmless) sea snakes. The submerged north-coast lava flows (‘New Lava’) are especially good for snorkelling and shallow dives.