Initially I was not planning to do any diving on Bali. A big part of the rest of my trip will be in function of diving so I thought to focus on surfing while on this magnificent island. And that is what I did the first week.. surfclasses in Canggu, renting a board in Seminyak, waiting for good waves while drinking cocktails in one of the many surfbars..
But by being close to the ocean all this time, the call to do some diving grew stronger every day. And when I heard it is now mola mola and manta season in Bali I started to inform to do at least some dives..
I started to whatsapp with a divecenter to do the manta dive(and the manta dive only!), but added in the following days more dives, so that ‘some dives’ eventually became a 3 day dive package with 7 dives. Something I didn’t regret at all. My dives were spread out over whole Bali, which gives me a good impression of the to do dives in Bali.
Diving was done with bali aqua, a divecenter in Sanur on mainland Bali. All the pick up and drop off was included, which was quite handy.
Day 1 Nusa penida – South of Bali
A short boatride of 40 minutes from Sanur is the island Nusa Penida. At this time of the year (september) both Manta rays and mola mola can be spotted. Basically the main reason I started looking into diving Bali in the end. We did three dives there, two at the mola mola point Crystal Bay and one at the manta dive site, called manta point. What you should know about this dive sites is that you are far from the only diver in the water. You can see diveboats everywhere and you will encounter a lot of divers under water. But in the end it is not in a way that it is annoying, so dont be scared away because of this.
First and third dive were on Crystal Bay, looking for mola mola’s. Unfortunately, we had no luck.. not one mola mola to be seen. Without the presence of mola mola this spot is not the best one. We did see some turtles luckily, those saved a bit the dive, but missing out on the mola mola’s was a bummer.
The second dive however was worldclass! We went to a manta cleaning station and saw three mantas circling above it. See vid:
After that(same dive), we went to another cleaning point, a bit further away of the main attraction (and all the other divers), where one of the mantas gave a private show. Was really nice! Seeing these animals ‘fly’ through the ocean is an experience to never forget.
Day 2 Padangbai – East side of Bali
A one hour car drive from Sanur, lays Padangbai. The dive sites, Pura Jepun and Blue Lagoon, are just of the coast line and you get there with a local boat. Many hard and soft corals make these dive sites exellent relaxing dives. I thought those were very beautiful dives.. So quiet and relaxing. I even forgot to take pictures 🙂
Many reef fish, a few mantis shrimps, a frog fish and for me the highlight thanks to our macro spotter guide, tiny furry lobsters.
The focus on this dive site is clearly more on macro life, although we also spotted a bamboo shark, 2 bluespotted stingrays, an octopus, lobsters and several turtles!
Day 3 USAT Liberty Wreck Tulambem – North-east Bali
This dive site is about a 2hours drive from Sanur. The USAT Liberty was a cargo ship hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War 2 and was on the way back to Bali for repair. It was brought to the beach at Tulambem to save the cargo. Years later, a volcano eruption took the wreck back into the sea, making it a very easy accessible wreck laying just out of shore. The layout of the ship is as follows :
The acces point is very simple, you get ready on a platform (with a restaurant) just in front and then walk into to sea. Depending on the tide, about twenty meters out you can find the wreck, starting at depts from 5m and going to 30m.
The wreck itself is not really recongnasible anymore as a ship wreck. The years in the water and the volcano eruption has taken its toll, and it has now parts scattered all over the place. Sometimes however you can see clearly parts that remind you that this is a shipwreck.
It does have become a part of nature and I really loved how this old wreck has become this magic artificial reef. There were so many fish around. I also spotted a Spanish dancer (vid online soon)
In general I am very happy I did do some dives in Bali. Bali has a lot of different stuff to offer for scubadivers so I would recommend to check it out!
I went with Bali Aqua, who organised transport all over the island spotless.