Nusa Penida Dive Sites
Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida is the best Coral reef , marine life , colourful fish and warm water. Did you know that Nusa Lembongan & Nusa penida is a great place to snorkel? The snorkelling and diving of the Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida are well known for being home to some of the most diverse reefs on the planet.
Long snorkel bimbles, shallow dives in 20ft (6m) for novices and magnificent current ride for the experienced can all be found here. Typically, the current carries to the south and dive starts at the tip, near a mangrove stand that runs along the coast. The currents are normally pretty calm until 35 to 40 ft (10-12m) depths are reached. Divers can catch the flow and coast over big barrel sponges, sea fans and lots of fish.
Around 70 to 80 ft (21-24m), small schools of sweetlips can be seen flashing their bright yellow bodies in a symmetrical formation. Keep an eye out into the blue. Dogtooth tuna will come into view and an occasional whitetip shark also makes an appearance. The most fish action can be seen along the tip and the sloping wall at somewhat deeper depths. Look at the odd shape of the sponges and corals as they have been formed in the currents.
There are some huge angelfish on this reef. Colorful juvenile regal angelfish, stealthy yellowmask angels, striking blue-ringed angels and some very big emperor angelfish are all found in the coral bommies. This place is a fish photographer’s paradise.
2. Crystal Bay
This dive can be enjoyed by all levels of diver as much of the dive area within the bay is protected and relatively shallow. The bay has two entrances and a large rock sits in the center. If diving along here, current can be strong and divers can be swept out along the outside wall, which can be very tricky diving. This is why an experienced guide is need, so a disoriented diver doesn’t take the wrong turn and wind up being swept away.
But inner Cristal Bay is pretty tame and has some splendid coral formations and marine life. There are very large coral heads, called bommies in this part of the world, which are havens for marine life. Large schools of glass sweepers form living walls under many overhangs. Look at the brilliant orange soft corals that form here and the bottom-oriented basslets that swim upside down. I have seem extremely large angelfish and a monster eel exploring these. There is also one bommie with a bloody big hole in it that forms a small cave that divers can carefully swim through.
There is an incredible amount of soft leather coral growth in this bay. Water temperatures tend to be a little cool, and this coral must thrive on those conditions. In one area the large coral ears are packed together over a broad expanse, carpeting the sea floor. When near the dropoff, look for large creatures like eagle rays, dogtooth tuna, sharks and an occasional bumphead wrasse. Schooling surgeonfish are abundant in some spots. During Mola season this bay is crowded with boats as the sunfish like to come here to the deep cleaning stations along the wall.
3. Gamat Bay
Gamat Bay in the right conditions is a beautiful dive and the bay it self makes a great snorkeling site too. Huge bommies with incredible amounts of aquarium fish such as chromis, damsels and golden and violet anthias can all be found in the shallower reaches of the inner bay and along the steep slope at the bay’s mouth.
The maximum depth in the bay is no more than 40 ft (12m) with the bommies coming up as shallow as 6 ft (2m) from the surface. Squid like to swim near the surface and will approach quite closely. Coming out of the bay the reef turns into a fairly steep slope, almost a wall, where cuttlefish and moray eels can be seen under the coral heads. Keep looking out into the blue from time to time as with a bit of luck eagle rays and reef sharks are seen.
The reef drops down deep so it’s imfortant to monitor your depth gauge. Currents here can be very strong. Make sure that your operator is familiar with the local conditions. Be alert. This site is a small bay and currents can sweep in.
The wall has some very pretty blood red finger corals. Divers sometimes drift from Gamat towards Toyapakeh if the current is running that way. Look for the cave with the big eye squirrelfish along the wall if you do that. If going toward Cristal Bay, the dive should end before divers get too close the channel mouth as the current tends to pick up again and create whirlpools.
Toyapakeh is located just off the town pier at a recreation area used by a couple of daytrip companies. There is usually always a current running through here as it is at the end of the Ceningan Channel and the flow between the islands is fairly constant. But this makes t a great spot for fish life. Ideally, the current will be running along the slope and out toward the Bali Straits instead of into the channel. This allows for the divers o dip down early to 80 ft (27m) or so and see the fish that congregate around the large coral heads and along the hard coral shelves that comprise the bottom.
The diver can then take off for a nice drift over fields of hard corals that have coral-covered tridacna clams imbedded in them. Lots of small tropicals, glassy sweepers and basslets and anthias thrive in this current-swept environment. The dive should end before getting too close to the end in the channel as the current tends to pick up again and boil in tiny whirlpools in the channel between the islands. Finish up looking for marine life in the shallows where it is calm.
At the dive site known simply as S.D., there are few reefs in the world to match it. Big sponges grow everywhere, adorned with crinoids or feather stars, fighting for space at the lip of the sponges. Platter corals grow high and wide. Anemones live in groups, feeding on the nutriens brought in by the inter-island currents.
Diving here is normally a drift of some sort. When the current is running, it can be a fast ride but it can mellow down to non-existent at slack tide. To duck the current, divers can hover behind the big corals in the sandy lee of the structure and watch the marine life. Look for smaller fish and nudibranchs in the protected areas of the bommies. Huge queen angelfish here and big puffers are the norm.
At S.D., which for Sekolah Dasar (public school) which is located along the shore, you might see a sea snake. Cloud after cloud of basslets and chromis form a layer over the corals that is a tribute to the beauty of the under water world. The true percula clownfish is found in the anemones along the reef. Sightings of mola-molas, whitetip reef shark and mantas do happen. The current can pick up very quickly so be aware of what is happening.
6. Pura Ped
Pura Ped is also located along the west Nusa Penida coast and makes a superb drift dive. Currents can be strong so enjoy the ride but don’t forget to bring your safety sausage. The reef slopes down to about 165 ft (50m) but you don’t have to go very deep to see some magnificent stuff.
The currents have produced some fascinating coral formations resembling modern sculptures. Hard corals twist and stretch into Medusalike shapes. The rich coral cover makes these reefs home to many anthias. Brilliant angelfish hide under the coral heads that dot the reefs. Occasionally,a manta ray or a school of barracuda will sweep on from the blue. Even orcas and hammerheads have been seen here! Reef whitetip sharks sleep under table corals. Green moray eels peek their heads from the crevices and groupers and sweetlips are common along the shelves. In the deeper waters, light diminishes quickly as the nutrient-rich sea here absorbs the sun. Down below the terrain is a little mire current-swept. Wire corals growing like giant corkscrews sprout from the reef. The reeftop is an especially colorful experience. The corals are in great condition with swarms of anthias. It is a very pleasant place to make a safety stop.
Where Pura Ped ends Sental starts up. The slope here is a bit steeper and currents more prevalent as your getting up along the north end of Penida. But the beautiful wall and varied corals are worth your effort. Divers enter end at the shallow coral gardens that run along the reeftop. Descend here and pick up the current to start your drift there isn’t a lot of development onshore and the water is generally clear. Brilliant soft corals thrive. But this is also a famed pelagic point, so watch the reef action but also glance out into the open sea and you never know what might swim by. Eagle rays, mantas, molas, dogtooth tuna, mackerels, and bobbing shoals of fusiliers are all out there. Big snapper also hang effortlessly in the constant current.
There are deep patches here with forests of sea whips. lots of anemones can be found tucked into the corals. Sponge formations abound. This is a really nice dive and when you’re done drifting, cruise back up to the shallows and admire the amazing coral gardens.
8. Manta Bay (Telaga Sakti)
The rugged limestone western to southwestern cast of Nusa Penida is spectacular to see as one motors by boat along this irregular coast. High cliffs tower overhead and the sea crashes into sheer walls. In some places, especially those not far around the corner from Cristal Bay, shallow bays occur. If one flies along this coastline in the morning by helicopter or small plane, it is normal to see manta rays winging their way individually or in groups in the clear shallows of the coast.
The rays are feeding machines, always on the lookout for concentrations of plankton. Manta rays look really like nothing else in the sea. They are special to see as the gracefully barrel roll their odd bodies, huge mouths agape scooping in clouds of tiny plankton that form in certain areas along the coast. One spot that is great if the rays are there is Telaga Sakti. It is shallow here and the water cold but gin clear. It has a bottom covered in leather corals and though plate and table corals.
By all accounts, they do not have a cleaning station here like they do at Manta Point, but focus on feeding. The beauty of the site is that it is quite shallow in many spots and snorkeling is actually more efficient that diving. Most dive shops will do a bit of both, providing a full manta experience to lucky divers. The best way to watch them it just to remain still. Swimming down on them spooks them. Just rest on the surface and they will come to you.
9. Manta point ( Batu Lumbung)
Given the proper sea conditions, Manta Point can be enjoyed by all levels of divers, including snorkelers who can watch giant devilfish coast gracefully below them. It can get very rough and dangerous here, so if your guide says it can’t be done, don’t argue! During certain times of the year, groups of manta rays gather at the reef area surrounding this large rock to visit the cleaning stations, mate, eat, and do all those things manta rays do, like feed floating into the current with their immense open mouth.
There is a “flyway” of sorts that they follow, sort of like deer on o forest trail. They will come in along this invisible path, normally into the current, and hover over a series of cleaning stations that are closer to the cliffs. Look for the small cleaner wrasse and butterflyfish that like to preen the rays. The mantas can be calm or skittish, depending on the day and the manta. Wait in the vicinity and don’t chase or try to read them. Breathe as lightly as possible. The curious ones will come by for a look. Watch their power, beauty and grace.
Manta Point is near towering Bat Rock, adjacent to a smaller outer rock along this wild cliffline. The upper trees are the daytime resting area of fruit bats, flying mammals resembling small foxes. At times, mantas literally line up in a long feeding parade around the outer edges of the smaller rocks, many of them breaking the surface and slapping the water with their wings. Their sizes vary and color cover a wide range from jet black to light gray. Even a white manta has been seen here. They also chase each other, which is mating behavior. A sighting like this cannot be guaranteed every day at Manta Point, but they are consistently seen along the Penida cliffline
10. Surface Safety
Currents along the east coast of Bali and around Nusa Penida can be fierce and fast and every year groups of divers are lost at sea. Thankfully, most are found unharmed but usually this is because at least one person in the group has taken precautions and is carrying equipment to make it easier for searchers to spot them : so be prepared.
Choose your dive operator carefully, especially when diving in a remote location. Choose well-equipped, experienced centers and listen carefully to dive briefings. If they do not make reference to contingency plans for strong currents, ask! If you think conditions look difficult or your hosts have not taken adequate precautions, don’t dive! Seriously, don’t dive.
Carry signaling and survival equipment as a standard part of your dive kit. The following are a few simple safety suggestions.
-Always carry a bright surface marker buoy (SMB) or safety sausage on every dive. Some models have white reflective tape sewn on the top, which can flash in the sunlight and draw a watcher’s attention.
-Take torch with you on every dive too. Not only is it useful for peering at things hiding in holes or under ledges; a torch can save your live! To make you especially visible in the dark, you can shine it up through your SMB to create a kind of “light saber!“ consider also attaching a small waterproof electronic strobe light to your BCD shoulder.
-a piece of unbreakable mirrored card, (the stuff they use in aircraft bathrooms) make an excellent daytime signaling device. Point the card in the direction of a vessel in the distance and move it from side to side to catch the sun. A CD will do the job just fine too.
-Traditionally whistles have been standard dive gear, but these are not very effective except over shot distances and even ten only if the wind is in your favor. A Power horn attached t your BCD inflator hose is much more effective.
-Two major threats to your survival on a long surface drift are exposure and dehydration. A hood is not only useful for keeping you warm. It will also protect your head and neck from the sun of the surface. Adding reflective flashes to the hood is a good idea to increase your visibility.
-You could also carry a small pot of solid sunscreen in a Ziploc bag and even consider bringing something to drink with you. This not as wild a notion as it may initially seem. A small soft drink pouch will fit easily in a BCD pocket and “camelback” packs can be adapted for underwater use too!
Enjoy your dives but to be safe, please respect Mother Ocean.