Diving in Bali with Manta Ray and Mola Mola
Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan Dive Sites
- Location: off of Bali’s eastern coast, crossing the Badung Strait.
- From Sanur: 45 minutes on speedboat
- Dive type: best suited for experienced divers.
- Visibility: 20-30 meters
- Average depth: 7-40
- Current: mild to strong – warm water to cold water in the season (July-Oct average water temperature drop to 19C)
- Entry: Speed Boat entry.
- Minimal dive license: Introductory dives and guided snorkeling are permitted ( some sites only).
Min Open Water Diver in some areas, Advanced Open Water is advisable and experienced in the current dives.
Note about Diving Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan :
- Due to specific requirements of underwater condition and environment. It’s strongly advisable to dive with a trusted dive center with credible local DMs and boat crew/captain.
- The temperature may vary. July-October, the water can range around 19-22 degrees Celcius, while during February, the water can reach 27-29 degree Celcius.
- Definitely, recommend for you to bring your underwater camera. You would want to record the magical experience meeting the majestic Mantas and Mola Mola
Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan Dive Sites
- Crystal Bay (Highlight)
This Bali dive site is named after crystal visibility of 30-40 m+ on a good day. It’s known to be one of the most popular sites for viewing the mola-mota (Oceanic sunfish) from August to October. The shallows are covered with dense soft and hard corals, including at the steep drop-off, which starts at the rock in the middle of the bay. Hence, aside to seeing the Mola-mola, there’s a lot to see at this dive site, which includes fish, nudibranchs, and corals.
- Batu Nunggul
This small bay is located east of the main boat port from Bali, Batu Nunggul. Closer to the reef, you can see colorful nudibranchs, tropical reef fish, and pelagics like Manta and Eagle Rays in deep water. Currents intensity and direction change abruptly, hence a good boat captain is required for the trip.
- Blue Corner
Available for experienced divers only, due to the heavy currents. The dramatic topography drop reaches 50 meters to overhanging terraces, home to white tips and black marbled rays. This Bali dive spot is also a great location for mola-mola (Oceanic sunfish) sightings during its season, also visitors such as eagle rays, wobbegong Sharks, tunas, and regular passing schools of snappers and jacks.
- SD Point
SD is an abbreviation for ‘Sekolah Dasar’ or elementary school. Naturally, this dive spot is located in front of a seaside elementary school. It’s arguably the most diverse collection of corals and sponges in Bali. It’s less steep compared to Blue Corner, with larger corner heads. Currents drift divers have been reported to see Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Marble Rays, Sea Snakes, Octopus’, White Tip Sharks, amongst others.
- Tugu Point
The seaside in from of the Tugu, or small shrine in Balinese, is the descending point to the colorful coral's reef, boulder rocks and swirling tropical reef fishes. Sunfish sightings at steep slopes have been reported, as the location is suitable as a cleaning station by Banner Fish.
- Toyapakeh (Highlight)
The ‘jewel’ of Nusa Penida, as it could be the riches site around. A lining of schools after schools consisting of red tooth triggerfish, giant trevallies, and batfishes. Drop off reaches an impressive 190 meters, also the coral, sponge and fish density are incredible. Pygmy seahorses are occasionally spotted by keen sighted divers. Larger pelagics are also seen such as the hammerhead sharks, mantas, and sunfish.
- Mangrove Point
This Bali dive spot is located in the northeast part of Nusa Lembongan. Mangroves, with small bommies and table corals, are home to the small creatures. Often marble rays and larger species are found in deeper waters within the area, with the occasional sights of sharks.
- Gamat Bay
This bay can be a memorable site and located at the Toyapake Strait. Slopes can reach 50+ m. Being rich with marine life, Gamat is the spot you would examine rather than just explore. The area has plenty bommies, overhangs, and small caves, enough to explore in a full dive.
- Manta Point
This is an all year around manta sighting location. It functions as a cleaning station and a regular sighting can reach 7-8 mantas in one dive. They can be detected on the surface. We rarely dive more than 15 m deep, since the corals and visibility are poor. Aside to the mantas, you can see turtles, nurse sharks, bamboo sharks, and blue-spotted rays as the sea bottom are fairly sandy. It’s subjected to swells and suitable for all level divers.
- Batu Abah
The furthest and toughest dive site. The site faces the ocean and is subjected to huge swells. It’s a location for mola-mola (Oceanic sunfish), mantas, turtles, sharks, lobsters, and nudibranchs.
Best dive itinerary for Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan :
- Hotel Pick up 7.00 – 7.30 AM
- 5 minutes to the port from Sanur and 50 minutes speed boat ride from Sanur to the island.
- Diving 3x – speed boat
- Hotel Drop – arriving around 4.00 – 4.30 PM (depends on your location and traffic)
Please read the information below
Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan
It is very beautiful places to go for diving in Bali and snorkeling in some areas, and Nusa penida Island is facing Indian Ocean, also major current circulation in the world also pass by this areas, with abundant of nutritions, good circulation of cold water makes the corals grows and the underwater life is just perfect to live here.
Also scuba diving in certain dive site area of Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan is categorized as advanced condition, due to strong currents, and unexpected current condition could happen/ changes so fast.
Temperature varies depend on the season, in different areas.
July – October usually it drops to 16-19 degrees C or 21 degrees C
Other months are mostly warm and sometime thermocline and it can be drops to 24 C.
All Divers must be used to diving in these condition before, or being comfortable in these situation, also have very good buoyancy, good skills and know how to handle him self an being responsible as a certified divers, be able to do negative back roll entries in some dive site area when for the season of Mola Mola, we want to have a good chance and try our luck.
You can’t force your self if you only have limited experience of diving in the currents or these kind of condition, you know your own limit and ability, you want to have fun and enjoy the scuba diving, don’t mess your self in the condition that you are not ready yet to handle. In the end you will not enjoy your holiday, you waste your money and waste your time.
Recommended requirements minimum of 50-100 of minimum open water dives, experience in currents, and have the ability to be ready in any situation, sometimes wind change/ choppy waters / big swells mostly in Manta Point.
Snorkelers are suitable to snorkel in Nusa Penida area.
For Manta Point, we can’t guarantee that you can jump in the water until we arrive at the sites.
Due to swell condition / wind and the topography on manta dive area is cliff area and also the cleaning station quiet close to the rocks and cliffs.
When the swell is big, it is impossible to do snorkeling.
Manta Point is suitable for try scuba program and in some dive site areas in Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan. Consult and inform us about your preference.
How to approach and take a picture with Mantas and Mola Mola ?
It is forbidden to touch these two gentle giants. Please respect the ocean and its life. Diving and Snorkeling with the ocean hearts and mind.
You can’t chase them, the more you chase the more they will swim away from you. Never to try it, they swim so fast and even you see them swim gracefully and slow.
Just prepare your underwater camera / go pro, and it is very comfortable for some divers to set the auto focus, our suggestion is you may set the pre manual focus on 1 -1,5 meters, you may capture when they swim or just passing by not doing the cleaning position ( stationary), bubbles scared them away, find the position for the good angle and see where it goes, be slow not moving or finning too fast.
When the Mola Mola in its cleaning position ( mouth facing up, all the banner fishes eats the parasite in its body) you can approach it very carefully and please to not using flash from you camera. And keep your distance also breath slowly to control your bubbles. DO NOT TOUCH THEM!
When the Mantas are swimming gracefully in their cleaning station most of them just stay in the shallow water, then it makes easier for the snorkelers as well to approach them and take a shots.
Do not chase the Mantas, do not touch and scared them away, just swim or hover they will sometimes comes to you and just be ready with you pre focus camera / videos.
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