East Coast Island
Candi Dasa is one hour ride by car from South Bali (Kuta/Sanur), then about 20 minutes by boat. Due to strong current and swell, it’s suitable for advance level divers only. However, this is best chance to see shark / big ocean fish and also great for Wide Angle photography.
The corals in these dive sites are very healthy because in some areas constantly exposed to strong currents and big swells. In more sheltered areas, there are large coral formations. The waters at all these dive sites can quickly change from tropical warm to unusually cold. Visibility is affected a lot by the currents, but is often excellent up to 30 meters, particularly when the water is cold.
Whitetip reef sharks are common, and turtles are sometimes seen. There are various kinds of Sweetlips, some of them very large, and Lionfish, Scorpionfish, Boxfish and Triggerfish are all commonly seen.
Dive Spots around CandiDasa
Gili Mimpang dive site is also called Batu Tiga which means three rocks, or also called ‘Shark Point’. It is accessible in 10 minutes by boat from Padang Bay. Here is sometimes classified as a Drift dive. The current here is moderate to strong, and visibility is average 30m+. Average depth is 16m and maximum is 30m. This location is a Reef.
It is a very good place to see sharks in Bali mainly whitetip reef sharks which is sometimes resting on the sand at the bottom of the reef or sometimes swimming around, rare wobbegong shark, the very rare coral cat shark, as well as the world famous Mola Mola (oceanic sunfish) during the right season (August to October). Large pelagic fishes like trevallies or tuna are often see there too. This dive site is suitable for open water divers but is best for advanced divers as the sharks can often be found below 25 m deep. Always be careful due to the current, it can be quite strong in the area.
Gili Biaha is also the farthest, another 10 or 15 minutes by boat. It has two very good dive sites: Shark Cave and Biaha Slope. Its topography is small island, reef slope, deep walls and shark cave. Accessible 25 minutes by boat, north of Padang Bay on the east coast. The current here is moderate to strong, and visibility is average 25m+. The water can be cold, and there can be very big surge and strong currents.
These two dives can be combined in one dive if the current allows it. When you go down it is possible to enter the cave at only 12 meters, where several whitetip reef shark are usually resting, also lobsters and lion fishes in the cave. But entering the cave shall not be done if conditions are not perfect. Then you can go around the island depending on the current.
Gili Tepekong is small island, reef slopes and vertical walls, rock pillars and swim through, 15 minute by boat, north of Padang Bay on the east coast. The current here is moderate to strong, and visibility is average 25m+. This location is a reef. Highlight is magnificent rock pinnacles covered with hard and soft coral and breathtaking walls with sea fans and a kaleidoscope of colorful tropical fish.
The Canyon is shaped like an amphitheatre and is a perfect place to check out the superb fish life of Bali. You will have good chances of spotting whitetip reef sharks and large pelagic fishes, moray eels are commonly seen and baby Whitetips can sometimes be seen sheltering under boulders or the overhangs of table corals. There are large coral formations to swim amongst, boulders, canyons, a wide wall (with heavy surge) and even a 15m swim through, emerging if conditions are right into clear blue water giving the site its name ‘Blue Hole’. If you get lucky during the right season (August to October) you can even see the world famous Mola Mola. But be careful with the current, it can be strong and downward.