Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan
One of the best spots in the world to see the rare Mola Mola and the graceful Manta Rays!
Big fishes and action with lots of sharks. Very good Visibility and stunning Coral.
Nusa Lembongan/Nusa Penida is known as a world-class diving destination.
There are more than 20 identified dive sites around the island, the most notable including Crystal Bay, Manta Point, Toyapakeh, S.D. dive site… From Sanur, reaching the islands is a 45 min Speedboat ride.
The water around Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan is usually quite cold due to cold water coming from very deep. Sometimes it can go as low as 22°C! So it is better to dive there with a 5 mm full wetsuit!
The water is also very clear among the best visibility around Bali. This clear water is due to the strong current sweeping the area.
The rich waters around the islands support no less than 247 species of coral and 562 species of fish. Nusa Penida is also great for hard and soft coral with many gorgonian sea fans along the steep walls. Special attractions include fabulous Mola Mola (Oceanic Sunfish) in season and large Manta Rays year round.
Mola Mola is migratory fish and are most common from July to October although sightings are reported all year round. The Mola Mola usually live very deep but during these months they come up to shallow waters to be cleaned of their parasites. The Sunfish are rarer than they are pretty – looking like a two-meter-long and one-ton-heavy lump of meat with fins, they are quite a sight!
Although there are some dive sites available for beginners, most of them require a decent level of experience as currents can get very strong in some area. Most of the dives are drift dives.
Nico Dives Cool will provide you with an experienced & professional guide who knows the sites very well. So do not question his judgment. Be prepared that we may decide not to dive on certain sites if conditions are dangerous.
The Manta Point
The dive site is southeast of Nusa Penida and it takes about over an hour on a speedboat from Sanur.
This area of the coastline is dramatic limestone cliffs that descend straight into the ocean. The speedboat sometimes struggles against current to reach the site, but once in the bay, the current is smooth however, sometimes the swell may be strong.
This is a manta cleaning station, a big rock at 5 meter depth. The mantas are circling around waiting to be cleaned. We often see 4 or 5 of them at a time. This is just a magic moment when these gigantic and elegant creatures come out of the blue. Due to the shallow depth, it is as well a very good site to see the Mantas when Snorkeling.
There is not much in the way of coral here, with mainly limestone rocks and sandy bottoms. Blue spotted stingrays and marble rays can be found in the sand. Occasional sightings of bamboo, wobbegong and nurse sharks. Turtles can also be spotted.
If you would like to experience Mantas up close and personal then this is the place. The Mantas are attracted by the large quantities of plankton that collect in the corners of the bay and come here for their daily feed. They are normally smaller than in Manta Point, but If you’re lucky you may encounter one of the beautiful black Mantas or an inquisitive bamboo shark.
As this site is shallow and as usually there is no surge, it is very convenient for snorkeling.
However, before going in water, we will check if they are there, because the dive site it-self has not a lot more to offer. The coral life is not so prolific. Thus, if needed, Nico Dives Cool will propose to bring you to Manta point or to another dive site.
Crystal Bay – THE Mola Mola bay!
As the name indicates, the visibility at Crystal Bay is spectacular, often better than 30 meters. Crystal Bay is the top site for encountering sunfish, which can be seen from July to the beginning of November. The coral is superb around 15 and 20 meters and, apart from sunfish, white tip reef sharks and eagle rays are among the top attractions.
Crystal bay also hosts a healthy reef, an interesting cave, golden sand, huge coral bommies and incredibly colorful shallows with hundreds of fish of all shapes and sizes.
The oceanic sunfish comes close to the reef in relatively shallow water in order to get cleaned by bannerfish. Several mola-molas can sometimes be seen together. They stay in the same spot for a long time if you don’t bother them. So please give them room.
The current can be quite strong unpredictable and downward along the wall that borders the deep channel beyond the bay. You definitely do not want to venture too far away from the reef. You need to accept the recommendations of your Dive Guide who knows the site perfectly. Decent level of diving experience is recommended here.
Note however that in the bay it-self, the current is smooth.
This dive site is Located on the east side of Nusa Ceningan.
The dive starts with a slope that becomes a steep wall. It is a very nice wall drift dive very different from others in the island.
The wall is covered by orange soft corals and sponges and the sea life is abundant. There are plenty of shrimp, crabs & nudibranchs hiding in the cracks and Schools of red tooth triggerfish, sweetlips, banner fish and occasionally big pelagic fish hanging in the current.
The current may be strong at times and the water rather cold.
Mangrove dive site, also named Jack point or Sakenan, is the large mangrove area between Lembongan and Ceningan.
Mangrove offers a healthy sloping coral reef with huge sponges, soft and fan corals.
This spot is well known for the large variety and quantity of tropical reef fishes – a real “aquarium”. Emperor fish, trigger fish, sweet-lips, shoals of colorful anthias … are swimming around.
We also find small creatures such as shrimps, pygmy seahorses, pipefish and clams.
Sharks, turtles and many other kinds of large sea creatures can be seen as well as shoals of mackerels, snappers, tuna and barracudas which hover in the current.
Toyapakeh, which means salt water in Indonesian, is an amazing reef with interesting & healthy coral, nudibranch as well as schools of tropical fishes, turtles, reef sharks and the world famous Mola Mola is you are lucky enough and during the good season (August to October).
There is a constant & strong current that runs along the wall, towards the Toyapakeh Straight. So this site, even if hosting a prolific marine life is better appropriate for video than photography. ..
The water temperature may turn down to roughly 20-24 C°
S.D. Dive Site
Nusa Penida SD (Sekolah Dasar) is situated in the north of Nusa Penida. The dive site begins with a very shallow reef plateau. Sloping down to approx. 10 meters where it drops at a 45° angle down to extreme depths. Steep slopes alternate with steep walls.
An amazing growth of hard and soft corals can be found including numerous whip corals and massive fields of branching corals. Large clouds of banner fish hover in the current above the corals. There is a multitude of smaller creatures hiding amongst the corals such as the orangutan crab and a huge collection of nudibranchs.
As usual in Nusa Penida, do not forget the blue, where you could see various pelagic fishes; giant trevallies, white tip sharks, eagle rays, tuna, manta rays, mola mola and barracuda pass by. Even a whale shark has been reported.
There is often a drift of up to 4 knots making this an exciting dive.
The PURA PED dive site is not far from S.D. dive site and it is pretty much the same kind of dive.
The slope is bit steeper. It is a nice easy drift along a coral plateau with beautiful coral and with a good chance to see pelagic fishes as well as Manta rays and the world famous Mola Mola during the season (August to October).