The dive destination Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is a larger island southwest of Bali.The journey from our resort takes 75 minutes by car to Padang Bai. Here we change to a boat which takes another 40 minutes to reach Nusa Penida. The island has two small neighboring islands called Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.All three islands are hardly inhabited but some resorts have opened in recent years.
The island is located in the middle of Lombok Strait. It is bordered by the Bali Sea to the North and the Indian Ocean to the South. The large waves of the Indian Ocean formed a landscape of huge steep walls and curious-looking small rocky islands on the south coast. The north coast, however, mainly consists of beaches.There are various dive sites scattered around the island. The dive sites at Nusa Penida are known for their partial strong currents. However, they also offer a great diversity of healthy coral, tropical fish and other marine life, which make them one of the best dive areas in Bali. Mantas feel at home here and sunfish can be found, especially in the season between August and October.
Manta Point is a dive site on the south coast of Nusa Penida. The journey is very long, and we need 75 minutes by car to Padang Bai. Then another 50 minutes by boat are necessary to reach this place. The journey already offers some small highlights. Such as the rice terraces at Tirta Gangga.
Very impressive are also the cliffs on the south coast of Nusa Penida. The spectacular waves offer an unforgettable natural spectacle and keep us in mind how strong the forces of nature can be. The dive is easy and currents are rare at this place. The massive wave can be challenging. Cold water and poor visibility often occur here.
A small hill located in shallow water is the goal of this dive. Here is the cleaner station of the manta rays and we have a good chance to observe these elegant animals. Small cleaner fish help the enormous rays to get rid of parasites. The mantas approach the station to be cleaned and then disappear into the blue right after. However, they often come back and repeat this procedure.
The mantas are not shy and will swim close to the divers. An unforgettable experience. Luckily, it rarely happens that we don’t find mantas there. With no manta rays, the site offers a rocky bottom where different types of corals grow. There typical tropical fish species and often also a cat shark can be found between the rocks. Countless stingrays populate the sandy areas of the bay. Additionally, macro diving is possible at this site, but usually of secondary importance because of the manta rays’ big show.
The Crystal Bay is a well-known bay of Nusa Penida with a small offshore island. We reach the bay in 30 minutes by speedboat from Padang Bai.The Crystal Bay is our second dive after the Manta Point. The site is located in the water channel between the two islands Nusa Penida and Lembongan . Strong currents occur here and are easily recognizable on the surface.The dive starts in the bay with a free descent to 15 meters depth. The visibility is good in the Crystal Bay, and we quickly recognize the dense coral growth. We dive along the reef of the small island towards the channel.
Cold water from the deep sea is pushed into the bay here causing thermoclines with water temperatures sometimes dropping down to 22 degrees Celsius. However, especially from August to October we will be rewarded with sun fish that enjoy the cleaning service of the banner fish. There may be strong currents in this area of the dive site. Caution is paramount and in this case we dive back into the bay.
The bay offers beautiful coral growth in shallow waters between five meters and ten meters deep. There is more to discover. Frogfishes, stonefish, sea snakes, various types of nudibranchs or octopuses were found during our dives. The dive site requires some diving experience. The bay offers good conditions for dive beginners and snorkelers. The place can be exhausting in adverse conditions and the fun of diving is quickly lost. In this case, we decide for another dive site.
The dive site SD is located on the south side of Nusa Penida. We can reach this place in 30 minutes by speedboat from Padang Bai.SD is the abbreviation for “Sekolah Dara” which means elementary school. A very unspectacular name for a dive site. Therefore, we use the much more appropriate name “Strong Drift.”Strong currents are possible at this place which we use for our fun.
SD offers a seven-kilometer shoreline which makes unforgettable drift dives possible. We start with a free descent to 15 meters depths. The prevailing conditions decide the direction, and we follow the current. At 15 meters depths, the reef falls steeper and 30 meters depth are reached quickly.
The visibility is good under normal conditions. The place is good for sunfish sightings, and we often look hopeful into the blue of the sea. In the shallower part the coral growth is even better and immediately numerous types of hard corals can be spotted. We dive over large coral fields inhabited by thousands of small fish that obtain protection against predators. The drift does its own to this scenario and makes us feel like flying. Not infrequently we meet turtles here and sometimes you can encounter a reef shark. In ideal conditions, drift dives up to four kilometers are possible. Despite the strong currents, the place offers beginners ideal conditions for the first experiences with drift dives.