In Indonesia, divers can observe a greater concentration of different tropical marine species than anywhere else in the world. That’s not all; new species are also being discovered frequently. Such diversity is due to the Indonesian archipelago being strategically sited in the exact centre of the oceanic area encompassing the Indian and Pacific oceans. Called Indo-Pacific rim, this area is home to the same species of fish as those found in Hawaii and the Red Sea . While it would be rare to find species from the Red Sea in Hawaiian waters and vice versa, in Indonesia all types of species are flourishing together. This abundance of fish is one factor attracting divers from all over the world.
With pleasant temperatures averaging 27C all year round and good visibility in most of its waters, Bali has some impressive dive sites. The best tome of year for diving is in the dry season from April to October; the wet season from November to March can be quite torrential.
A lot of the diving and snorkeling areas are very close to the shore with lots of colorful hard and soft corals and an amazing range of tropical fish. For the moment the reefs are mostly unspoiled and a wide variety of marine life such as dolphin, rays, turtles, sperm, and blue whales, sea snakes, and moray eels can be found here.
The main diving and snorkeling areas in the east coast of Bali are at Padang Bai and Candidasa, and further north of Candidasa, at Tulamben and Amed. From Singaraja in the north, the coastal road leads west to Lovina and its beautiful beach. Further on is Pemuteran and in the western tip of Bali is Labuan Lalang, the kick-off point to Menjangan Island , an uninhabited island with excellent dive sites. Nearly 7000 hectares of coral reef and coastal waters are protected as part of the Bali Barat National Park including Menjangan Island .
In southern Bali , there’s a reef in Sanur and the islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Gili Air, Gili Trawangan, and Gili Meno (the latter three are off Lombok ) are all popular diving destinations.
Bali has abundant dive operators – many based in the south – who will transport you to the main dive areas or you can also stay at the locations to save on traveling time. You can get certification if required. The certifications available are PADI, SSI, CMAS, and the local POSSI certification. Dive operators will generally have multilingual instructors.
Barakuda Diving Service, Tauch Terminal, Kesuma Sari Beach Club, Bali Pesona Bahari, Laguna Wisata Bahari, and Pro Dive are a few of many dive operators around.
Most diving company offer service conducts courses and excursions in open water dive, wall dive, drift dive, shipwreck dive, and safari dive. All programs include hotel pick-up.
Sanur & Nusa Dua
Often used as a location to tech diving because of its close proximity to the tourist areas, Sanur has some interesting coral formations, sponges, and abundant colorful fish on the reef.
Batu Tiga – meaning three rocks, this spot is accessed by boat from Candidasa or Padang Bai. With and average depth of 20m, the site is excellent for diving or snorkeling. The reef is steep and sloping with many corals. Some of the fish seen here include red snapper, clown tiger fish, blue spotted stingrays, trevally, morays, and white-tip reef sharks.
Pulau Tepekong – on the east and north sides of the island this is a wall dive with many caves. There are large bommies and many fish such as different tiger fish, angelfish, snappers, butterfly fish, parrot fish, Moorish idols, and emperor.
Amed has excellent snorkeling just off the black sand beach and further out in the bay is a coral wall with abundant sponges and hard and soft corals. Fish varieties include black snapper, tiger fish, surgeon fish, unicorn fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, cardinal fish, white-tip red sharks, and many larger varieties such as dog tooth tuna and blue finned trevally.
One of Bali ‘s most popular diving site is the wreck of the USS Liberty warship. It was torpedoed by the Japanese during World War II in Lombok Strait . She was beached on Tulamben when rescue attempts failed. After eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963, she broke in half and was left in her present position close to the shore of Tulamben . The hull is encrusted with coral and the fish have become quite tame because of the large number of divers here.
A popular beach resort area, Lovina refers to a collection of small villages on the coast. In the past, coral in the bay was used to make lime.
Fortunately the coral is now protected and some diving and snorkeling is possible; the water is very clear. Lovina also is a good place to stay if you want to go to Menjangan.
This area has plenty of coral such as elkhorn and staghorn, a host of tropical reef fish and a profusion of Moorish idol. There is also a turtle sanctuary located at Pemuteran which regularly releases turtle into the sea. Good snorkeling available right off the beach. Matahari Beach Resort has its own PADI dive school and offers direct access to Menjangan Island and the reefs just off the mainland.
Menjangan (deer) Island
There are a few dive sites to choose from at Menjangan with good conditions and excellent visibility. The snorkeling is excellent too.
Menjangan also has a wreck, known as the “angker” because of its heavily encrusted anchor at the top of the reef. Fixed moorings have been built to prevent damage, and the island is reached by a 30 minutes boat ride from Labuan Lalang.
About one and a half hours from Bali by motor boat, Nusa Penida offers some truly spectacular and unspoiled diving and snorkeling. As there is not much development here the reefs are very pristine. An abundance of hard and soft corals provide a home for huge numbers of tropical fishes such as angel fish and clown fish. Moray eels live in the crevices and white-tip reef sharks search for food at night and sleep by day under table corals.
The smaller island of Nusa Lembongan is a popular destination for day trippers. At the northern end of the island, Mangrove Point, Crystal Bay, and the Blue Corner Trip are all good diving sites. Some of the areas are for experienced divers only and look for Manta Point to the east where schools of mantas come to the cleaning stations and to mate.
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