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Bali, the heart of Indonesia

 

Diving sites

bali dive sides

 

SCUBA DIVE SITES IN BALI

 

 

Bali has plenty of diving sites offering a fun experience for all levels of divers. From Bali's most protected shallow bays with scorpionfish, nudibranchs and octopus to those fun drift diving in wild currents, manta rays and Mola Mola, Bali Scuba dive sites has it all.

 

Here in Tulamben, the sea is generally calm, which provides easier and more relaxing dives and snorkeling sessions. This place is world-renowned amongst divers, and is particularly famous for the USAT Liberty wreck. 

 

We recommend the dive sites of Tulamben as your first diving experience in Bali : the spot is ideal to discover the marine life. 

From Atlantis International’s main office in Sanur (Denpasar), you will travel by mini bus to the north eastern corner of Bali (about 2h20),  to the tiny fishing village of Tulamben; one of the most renowned and most frequented locations in Bali for scuba diving.   You will have the opportunity to observe a multitude of species of fish and corals known to inhabit the seas of Indonesia.

 

The rich biodiversity of the sea floor attracts underwater photographers, naturalists, and divers passionated about marine biology.  Tulamben is recommended for both macro lovers and ambiance photographers, as the colorful marine life stands out against the volcanic black sand sea bed.

 

 

The island of Nusa Penida is known world-wide for Manta rays and the Mola Mola, more commonly known as the Sun fish.  Nusa Penida is the least populated of the islands situated just east of Bali.  The islands of Lembongan and Ceningan are much more developed, with their beautiful white sand beaches and their numerous seaweed farms, producing enough seaweed for food production and exporting it for cosmetics.   

 

Nusa Penida is the largest and by far the least developed of the three islands.  The Atlantis International speedboats will introduce you to the breathtaking views of the island as you pass impressive rocky cliff-faces, enormous waves crashing upon white sand deserted beaches, tropical forest and arid plant-life mixing together with sheer walls that descend into the depths of the sea.  And then you arrive at Manta Point, where beneath the surface lies a “cleaning station” frequented by Reef Mantas (Alfredi Mantas). 

On the other side of the island, you will find the not-to-be-missed dive site of Crystal Bay. Here, between June and October, you can marvel at the incredible Mola Mola (Sun fish), which can grow up to 3 metres.  Nusa Penida will never fail to blow you away; there are a myriad of dive sites and the corals are in excellent health.  

Cold currents rising up from the deep allow for good visibility and preserve the coral reef.  At times, these thermoclines are as cold as 16 ⁰ C, and encourage pelagic life to swim up from the deep where divers can catch a glimpse of some of these amazing fishes.  However, this island, due to its location between Bali and Lombok, is also exposed to very strong currents from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, and which can generate very strong, sometimes violent, multidirectional currents (including down-currents).  Due to the difficult conditions, we often reserve these dive sites for our more experienced divers or for those we already have dived with and evaluated.  Nevertheless, when conditions get too rough, there are always other protected dive sites waiting to be explored.

 

Owing to its placement on the Wallace Line, a biogeographical zone where the biodiversity of Australia and Asia meet and mix together, the biological abundance classifies the location as a “hotspot” of biodiversity, with 250 species of corals and close to 600 species of reef fishes that were recently indexed around the perimeter of Nusa Penida. 

Since 2010, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan were declared as “Marine Protected Areas,” prohibiting all industrial and destructive fishing practices, as well as limiting watersports activities in the area. 

 

Atlantis’ speedboats, Atlantis I and Atlantis II, leave Bali everyday around 8:00am to complete 2 or 3 dives.  Equipped with two Yamaha 250 HP 4-stroke injection outboard motors, our boats can accommodate 14 and 12 divers, respectively.  You will arrive at the dive sites in as little as 35 - 45 minutes.  All of the dive sites are chosen according to the certification and experience level of the divers present, the weather conditions, and the current.  The day includes 2 or 3 dives, lunch served on the boat, along with hot tea or coffee, and snacks.

 

 

PADANG BAI

 

Situated on the east coast of Bali, about one hour from Sanur (Denpasar), Atlantis International will take you to the lively seaside village of Padang Bay.  There you will find tourists, overloaded with heavy backpacks and suitcases, or donning neoprene wetsuits,who wait patiently for the ferry to Lombok and Gilis, or for the small sampan and jukung traditional boats to head out to the big blue.

 

Facing the ocean, our partner restaurant welcomes you with all its amenities (toilet, shower, table space for cameras), and is conveniently located just a few steps away from the white sand beach where the sampan are jukung traditional boats are moored up in the shallows.  In just a few minutes boat ride, the turquoise water reveals the charm of the dive site called Blue Lagoon.  

 

 

Leaving from the main office, located in Sanur (Denpasar), you will make the 2 hours journey to Amed in an air-conditioned bus.  Amed is a fisherman village located on the North East coast of Bali, not far from Tulamben.  Jemeluk Bay extends along a beautiful black sand beach, fringed with restaurants and small, charming hotels and villas.  The village is quite spread out along the coast and is made up of several bays, which are all sheltered from wind and waves, and are favorable for diving. 

 

Relaxing and authentic in atmosphere, the diving is accessed from a traditional boat called a jukung (similar to a large canoe with stabilizers on either side). From its paradise-like, crystal-clear waters, its traditional salt-makers, and its view of the Mount Agungvolcano, Amed is sure to give you a feeling for the traditional, time-honored culture.

The rich biodiversity of the sea floor attracts underwater photographers, naturalists, and divers that are passionate about marine biology.  Amed is recommended for the particular atmosphere of its wall dives, as well as the coral plateau found at Jemeluk, which is known for its gorgonian-covered coral bommies and advantageous sunlight that is a dream for photographers.Macro-lovers will be delighted to see the famous pink pigmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti Whitley).

 

Bali is at the heart of the Coral Triangle which contains more than 3000 species of fishes and 700 species of corals that populate the oceans and seas of Indonesia.  These seas are also rich in plankton due to an important current that connects the Indian and Pacific Ocean.  This incredible sea life is waiting for you !

 

 

PIGMY SEAHORSES

 

Pygmy seahorses belong to a group of fish that are no larger than 1- 2.7 cm in height.  Around Bali, we find two species of pygmy seahorse, the Bargibanti pygmy seahorse, and the Denise pygmy seahorse.  They each live respectivelyon two distinct species of gorgonian, and will stay exclusively on a single gorgonian for the duration of their life.  This is why their habitat is extremely delicate and important.  The fragile gorgonians are easily damaged if we touch them.  Even the action of waving our hand around next to it, will cause the polyps that filter nutrients from the water (the method is “eats”).  The size of the pygmy seahorses makes them very vulnerable, and there are numerous dangers that threaten the pygmy seahorse.  They are already listed as an Endangered Species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), even while they remain a largely unknown species.  The biggest threat to their existence is the destruction of their habitat and the impact of divers.  An ethical code of conduct now exists in many dive centers in Indonesia (Dr. Richard Smith) for diving to see the pygmy seahorse.

 

The goal of the “Code of Conduct” is to reduce the negative impact that divers make on these rare animals:

 

 

 

 

In eastern Bali, about one hour away from Sanur (Denpasar), Padang Bai is a small but lively seaside village. This is also the departure point of many ferries to Lombok, Amuk, or Gilis islands. 

 

After 20mn of navigation, you arrive on Gili Tepekong and Gili Mimpang, two islands often exposed to north currents, which make of thoses sites unique places to see pelagics. Lucky ones will be able to meet black and white-tip sharks, barracudas, rays, and even sometimes the Mola Mola.

 

Thanks to the currents, the spot offers you a good visibility and the coral reef is particulary in good health. However, diving conditions can change very fast: we will wait for favourable conditions to go there. You can trust Atlantis instructors and guides who perfectly know those spots. 

 

 

The word “menjangan” in Bahasa Indonesian means “deer,” and this tiny island is named for the herd of deer that inhabit it.  Located in the North West corner of Bali, close to the strait of Java, you will make the 4 hour and 30 minute journey to Menjangan in the air-conditioned Atlantis International bus.  Picturesque rice fields abound, until you reach the mountainous region of Bedugul, which is known for its lakes, orchids and strawberries.  A little higher into the mountains, you will stop to stretch your legs and admire the panoramic and majestic view at the summit of an ancient volcano’s caldera.  We then continue on our journey making a descent towards the ocean, heading in the direction of Pemuteran, the last village to pass before Menjangan. 

 

The “island of deer” is a protected and monitored wildlife sanctuary belonging to the West Bali National Park (Bali Barat); with mangrove and beaches on one side, and stunted rocky cliffs on the other, the island shelters a rich variety of marine and terrestrial life.  Mejangan is classified as one of the best places to dive in South East Asia, as the dive conditions are often optimal, characterized by light current, water temperature ranging between 27 and 30⁰ C, and visibility of up to 50 metres.  Several types of dives are possible along the sheer walls of reef populated with gigantic gorgonians and enormous sponges; from deep to drift, marine biology, ambiance photography, and even snorkelers will be treated to some of the best snorkeling around Bali.  Another short drive away you can find muck diving for macro-lovers and macro photographers alike at Gilimanuk Bay.  With a relaxing quiet atmosphere, and being accessible only by boat, Menjangan remains a delight for those who wish to get off the beaten path of Bali.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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