Diving With Manta Rays in Nusa Penida
Enclosed by two oceans, Pacific and Hindian Ocean, and two countries, Asia and Australia, the beautiful archipelagic country of Indonesia offers one of the best scenic panoramas, both inland and underwater. One of the most popular islands in Indonesia is Bali Island. Known for its unique tradition, picturesque scenery, backed up with world-class accommodation, Bali is always on the top list of tourism destination. And as many might have known, diving in Bali is a must-do as it is also a home to many interesting dive sites. Among the islands surrounding Bali, Nusa Penida Island is the largest one, and also well known as the best destination for diving activity.
Nusa Penida is an island of stunning natural rugged beauty, with lots of hill and white sand beaches along the north and northwest coasts. It also has spectacular limestone caves, high coastal cliffs with karsts formations and offshore pinnacles in the south and east, and rugged hill tops in the high centre. Nusa Penida has also become an unofficial bird sanctuary for endangered Balinese and Indonesian bird species, including the critically endangered Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi). However, unlike the neighboring small island of Nusa Lembongan, there is very little tourist infrastructure here. Therefore, bring a good sum of rupiahs as there was only 1 ATM in Sampalan. As the climate is hotter and drier than in Bali, remember to take plenty of water on board before you sail to Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida can be reached by taking public boats from Sanur, Kusamba or Padang Bai in East Bali. You can catch the daily public ferry with a passenger ticket fee approximately IDR 16.000 from Padang Bai. There is also a smaller public ferry speed boat service that typically carries up to 20 people that departs from Padang Bai beach side every morning. You should be at the beach side by 6:30 AM to catch the public speed boat and the ticket cost is about IDR 40,000. If you depart from Sanur, there are 2 companies that serve speed boat services to Nusa Penida, the Caspla Bali Boat and Maruti Express. The Caspla Bali Boat cost IDR 200,000 per person on departure and return for IDR 400,000 per person, while the Maruti Express cost IDR 250,000 per person on departure and return for IDR 480,000. There are also public and charter boats services available in Nusa Lembongan that will take you to Nusa Penida. The charter boats rates may vary but expect to pay around IDR 300,000.
When you are diving in Nusa Penida Island, you will likely to see the large pelagic, such as Manta Ray’s (Manta Birostris) at some locations, the fabulous Mola-mola (Oceanic Sunfish), and if you get lucky, the whale-shark. There are more than 20 identified dive sites around the island, the most notable including Crystal Bay, Manta Point, Toyapakeh, Suana Bay and Malibu Point. The rich water around the Nusa Penida islands support varieties species of coral and many species of fish. The water around Nusa Penida is usually quite cold due to cold water coming from depths. It may go as low as 16°C in the coldest months from June to October. Due to the strong current sweeping the area, the water visibility is among the best around Bali. While some dive sites might have strong current and require experienced diver, the other ones could offer you with one of the best drift diving experience memories of literally flying over the reef.