Crystal clear water, lush reefs and big animal encounters – everything I wanted in a dive trip, was delivered in Bali.
Our hotel, Sanur Palace, was only a short drive from the Crystal Divers Bali dive shop where we picked up our gear and off to the diving. Our first few dives were at Padang Bai – shallower dives made for macro critters and a perfect location for acclimatization dives. We were treated to many different nudibranchs, starfish, eels, leaf scorpionfish and even an ornate ghost pipefish! Although the day was overcast and the water slightly choppy, the critters put on quite a display!
The 2nd day of diving we traveled 2.5 hrs to Tulamben – a drive well-worth it! The USS Liberty and the surrounding reefs are considered some of the best marco and wreck diving in the world. These are shore dives – put on your gear and head into the water. The fish's colors show up starkly against the black sand canvas, and on this particular day, the water was flat and glassy. It was like diving in an aquarium! All the critters are within a short swim away. Bumphead parrotfish, eels, shoals of silversides, nudibranchs and a pygmy seahorse graced our dives. The coral along the wall at Tulamben is lush with hard coral and crowded with reef fish.
Our ‘big animal’ encounter occurred the following day at Nusa Penida – MANTAS. About 20 mins by boat, we hit a cleaning station where I saw my first ever manta. What a sight – there were three of them and it was obvious that they were used to divers. It was a paparazzi gathering; the underwater strobes going off while the mantas glided by, creating memories for a lifetime. Our last dive site was at Candi Dasa – drift diving over beautiful forests of coral. Critters that appeared were turtles, a school of jacks, beautiful cuttlefish and to top off the trip, a Mola mola at the end of the dive!
Mehul Vora, Lacadives guest
Photography by Mehul Vora