Scuba Diving in Bali

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in Indonesia
Sunday, 28 December 2008 20:03

People from all over the world go to Indonesia to scuba dive in the clear waters that are filled to overflowing with marine life.  There are more than three thousand five hundred different marine species in the Indonesia area, so you will be in for a surprise when you dive here no matter which location you go to.  One of the best things about diving in Bali is that it is suited to fit all levels of experience.  It doesn’t matter if you are just getting your fins wet or if you have hours and hours of dive time under your belt, there is a dive site just waiting for you to explore and enjoy.  The clarity of the waters is something that you can count on and it makes it a perfect picture opportunity for those who are interested in underwater photography.  


Dive Sites in Bali

Dive Sites in Bali


It is best that you check with the news before you book your holiday to Bali though as the region is known for its political instability, so you will want to make sure that you’ll be able to fully enjoy your trip without any worries.  When you are checking into dive locations, it is also a good idea to make sure that they have not been damaged by either pollution or dynamite fishing, as this region has been known to have problems related to this as well.  However, with one quarter of the world’s reefs located in Indonesia, there are still plenty of diving locations that are in pristine condition.


Scuba Diving Wrecks in Bali

One of the most popular dive sites in Bali is located on the north-western corner of the island and is known as The Anchor Wreck.  This wreck is actually a mystery because it is unclear as to where it came from or what the real name of the boat actually was/is.  The wreckage is actually that of a wooden boat, but the name comes from a huge anchor that can be found about eight metres below the surface of the water.

Once you see the anchor you will have to follow the attached chain down a slope that will eventually reach a depth of thirty three metres or so.  At this point the coral surround will change into a sandy environment and it is here that you will see another anchor whose casing has been covered with a healthy amount of marine life.  Next to this area you will see the remaining wood pieces of the boat as they are very dark and stand out easily on the white sandy bottom.  Also in the area are brown bottles and copper sheets that appear to have been part of the original cargo of the ship.  

The USAT Liberty Wreck is situated on the north-eastern section of Bali.  The ship was originally constructed in New Jersey and was being used during World War II for carrying important materials for the war between the Philippines and Australia.  It was struck in 1942 by a Japanese torpedo, but it did not sink.  Because the ship was considered valuable to the war effort, two destroyers tried to tow it in for repair but eventually it had to be beached and stripped of everything valuable.  Twenty years later, in 1963, an earthquake from Gunung Agung’s eruption caused the ship to roll over into deeper waters where it broke apart and sank.  The dive is considered to be an amazing find and offers a wealth of diving opportunities to view the marine life, and the wreck itself is also a breath taking piece of history in the water.


Best Time to Dive in Bali

There is not really a restriction on when you can dive in Bali due to colder weather conditions, as it is fairly warm all year round.  You will probably want to plan your visit in the dry season (June to October).  You can still visit during the rainy season without worrying about having your dives cancelled; however, the constant deluge of rain can cause the normally clear waters to be murkier.  The monsoon months you will want to avoid are typically December to February.


Notable Dive Locations in Bali

Menjangan Island was declared part of the West Bali National Park in 1982 and is located on the northwest section of Bali.  It is a wonderful dive site and has been hailed for its gorgeous reefs.  If you want to dive in the area, however, you will have to go through a diving service as entry to the area for scuba divers is only granted by the Parks Service.  The recommended dive time for this area is from April to November when the rains are predominantly found in the south-eastern parts of the country.  

If you want a little excitement mixed in with your dive, then you might consider going to Padang Bai.  This location has been known for its shark sightings but there is also a wealth of other fish that can be seen in the area, including ocean sunfish.  However, the dive here is recommended for the more experienced divers because of the strong currents that have been known to criss-cross the area.  Nonetheless, it is well worth it simply because of the beautiful, healthy, coral and the remarkable clarity of the surrounding waters.

Considered to be one of the best diving locations in Bali, Nusa Penida is located just east of Sanur.  The site is best known for its large range of mackerel, tuna, mantas, jacks and mantas.  But there are very strong currents and it is common for them to be faster than four knots, so it is only really recommended for the experienced divers.  The good thing about the upwelling current is that it helps to keep the water clear, and there are pockets of colder water that can be as low as 22°C, so it’s important that you wear a full length dive suit when going to this location.  One site that is located near Nusa Penida which can be used by more inexperienced divers is Crystal Bay as it is a protected and shallow area.  

Gili Tepekong is an intriguing underwater paradise.  The region is comprised of a large area of volcanic mass that rises up out of the water, and this makes for an interesting combination of underwater topography and marine life variety.  The area is known for its bright red sea fans, sponges, and tunicates, and there is such a dense concentration of coral in the dive location that you can find yourself in very cramped situations if you’re not careful.



Clown Trigger Fish at Gili Tepekong
Clown Trigger Fish at Gili Tepekong


If you are a beginner then a good diving location for you is the Blue Lagoon.  This area is comprised of shallow reefs near Padang Bai.  In fact it is so shallow that the coral growth blooms in just three metres of water.  Although the area is recommended for introduction diving, it can also be a good location for underwater photography and spectacular night dives.

A diving location near Nusa Penida that has attracted divers of all areas of expertise is known as Manta Point.  This area is majestic because of the huge limestone cliffs that plunge into the waters and the swell can be difficult to navigate in the later hours of the day so it is important that you go to dive in the morning.  Manta rays are known to feed in this location, but even if you aren’t able to see a manta ray, the underwater landscape can still be spectacular even if the marine life is sparse at times.  

Types of Marine Life in Bali

There is a huge wealth of marine life to be seen in Bali and not all of them can possibly be listed here, but a few examples of what you might come across if you decide to dive at this location include  sponges, coral, gorgonian fans, nudis, egg cowries, cuttlefish, dolphins, octopus, scorpion fish, pipefish, leaf fish, angelfish, sharks, crinoids (sea feathers), turtles, manta rays, seahorses, dragonets, gobies, batfish, ocean sunfish, moray eels, nudibranches, barracuda, and many, many, more.



A Bali Sea Turtle
A Bali Sea Turtle

Bali Diving Fact Sheet

Average Air Temperature:        29°C – 33°C

Average Water Temperature:    27°C – 29°C

Recommended Exposure Protection:  Depending on the area where you plan to dive you might want to wear anything from a 3mm to a full length suit.

Average Visibility:  Anywhere from 10 to 50 metres.

Coldest Times:    July to December

Hottest Times:    February to March

Best Times to Dive:  The climate in Bali is reasonably warm year round, with colder water temperatures around 29°C.  You can dive there year round without having to worry about the colder months.  The dry season in Indonesia lasts from June through October.  

Worst Times to Dive:  The rain that plagues Bali during the monsoon months of December to February can make the water murky even though it cannot prevent actual dives.


Scuba Diving in Bali Video




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