15 Mar

Top 6 Bali diving sites you probably have not heard of – Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series “Top 6 Bali diving sites you probably have not heard of”

So you’ve gazed in awe at the Mola-molas in Crystal Bay, hung with the rays at Manta Point and enjoyed the world famous Liberty Wreck in Tulamben – fantastic dives one and all, but you’re ready for something new when diving in Bali… As the scuba diving internship manager here at Blue Season Bali, I have been lucky enough to experience the huge diversity of Bali’s dive sites on a daily basis. With interns staying in Bali for at least a month (and usually much longer) we get the chance to sample some of the lesser visited dive sites in Bali. Although I will never get bored of diving at Manta Point, I have put together a list my favorite spots to dive which perhaps you haven’t heard of or tried yet.

No. 1 – Seraya Secrets

It took me a little while to get into it but I am now completely hooked on muck diving in Bali. Finding weird and wonderful creatures in a seemingly barren sandy wasteland is my favorite kind of treasure hunt. Seraya is about 10 minutes before the Liberty wreck on the Tulamben coast so you’ve probably driven past it before. Facilities are charmingly basic and you’ll probably have the whole site to yourself (but watch out for the cannibalistic chickens!). Get a good guide, walk in from the beach, head in any direction and I guarantee you will find a world of intriguing macro life. Puri Jati may be more famous but Seraya gives it a good run for its money and is now considered the top muck diving site in Bali.
Seraya had fallen out of favor in recent years as the Harlequin Shrimp it was known for disappeared. The good news is they have recently returned! Just a small sample of what you can see here include: Hairy squat lobster, Honeycomb moray eel, Boxer crabs, Mimic octopus, Cuttlefish, lots of Nudis, great Barracuda, Peacock tail shrimp, Twinspot lionfish, Ornate ghost Pipefish and the list goes on!

Emperor-shrimp-night
Emperor Shrimp

No. 2 – Night dive on the USAT Liberty

Ok so you’ve probably visited the Liberty wreck during the day but don’t miss it at night too. This is one of my all-time favorite dives and I get excited just thinking about it! First off, you get the privilege of diving at a proper 110m wreck at night. The Liberty’s mood changes depending on the time of day and at night it becomes an eerie historical artifact reclaimed by the ocean and its inhabitants. I love night dives because the reef fish go to sleep and a whole new world comes alive. Suddenly, urchins, sea stars and sea pens abound. Shrimps’ eyes shine back at you from every direction & crabs scuttle away from torch glares with their big eyes, squirrel and cardinal fish come out to play. The volcanic black sand is also teeming with life, so I suggest you spend a good 15-20mins here before hitting the wreck. Look out for Mantis shrimp, Bumphead parrotfish, Frogfish, baby octopus and cuttlefish feeding. Once you reach the wreck you will find reef fish sleeping in every nook and cranny; Anemone Hermit Crabs going into overdrive as soon as your light hits them and the sexy red splodge which is the Spanish Dancer nudibranch. Find your way to the cargo hold, this is the Bumphead’s bed for the night and some of them may already be there. Look out for the big marbled Groupers too, last week we saw one of these vacuum a blue-lined Angelfish into its jaws – DM Edi and I were literally screaming with delight when we witnessed it! Once the dive is over, head to Safety Stop Restaurant for dinner and if you’re really keen, you can get back in the water at 5:30am to see the Bumphead’s wake up.

No. 3- Gili Mimpang
Gili Mimpang is about 15 minutes boat ride out of Padang Bai harbor and from the surface all you can see are a few jagged rocks. We rarely get to go here as the currents around Gili Mimpang and its sister site Gili Tepekong can be treacherous – ever heard of a ‘washing machine’ underwater?! You definitely need to be a very strong diver before you come here but the rewards once you do can be breathtaking. On its day, this is one of the best sites in Bali and has a Komodo-esque feel to it.
What I love about Mimpang is how you can experience several types of dive on a single site. You’ll drop in and head down the line, passing a random signpost to various international locations on your way (you’ll know what I mean when you see it). Once you hit the bottom, you’ll find a rubble-strewn world of muck diving – look out for cuttlefish, exotic nudis and all the rest of our mucky friends. That’s just the start though…next up is a sloping reef which absolutely teems with marine life and vibrantly coloured corals. Turtles, Zebra Eels, Angelfish, schools of Surgeonfish can all be seen patrolling this very healthy reef. At the end of the sloping reef you hit a sheer wall where the water swirls and the soft corals are now replaced by a stark, stony cliff face. This for many divers is the highlight of the dive as here we can find larger pelagic fish – giant trevally, sharks and if it’s the right time of year even Mola Mola! An awesome dive site for sure and I’m hoping you book a trip here soon so the interns can jump on the boat too…

We will be posting Part 2 of dive sites you probably have not heard of soon, so stay tuned…

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