The first piece of information regarding Nusa Lembongan diving usually looks something like the following. This area is home to some truly amazing diving. Sitting in the South of the “Coral Triangle”, this is one of the most Marine Biodiverse Regions in the world.
The rich marine life paired with clear, tropical waters provide some absolute world class diving. With such wide ranging dive sites and the chance to dive with the famous Manta Rays or Mola Mola, there is something here for everyone!
Diving conditions in the area are generally quite favorable throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons here. First the dry season which runs from May to October. Second, the wet season which runs from December to March. During the dry season, winds blow east to west and the humidity is not quite as strong. Daily surface temperature generally hovers in the low 30’s. Water temperature does drop in the dry season, expect water temperatures to be in the 18-26 Deg C range. However, the visibility is consistently in the 25+ meter range and the chance to see the Mola Mola is much higher.
During the wet season, the diving conditions are still quite good. Additionally there is the added bonus of the dive sites being less crowded. Winds blow west to east bringing more humidity into the air, while the water temperature will generally stays in the 24-29 Deg C range. Visibility does tend to drop a little during the wet season. However, it is still common to get fantastic diving conditions.
Just might be the closest feeling to flying!
This area is home to some of the fastest moving currents in the world. As such, extra care needs to be taken when diving in Lembongan, Ceningan and Nusa Penida. The currents found here, however, are one of the reasons this area is such an amazing place to dive. The major currents run North to South, while deep water swell comes in from the Southwest and when these two meet, it can create a bit of dump zone for eggs and Larvae. This one of the reasons the marine life is so rich and diverse in the area. The strong currents also help to keep nutrients flowing resulting in healthy, strong coral reef.
Diving with the current is known as “Drift Diving”. Consequently, this is the way we dive many of the sites in the area. If you have never tried drift diving, it is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world, possibly the closest feeling a diver can have to flying. With our Dive Center and boat located right on the beach, we always do our best to time our trips around the slack tides. Slack tides are generally when the current is the least powerful and safest for diving. We have many different dive sites to choose from. If we deem conditions unsafe at one particular site, we will always move to better suited, safer site to make our dive.
Coral reefs lay claim to the some of the richest flora and fauna found in the world. Covering less than 0.1% of the ocean, coral reefs are home to more then 25% of all marine species. Often described as “rainforests of the sea”, these are some of the most complex ecosystems found anywhere on earth.
Coral reefs can be classed into 3 major groups – Fringing Reefs, Barrier Reefs and Atolls. Fringing Reefs are by far the most common of the three and will grow directly from the shoreline in shallow waters. Barrier Reefs usually grow along a major coastlines and are separated from shore by a Lagoon. The largest of this type found in the world is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Atolls, are generally circular reefs that surround a deep water lagoon. Not as common as the other two, most Atolls form from fringing reef around volcanic islands.
The fringing reef that lines Lembongan and Nusa Penida is home to many different types of coral species. Blanketed with both hard and soft corals, some of the species you will come across include Brain Coral, Staghorn Coral, Spiral Wire Coral, Mushroom Coral, Tube and Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans, Wire and Tabletop Corals and many, countless others.
The marine life surrounding Lembongan and Nusa Penida is nothing short of spectacular. With the sheer abundance and varied marine species found here, there is only one question to ask. Is there is enough room in your logbook to record everything you have seen!
Common marine life that you can find diving around the area include Nemo (Anemone Fish), Turtles, Moray Eels, Moorish Idols, Bannerfish, Angelfish, Lionfish, Scorpionfish, Leaf Scorpionfish, Triggerfish, Pufferfish, Snapper, Sweetlips, Wrasse, Groupers, Butterflyfish and countless others.
Smaller species found here can be Shrimps, Crabs, Nudibranchs, Ribbon Eels, Pipefish and the infamously hard to find Pygmy Seahorse!
Some of the larger pelagics you can find here are Dogtooth and Yellowfin Tuna, Giant Trevally, White Tip Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Bamboo Sharks, Barracuda, Marble, Eagle and Manta Rays and Mola Mola (Oceanic Sunfish).
The famous Manta Rays Nusa Penida is home to draw many diving tourists each year to marvel at their beauty. The Manta Rays here are Reef Manta Rays and generally they grow to have a wingspan between 2-4 meters. Although the Mantas can grow to be quite large, they feed on plankton and pose no threat towards divers. Nusa Penida is home to both the traditional dark blue and white Mantas, as well, we have a few resident black Mantas roaming the area.
All year long you can see the Mantas at a few different Nusa Penida dive sites. So no matter what time of the year you come diving, there is a good chance to dive with them. Did you know the belly of a Manta Ray is like our fingerprint? Each one is unique and you can use it for identification purposes. For example, some of the Manta Rays found here have been tracked as far Komodo National Park (300km+ away). Please note, Mantas are quite curious and as such, there is a good chance to dive with them right up close. Just remember not to touch or chase them.
A common item to check off a Diver’s checklist is the rare Mola Mola or Oceanic Sunfish. As a bit of a magnet for Mola Mola, more notably in the dry season (May-Oct). Lembongan and Nusa Penida dive sites offer one of the best chances in the world to see these gentle giants. It is the heaviest bony fish in the world and can weigh in at up to 2.5 tons. The Mola Mola can also grow up to between 3-4 meters in size.
Most of the time the Mola Mola will stay in deep, colder waters. However, during our dry season (May-Oct), the waters in the region will drop down into the low 20s; Sometimes even the high teens. These cooler temperatures are what bring the Mola Mola much closer to the surface. The Mola generally come up to be “cleaned”. They will often be seen 30-40 meters deep, around large groups of Bannerfish. These fish act as cleaning stations for the Mola Mola. Please note, Mola Mola get nervous easily and with a good chance to see them right up close. Just remember not to touch or chase them.