The Jakarta Post
Scuba divers swim over coral. (Shutterstock/-)
Every year, Bali’s residents and visitors put on their scuba gear and jump into the island’s deep, blue water. We asked avid divers why they can’t seem to get enough of Bali waters, and here are their answers.
Fascinating marine life
Bali is blessed with amazing marine creatures, from rare sea creatures like the mola mola (sunfish), which only appear in July to August, or manta rays that can be seen throughout the year and are even visible from the water’s surface, to the incredible shipwreck in Tulamben.
“Bali diving is always fascinating,” said Jaini Maryanti, a Jakartan who recently became a Bali resident. “I never get bored diving here, even if I have visited the Liberty wreck many times I am never bored,” Yanti said in an email interview. “It amazes me every time I go down there, entering the wreck in between their columns, watching varieties of sea life growing.”
Diving in Bali is exciting and enjoyable, especially because the water is a lot warmer.
“Even in the months that experience the coldest period [June to August], the water is still warmer, especially if compared to Australia,” said Miklos Karpati, founder of GonnaDive.com, a global online booking site for diving trips, who has experience diving over the world. “It’s tropical, and the water is part of the Coral Triangle with a huge variety of tropical critters.”
Knowledgeable local guides
The best thing about Bali is the local knowledge and talent. Local divemasters and instructors in Bali have a broad knowledge of their territory.
“Divemasters or instructors in Bali are more professional than any other place,” said Kim Kyungran, a former dive instructor who has worked in the world’s best diving spots, including Thailand, Australia, Bali and the Maldives. “In Thailand, many Westerners temporarily work as diving instructors. They come and go, but in Bali the locals are the experts.”
Inexpensive, well-organized services
“Bali offers one-package services,” said Karpati. “They pick you up at your hotel door, take you by car and boat until you reach the diving spot. They take care of your lunch and drinks, entertain you, and bring you back to your hotel. Nowhere in the world offers a service like that. And all of those come with an inexpensive price, especially if you compare it with other dive destinations like Central America or Australia.”
“And finally, because Balinese people are friendly and their hospitality is legendary,” he added.
Another diver named Colin Marshall, a writer and avid underwater photographer, pointed out the range of accommodation in the surrounding areas: “The standard of accommodation in most diving areas is very good and reasonably priced.”
Enchanting night diving
“Night diving at Liberty wreck is also amazing. Muck diving in Bali never bores me. Why? Because there are a lot of sea creatures that you can see and photograph. There are various underwater photo objects for both wide angle and macro shots. Also, watching their behavior is mindblowing in itself,” said Yanti.
Most of the spots are close to each other, making it easy to embark on a diving safari. It typically takes less than an hour to reach the next diving destination, for example from Padang Bai to Amed, and from Amed to Tulamben.
“It's very accessible. You can go to beautiful dive spots with relative ease and comfort,” said Roberto Nagini, an Italian who is a regular visitor to diving sites in Bali.
Range of options
“The quality of the diving is very good,” said Colin Marshall. “Bali has a lot of different kinds of diving — corals, muck [black sand], wrecks, the opportunity to see big animals and even some ‘exciting’ high-current dives if you like that kind of thing," he added.
“There's the full range here in Bali. Some places are very easy, others can be challenging. But if you go with a good operator, who understands the sites and tides, all the diving sites are fine,” Colin said, citing Seraya on Bali’s east coast as relaxed, compared to a challenging site like Nusa Penida. (asw)
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