Home > Divings, Travel - Beyond Malaysia > Luck is not on my side – no Mola Mola and Manta Ray sighting at Nusa Penida dives!

Luck is not on my side – no Mola Mola and Manta Ray sighting at Nusa Penida dives!

September 12th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I just come back from a diving trip to Bali a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit I have a blast, even if I didn’t see any Mola Mola and Manta Rays at Nusa Penida. Yeah it is right, I see none of them, which is probably harder to achieve at this time of the year (end of August) than seeing one or a few of them. Luck is just not at my side at times. It is a perfect excuse to come Nusa Penida again though!

We dived 2 days at Nusa Penida, followed by 1 day each at Tulamben, Amed and Kubu.

For Nusa Penida dives, we pre-book online with Bali Scuba at Sanur. 3 dives/day cost USD130. The price includes hotel transfer, tank & weight & guide, onbaoard soft drinks & mineral water, and a nice little lunch onboard (steam rice with beef & chicken, egg and sambal). Gear rental is not included – expect USD5/item/day. Our dive master for the 2 dive days are Knut and Henry. Knut is a tall Caucasian and likes to joke around. Henry is an over-sized fatty with over 30 years of diving experience. Both are really nice guys and helpful. Read more below.

Swastika Bungalow, the place where we stayed for 2 nights for USD40/night, is not far from Bali Scuba dive shop. It is not really a bungalow, just the normal resort type double-storey rooms. Room is spacious enough for 2, and equipped with air-conditional, TV and hot shower. There are a couple of swimming pools too among the lush greenery of hotel compound. The whole place shouts BALI. Oh and an continental breakfast is included too in the cafe overlooking one of the swimming pools.

There is a Swastika Restaurant just a stone-throw away from the Bungalow under the same corporation. You will get 10% discount off (or is it 5%?) the food price if you tell them you are staying in Swastika Bungalow. I didn’t recall the waitress request for the show-of-proof. Food is OK here. Go try the fresh coconut juice – the fruit came with decorations!

Water temperature is cold at this time of the year at Nusa Penida, so I didn’t use my 3mm wetsuit but instead renting a 5mm M-size long-sleeve wetsuit made by Nemo from the dive shop. It is full black with custom “Bali Scuba” branding logo across the chest area, and heavily padded at the elbow and ankle areas. This is the first time I am using 5mm, but it didn’t feel much harder to don than my own 3mm wetsuit.

Dive day started early – at 730am, the pickup already arrived at hotel. There were some waitings here and there. It is about 10mins to reach the dive boat at the Sanur beach. It will be another 45mins or more to reach the dive sites (depending on which one). Good thing about diving in Indonesia compared to Malaysia is that we don’t need to setup the gears ourselves. The boat crew and the dive masters will get them ready while we endure the long boat journey to the dive sites on the choppy water. Soft drinks  and mineral water is free flow on the boat. There is a small toilet too but it is a challenge to get every drop into the toilet bowl while the boat zips through the Badung Strait. The top deck of the dive boat can be used as sun deck while the boat is anchored.

We met with currents in all the dives here, the strongest one in 3rd dive at Crystal Point after the turn back. I held on to some coral rocks just to make sure that I don’t get swept away into the Indian Ocean. Still – no Mola Mola. I saw a bunch of Bannerfish cleaning stations but the big fish just don’t show up. Thermocline encountered at almost every dive – it is the layer of water column where the temperature changed dramatically, and due to this exchange of heat, objects appeared as if you are looking through a wrinkled glass. Going down the thermocline layer, even colder water is waiting to wake you up. The coldest that we’ve had in these 2 days is 22C – cold but still bearable with the 5mm wetsuit for me. Dive duration is mostly short due to the higher air consumption in all these dives to fight with the currents. Henry the dive master is using his 2.5mm wetsuit, guess he has more than enough of fat reserve in his body to shield from the cold :-p.

While no Manta and Mola Mola showing up, most of the time were spent looking at corals and divers. We did see a clown frogfish and a very nice looking nudibranch (Nembrotha purpureolineata), which was swept away by current after I’ve taken a few snaps. Poor nudi. Soft and hard corals are good and of many different kinds, especially at Toya Pakeh.

Dive Logs (1st 3 dives: 27 Aug 2010, 2nd 3 dives: 28 Aug 2010)

Dive# Dive Site Location Start Time Duration Depth Temp Weight Wetsuit
1 PED Point Nusa Penida 0936 35min 27.8m 24C 5kg 5mm
2 Crystal Bay Nusa Penida 1127 42 29.5 22 5 5mm
3 Crystal Bay Nusa Penida 1333 48 28 22 4 5mm
4 Crystal Bay Nusa Penida 0930 42 29.6 26 4 5mm
5 Manta Point Nusa Penida 1118 62 15.6 26 4 5mm
6 Toya Pakeh Nusa Penida 1350 52 19.3 24 4 5mm


Click below for some photos taken here. I haven’t been taking any underwater photos since Aug 2009 Manado trip but it is nice to be able to get started again.

  • Nusa Penida, Bali - Diving Photos, Aug 2010
Nusa Penida, Bali - Diving Photos, Aug 2010

Diving photos taken at Nusa Penida, Bali at end of August 2010. Major disappointment is no Mola mola and manta ray sightings. Nevertheless a really good experience with the strong currents and cold water! Sure will be back next Mola Mola season!

  1. Bill Yeoh
    September 13th, 2010 at 22:04 | #1

    This Nudy, never seen before leh.. nice..

  2. September 13th, 2010 at 22:17 | #2

    Yea, first time for me too. It is Nembrotha purpureolineata in case you missed that in the original post (well at least that’s what I learnt from Andrea & Antonella Ferrari’s Reef Life guidebook). I wanna take a few more snaps but the poor thing got swept away by current when I turned back for more. Should survive but maybe end up 10m away. Hehe.

  1. No trackbacks yet.