1. The Liberty Wreck
A US Army transport ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 the USAT Liberty Wreck was originally beached on the east coast of Bali next to the settlement of Tulemban. In 1963 a nearby volcano erupted forcing the structure into the sea and in doing so made it quite possibly the best wreck dives to be found anywhere in Indonesia. Now covered in soft corals and fans the Liberty Wreck attracts an abundance of life from giant bumphead parrotfish to pygmy seahorses. Access is via the shore and within a few fin kicks you should be able to see the outline at around 8 – 12 meters, it then drops to around 30m on the deeper sides. This is a superb dive whether you like reef or wreck diving.
2. Gili Tepekong
Not far from the shores of Candidasa on Bali’s east coast is Tepekong and Mimpang reefs, a volanic outcrop the region can be prone to strong currents but this in turn attracts a rich diversity of marine life including marauding predators like tunas and jacks. The outcrop itself is covered in fans, tunicates and sponges making it a great 2 tank trip whilst staying in Candidasa.
3. Crystal Bay
Nusa Penida is an island to the east of Bali and can be reached as a full day trip if you’re staying between Candidasa in the north and Sanur in the south. Crystal Bay has two entrances with a large outcrop inbetween, the shallow regions are relatively protected whilst the central rock is exposed to the elements and the fast moving water that can be typical of this region. These fast currents and often cooler water temperatures than you’ll find closer to Bali attract mantas and is you are lucky oceanic sun fish, the best of time year generally being between July and October. The reefs around Nusa Penida are also in good condition with rich and vibrant corals and plenty of reef fish to be found on most dives.
4. Puri Jati
On the north coast of Bali development is a lot slower than other parts of the islands, resorts are fewer and far between and you’ll find a slower pace of life in general. This is true also of the diving and whilst at least around Pur Jati (around 40 minutes from Sanur) doesn’t offer much in the way of coral life it’s a great place for anyone who likes critters, invertebrates and interesting marine life, likewise for photographers. Puri Jati is a black sand bay so this is really what we call muck diving, frogfish, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs and octopus are all relatively common place here. Be aware that during the wet season (November – April) surface run off makes reduces visibility significantly and drives critters into deeper waters.
5. Menjangan Island
Located off the north eastern coast of Bali Menjangan Island offers arguably the best reef diving to be found throughout the island. At just a few kilometers in length you could probably allow for two days of diving here giving you the chance to see the best of what’s on offer. Characterised by walls and reefs slopes the corals are healthy and colorful with well preserved sea fans and soft corals in abundance, fish life is also good with red tooth trigger fish darting towards the surface in large numbers, angelfish and schooling banners. You can make a trip to Menjangan comfortably from the east and northern coasts, from the south expect 3-4 hours of land travel each way.