This week in Lembongan… A new young diver explores the reefs of Lembongan. Jack, a 10 year old, who completed his junior open water course with instructor Gwen, had a lot of fun getting his certification. Jack is an active snorkeler and surfer back in his home country of Australia but decided that that was not enough and wanted to get down underwater to explore the reefs.
We have had some great dives this week and have even found a new wreck at Bunaken! Not that I think it will be attracting many divers, just out of recreational range Naomi and myself spotted two pretty new looking engines and long tail props along with some bamboo outriggers, whilst on a tech dive. Possibly the mission for a future search and recovery dive? This was just one of many highlights on a beautiful Mandolin dive; mating big eye trevally, sharks, stingrays, moray eels, massive maori wrasse as well as the reef bustling with life. All of this in beautifully mild conditions; warm water, great viz and a nice drift taking us along the reef. The picture attached shows the lovely scenery that we have to enjoy during our shallow stops; no boring blue water hangs for us.
Belongas, South Lombok this week has been the rise of Great hammerheads.
Down here in Belongas we have the opportunity to see both the scalloped hammerheads and the great hammerheads. The scalloped form in schools where as the great are known to be more solitary.
When we encounter the great hammerheads we usually only see 3-4 on a dive if we are lucky but this week on individual dives we have been spotting 8-10!
This week in Sanur Bali: We managed to get up close and personal to the resident Great Barracuda at the USAT Liberty. Almost close enough to count those big teeth of his.
This week in Lembongan… Our guests have had some pretty amazing encounters with these special creatures. Annie who spent 5 days diving with us, saw a mola every day and on some dives she saw up to 5 molas, swimming, cleaning and even jumping. One of the most special moments of the week was with Annie’s son, Neils. Neils is only 8 so he is yet to become a scuba diver like his mum, but that did not stop him from getting the chance to see a mola!
I always appreciate it when one of our guests asks to undertake the peak performance buoyancy course; in my eyes that is diving.
Once again here in Belongas, South Lombok our conditions have been up and down with temperatures ranging from 19ºC-24ºC, visibility from 5-25 meters, waves from .5-4 meters and current from small to strong washing machines and still our season has not ended.
We have been seeing hammerheads, mobula rays, white tip reef sharks, barracuda, devil rays, trevally, tuna and more and more schools of squid mainly at the dive site “Gili Sarang”.
This week in Lembongan… The waves have picked up in the south, so the manta sites have been unreachable but this means we have spent the week drifting over the colourful soft corals of the slopping reefs on the north coast of Nusa Penida. Although the south coast does bask in the glory of the manta rays, the south is mainly covered with sponge coral that does not hold the bright colours like soft coral does. This is due to the changing wave conditions that effect the coral spore moment, meaning soft coral find it hard to grow. This is quite different on the north coast, it seems with the magic of nature, the slopping fringing reefs provide the perfect environment for coral spores to settle and process the beautiful colours that cover these slopes.
These hairy squat lobsters at Bunaken remind me of one of the characters from Street Fighter; Blanka. I have been looking around the innumerous barrel sponges here for the past few days and have finally found some!
This week in Bali: We had one of our busiest weeks here and we have seen everything from Molas to baby Frogfish, each day our divers have been coming back saying that they have seen stuff that they have never seen before.
This week in Lembongan. It’s that time of year again. On the fourth full moon of the Balinese calendar Nyepi Laut is celebrated on the islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. This year this day falls on September 29th. On this day the inhabitants of the three islands pay homage to the Dewa Baruna who is the ruler of the seas. This ritual has been performed in the region of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan since 1600 during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong. The ritual practice of that day includes meditation and quiet contemplation on the importance of the watery environment that surrounds and sustains the islands.
A prize find for shrimp geeks was finally captured on camera at Bunaken by our in house shrimpophile Robyn. Robyn has spent the last week doing night dives around Bunaken amazed by the amount of life that comes out to play only once the sun has gone down. The basket stars have been a firm favourite as they swarm over the reef, especially once she found they were full of their own little critters.
This week in Belongas we have been seeing big schools of Great Barracudas on every dive!!
The Visibility has been changing all week from 2 Meters to an astonishing 25 Meters towards the end and that didn’t stop our groups of divers seeing the barracudas circulating overhead like a flock of birds.
We have been in Lembeh since 2007, in fact we were the 3rd operator in Lembeh after Lembeh Resort and Kungkungan Bay Resort! Over this time we have come to consider that October is probably the best time to dive Lembeh, here are some of the reasons why we think this is so.
This week in Lembongan, The North Coast of Nusa Penida offers a lot of great dive sites and our dive at Mangrove this week was completely stunning!! The visibility was amazing and the fun divers pointed some big moray eels, scorpion fish and crocodile fish. Guy and Emily who were doing their Underwater Naturalist Adventure Dive found a lot of species that they didn’t know and enjoyed learning more about plants and corals.
The reef certainly does not sleep at night in Bunaken, though many of its residents do of course. Whilst the parrot fish and triggerfish find nooks and crannies to wedge themselves for a night’s rest a horde of other critters vacate their hiding places and swarm over the reef.
This week here in Belongas, South Lombok we have had the absolute pleasure of a visit from an Oceanic Manta! Having full boats all week with divers from the Gili Islands, U.K, France and Malaysia who all come from for Hammerheads and Mobula Rays were over the moon to run into the Manta.
Pi’I our Belongas guide says that this does happen so often usually about 3-4 times during the high season.
This week in Mainland Bali: We were super stoked to find a Stargazer in Padang Bai and that too during the day time.(Photo for reference only)The Stargazer is a fish that will bury itself in the sand to ambush its prey, when an unsuspecting fish swims over head it leaps out and drags it into the sand.
This week in Lembongan… On many of our dive sites around Penida and Lembongan we have Bali dive centers that take the journey across Badung Strait to bring their guests to dive our reefs. So we thought maybe we should do the opposite and head over to Bali to check out the diving there. For this trip we we loaded our boat Freedom with many tanks and a lunch and drinks and left Lembongan at 7.30am for a day trip to explore the famous Liberty wreck.
We often get emails from people who are planning dive trips to Indonesia and want to know where the best places for diving are, and what we can suggest for a 8-10 day stay. This is actually very hard to provide, its like asking to give suggestions for a 8-10 day stay for skiing in europe!
However, we can provide some of the considerations that you need to take into account when you are planning dive trips to Indonesia, and we can provide some recommendations based on this.
So there will be no more posts about visibility here at Bunaken. After last week bragging of 50+M viz, that cold upwelling must have brought with it a lot of nutrients as we have had a plankton bloom and the viz has dropped to 10-15M in places! That may not sound too bad for a lot of you but its pretty much unheard of here.
Belongas, South Lombok…..attracts those who are in need of encountering plenty of pelagic fish but it rare for us here to bump into the almighty Sunfish otherwise known as Mola Mola.
There have been a few sightings over the years but it is something that we don’t count on.