South East of Bali, we find a cluster of three islands named Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan. Nusa Penida, the largest ones, is the site to breath-taking landscapes and incredible marine life. By far the least developed of the three, Penida offers vertiginous cliffs exposed to the rough sea and waves. A wild lands scenery that hides some world class dive sites below the surface.
Penida is famous underwater for its Manta rays cleaning stations and feeding spots. Indeed Reef and Pelagic Manta Rays cruise along the coast of this island where they feed on plankton in shallow bays. They also get cleaned at one of the stations from their parasites and dead skin by an army of cleaner wrasses and butterflyfish. Watching those giants (up to 6m for the Pelagic Manta) gliding silently underwater is just simply magical.
Penida, by its position in the middle of the Lombok-Bali strait, is exposed to cold upwelling currents (down to 18°C) and rough seas. Those conditions make Nusa Penida quite challenging to dive but allow nutrient rich waters to wash up the coast. In those cold waters, coral reef thrive and flourish. Carpets of healthy reefs covered the underwater slopes and walls of the island. Rich waters attract lots of fish, turtles, sharks, tunas, mackerels, trevallies and even dolphins.
Those cold waters allow also deep water fish such as the Mola-Mola also known as Sunfish. This dinosaur fish comes then shallower to clean cleaned by bannerfish and butterflyfish. Reaching a size up to 3m, those weird looking fish can usually only be spotted by Advanced Open Water divers as they still remain deep.
Penida is also famous for its tough diving conditions. Exposed to the waves and strong multidirectional currents, only certified divers (minimum Open Water Diver certification) are recommended to dive there. As cold waters and strenuous diving conditions can be experienced there, we will take divers that show proof of certification or have been previously evaluated by our DiveMasters and Instructors. To ensure the safety of all our divers and staff, conditions will always been evaluated before diving at the location. If the situation doesn’t allow to dive safely, there are always lots of other more protected sites around the island with majestic reefs to explore.
Since 2010, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan were declared as “Marine Protected Areas,” prohibiting all industrial and destructive fishing practices within its coastal waters. Best time of the year to spot the giants Manta Rays and Sunfish is from June to October. However they can be seen randomly all year around.
To dive Nusa Penida, Bali Diversity takes you on an amazing diving day trip with departure from both the South of Bali or Amed & Tulamben area. For more information about our diving day trips, visit our DAY TRIP page or contact us directly here.