Exploring New Dive sites in Bali

With one friend leaving and another visiting I seem to have done a lot of fun dives this month. This is great because I finally had the chance to explore some new dive sites in Bali. I also spent time visiting well known sites at unusual times of the day.

 

Padang Bai

 

The first of these new sites was blue lagoon a small bay next to Padang Bai, Bali. Two dives here allowed us to explore both sides of the bay. The first thing we saw was the smallest frogfish I have ever seen, so small that I was not able to take a decent photo. Later on the same dive we found a much larger frogfish, possibly the biggest I have every seen.

 

Across the two dives we saw:

  • seven seahorses
  • five scorpion leaf fish
  • four different types of nudibranch
  • three baby lionfish
  • three moray eels
  • three ghost pipefish
  • two banded pipefish
  • a school of catfish
  • an orangutan crab
  • a cow fish
  • cleaner shrimps
  • Durban dancing shrimps
  • And of course the frogfish

 

They were defiantly the type of dives where I didn’t know where to look and was constantly taking photos moving from one subject to the next.

 

Overall I was impressed by this dive site and now want to spend some more time exploring the area around Padang Bai, but maybe I should buy a better macro lens first.

 

Giant Frog Fish

Anna's Chromodoris

Leaf Ghost pipe fish

Shy Seahorse

 

Early morning at the U.S.A.T Liberty Wreck

 

Surprisingly after spending more than a year in Bali I have never dived the Liberty Wreck at dawn. Supposedly this is the best time to dive the wreck generally because there is less people. Also the marine life which sleeps inside the wreck, including a school of 15 Bumphead Parrotfish and two Hawksbill Turtles, wake up and head out to start their day.

 

Unfortunately, we were not lucky and did not get to see anything special on the dive. However, the freedom of a fun dive did allow for me to spend more time exploring the deeper areas of the wreck and take a variety of shots from new angles.

 

Even in the shallow waters where I have exhausted nearly all of the angles, I was finding that the early morning light allowed for different techniques. These included sunbursts and silhouettes.

 

Collection of Barrel sponges

Darkness in the wreck
Wreck and the sun

Wreck Silhouette

 

Bunutan by boat

 

This is the house reef for Bali Reef Divers and my favorite dive site in Amed. Although I have dived this site many times before, I have never had the opportunity to do it by boat. Usually we take a car to the beach of Bunutan village and then drift with the current and surface in front of the resort connected with Bali Reef Divers.

 

However, the site extends further than the resort, which is where the benefits of having a boat come in. The boat was able to drop us on the corner where the reef starts. From the shore it can take more than 5 minutes to get to this point. We then drifted over the parts of the reef which I always enjoy seeing and then into unexplored territory for me.

 

Bunutan is a site which is great for both big and small things. I had my macro lens on so of course we saw a very big Giant Puffer fish, and a massive Great Barracuda. Despite these disappointments I was able to take a few great macro shots including a baby boxfish, and some ribbon eels.

 

Cute Baby Boxfish

Single butterfly fish

Hermit Crab

Magnificent Chromodoris

 

Bunutan Night Dive

 

I am not usually a fan of night dives, they are cold, dark and you don’t see as much. This one was different.

 

Just as we started the decent my buddies were calling me over. I hadn’t even taken the cover off my lens, but it was for a good reason, a tiny painted frogfish.

 

This was just the start of an exciting 70 minutes. As soon as I was finished taking one picture my buddy was waiting to show me something else.

 

These included:

  • Many moray eels
  • Snake eels
  • Lionfish
  • Hermit crabs
  • Decorator crab
  • A baby Mantis shrimp
  • Durban dancing shrimps
  • Banded boxer shrimp
  • Box fish
  • Moon Snail
  • Too many Pleurobranches
  • Blue dragon
  • Flat worms
  • And two white tip reef sharks

 

I came out of the water claiming that this was my second best night dive. Only beaten by Magic pier in Bao Bao, South Sullawesi, Indonesia. I am defiantly now more willing to do night dives in Amed.

 

Small Painted Frog fish

Box fish at Night

Snake eel

Pleurobranch

 

Gili Selang Bay and Blue Rocks

 

Although I have been in Amed for more than a year I have never had the chance to dive some of the more challenging dive sites. The problem with these sites is that they can only be accessed by boat and are prone to very strong currents. These currents can come from all directions and therefore can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.

 

We planned to dive blue rocks first, but once on the boat the captain advised us that the current was going in the wrong direction. We continued passed Blue rocks to check out Gili Selang. As we approached the small island we could see the water bubbling on the seaward side.

 

We dropped in on the edge of the bubbling current and dived towards the coast line of Bali.

Here there was a gentle current which allowed for us to drift amongst the large healthy corals which covered the ocean floor. This is what I think of when someone says “coral garden”.

 

By the time we were ready for the second dive the current had changed and was going in the direction we wanted for diving blue rocks. The current was a little stronger on this dive and we flew over the first part of the site, before turning the corner where the current slowed.  The rocks in the first part of the dive site are covered with blue sponges and corals. This is where the site gets its name.

These sites are known for bringing in the bigger animals such as eagle rays and sharks, but we were unlucky and didn’t see any. There are still more sites in this area which I need to explore so maybe one day I will be lucky.

 

Blue rocks corals

Spiral whip coral

Gili Selang bay coral garden

Big coral in blue rocks

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