Bali, 2009







Trip dates:

14 23 August 2009

Boat / resort:

Mimpi Menjangan, Tulamben Wreck Villas and Sri Phala in Sanur.

Dive centre:

Blue Season Bali.


Blue Season understands well the needs of UW photographers, but the truth is, its not easy. We did not find ourselves lodging close to entry points in any of the three locations. The story in Tulamben is particularly curious, see below.

Number of dives:

2 in Menjangan, 3 in Pemuteran, 7 in tulamben and 5 around Nusa Penida and Lembongan.

Diving conditions:

Warm and clear, except towards the end of the trip in Penida, where we had some rain. Water temperature 28C in Menjangan, Pemuteran and Tulamben, 23C in Nusa Penida. No currents, good visibility, 20 to 25 m save in Seraya, south of Tulamben.


Carmen and I selfishly went on this 3-location safari in Bali while Paul had to stay home working. We discussed at length and arranged all with Blue Season, very helpful people. They took care of everything from their centre in Sanur, including transfers. I have just one complaint; their guy in Menjangan was a very nice person, but not exactly a great dive master. He was clearly freelancing and had no real infrastructure. The sea was just a bit choppy in Menjangan but he did not let us dive the good site of the island. The dives in Pemuteran were hilarious, from a tiny local boat with barely enough room to sit the three of us plus the local fisherman hired on the spot at the beach. We felt we had missed the chance of really appreciating that part of Bali. Thankfully, we spoiled ourselves rotten with a suite with private pool at the Mimpi resort thanks to a freely offered upgrade! The place is a dream, there are hot wells on the property. We had our own natural hot stone tub besides the plunge pool. Unforgettable.

In Tulamben, they lodged us at large villas a couple of km north of the village. They were magnificent, with fully open seating room and kitchens around a 4-guestroom arrangement, all facing the sea beyond a lovely garden with palms and a pool. Trouble was, they wanted us to take scooters to drive to and from the dive centre. Carmen did not really feel like it and could in no case drive me. I simply could not envisage driving the thing while carrying my camera gear, and I was not ready to leave everything at the dive centre, I needed to change lenses and batteries, download pics, etc. We ended up being driven, each of us, by local guys on respective scooters (or one at a time by one guy). I took to thinking about all the people who think diving is dangerous! I was terrified sitting behind these guys on a flimsy scooter, running up and down gravel-covered steep slopes, while carrying the hugy and the rest of the shebang on my lap. Now I can laugh at the memory.

The Wreck dive was superb, but with a bit of surge and football-size slippery boulders on entry and exit, it is no mean feat to get in the water with your dive tank and camera gear. We could see diver legs from the beach every time, people falling on their bums and not being able to get up and get out. Happily, the locals and dive masters were there to help. Ours helped us get our dive kit on at the beach, then walked us in, then ran back to bring my camera, then get himself suited. With practice, we managed to do entries and exits in about 10 minutes. But the dive fully deserves it. You need to dive the Liberty very early, before the day buses from Denpasar bring the hordes.

We also dove Serayas Secret, by express request. Only to find whoever spotted the harlequin shrimps reserves them to the beach hotel guests and nobody else, so being with a non-resident DM, we did not get to see them. One more lost attempt at the critter, which is now at the highest in my wish list. Funny (not) how rare animals become commercial property of centres and dive masters.

Then, we ended in Sanur, at a silly hotel but nice diving around Nusa Penida. We were finally lucky. They had seen Mola Molas in previous days, but not many and only when the water went below 18C. I was dead scared of the cold. But in the end, we had dives with half a dozen of them around and balmy 23C water. Very very cool. The Manta cleaning station was also full with Mantas, but with a horrible surge, shooting them was almost impossible.

On our last day, we visited the Island temples, went to see traditional dancing and had a blast around Sanur. Too bad Bali is so touristy, but we had a great time, all in all. You can see a gallery of topside images here.


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