Discovering Marine Beauty in Bali
With lush forests to explore, beautiful beaches to lounge on, terraced rice fields to hike, and active volcanoes to climb, the Indonesian island of Bali is a must-visit location for many travelers that want to explore a tropical island.
And it isn’t just the island itself that is full of beauty. The waters surrounding the island are home to a diverse range of marine life. Those with snorkeling and diving experience could spend an entire trip just exploring the waters!
Thinking about an underwater adventure in Bali? Here’s what you need to know!
Planning a trip to Bali
When it comes to planning a snorkeling or diving trip to Bali, be mindful of the season. April through October is the dry season; this is the ideal time for a trip because waters will be calm and underwater visibility will be better.
The rainy season is from November through March. Humidity is higher and precipitation throughout the day is normal. While it is possible to go snorkeling or diving during the rainy season, rain causes decreased visibility. Mosquitos are also more common during the rainy season. However, this is an ideal time of the year if you prefer dealing with rain instead of crowds.
Getting close with Mola Mola
Mola Molas are giant oceanic sunfish that live in Bali all year long, but they prefer living down in the deep, cold waters of Nusa Penida. However, from the end of June until early November, the water temperatures drop and the Mola Mola fish swim closer to the surface to sunbathe or to get rid of parasites. Sometimes, they even leap out of the water!
Mola Molas are timid and scare easily. Divers need to remain still around them or the fish will swim away. Unfortunately, Nusa Penida is a diving location that is only recommended for experienced divers because of the strong currents.
Swimming with sharks
There are sharks to be found at some of the dive locations—the most common type of sharks found are reef sharks and hammerheads, both of which are relatively harmless. Those that want to purposefully want to swim with sharks should head to Gili Selang. Reef sharks can also sometimes be found at Anchor Wreck, a dive location protected from the open sea.
Gili Selag is a small rocky island off the coast of Bali. Large aquatic animals, including hammerhead sharks and reef sharks, can be found here. Currents around the island are very strong, so previous experience with diving and a local guide are recommended.
Plenty of fish in coral reefs
There are coral reefs aplenty off the shores of Bali, perfect for both beginners and experienced divers. Beginning divers should head to the Blue Lagoon, where plenty of coral and critters live in calm waters. Colorful coral is home to octopi and other amazing animals. Occasionally, sea turtles and harmless reef sharks can also be spotted here.
More advanced divers will want to head to Blue Corner. This location is considered a deep dive and is full of strong currents. In addition to the beautiful coral, there are both small reef fish and larger aquatic animals (such as rays) that live here.
Enjoying Manta Rays
While smaller species of rays can be found throughout Bali, magnificent manta rays can only be found at a few locations. Sometimes they can be spotted in the waters of Nusa Penida. Even beginner snorkelers can safely see the manta rays if they go with a guide.
However, if you don’t feel like diving or snorkeling to see manta rays, you can instead visit Manta Point or Manta Bay. Both of these locations are accessible by boat and the manta rays stay near the surface of the water. Depending on weather conditions, it is also possible to go diving at these locations as well.
Respecting natural environments
No matter if you choose to snorkel, dive, view from a boat, or view from the shore, remember to respect the natural environment of the marine animals. Ocean pollution, hunting, and rising water temperatures are harming more and more marine life every day.
Make sure never to touch an animal unless the guide tells you that it is okay. If you are given the okay to pick up a shell in the water, make sure to return it to the location you found it after examining it—that shell could be playing an important role in the ecosystem. And, never throw food into the water unless given the okay from a local guide.
Whenever you go for a swim in Bali, you will share the water with thousands of different species. Bright colored coral, small colorful reef fish, larger fish such as the Mola Mola, manta rays, sea turtles, reef sharks, and more. Different snorkeling and diving locations will have different animals, so choose your location carefully.