Nusa Lembongan Diving
At Nusa Lembongan, divers can revel in swift currents while novice divers can relax in sheltered bays. Cool waters reveal the extraordinary oceanic sunfish as sandy depths hide the elusive frogfish and platoons of manta ray glide past.
Diving in Nusa Lembongan
About thirty minutes boat ride from the south-east of Bali lies the Nusa Islands. Nusa Lembongan, the second largest of the three sister islands, is famous for its chilled out atmosphere, stunning vistas and white sand beaches. While scuba diving in Nusa Lembongan, you’ll find vibrant, healthy reefs with abundant marine life ranging from the incredible oceanic sunfish and manta ray to the unassuming frogfish.
Due to its location in the Lombok Strait, some of Nusa Lembongan's dive sites are usually reserved for more experienced divers as currents can be strong and often unpredictable. However, there are a number of sheltered bays around the islands that are ideal for novice divers as well as underwater photographers.
Most of the dive sites are situated around Nusa Penida and Ceningan yet, Lembongan’s island charm is the ideal location to kick back and relax in one of the island's dive resorts. A number of dive centres line the beach-front while if you’re not planning to get sandy toes, scuba diving in Nusa Lembongan can be accessed by one of the many visiting liveaboards - where your new home will be the ocean!
Best time to dive
From May to September it is peak season in Nusa Lembongan when the island is it's driest and busiest. If there’s a time to avoid scuba diving in Nusa Lembongan, it's the height of the rainy season in January and February where surface conditions can be rougher otherwise, Nusa Lembongan has ideal conditions for scuba diving.
Year-round, manta rays patrol the waters while the best time to see mola mola is between the beginning of July to the end of October. There are still sightings outside these months, but generally, they are less frequent and divers will have to be a lot luckier to greet the prehistoric creature.
Types of diving
As the currents coming through the Lombok Strait and past the islands can be quite strong, a large majority of the dive sites offer fantastic drift diving. If you are a less experienced diver, there are many protected bays such as at sites like Lembongan Bay, where you can dive in shallow and calm conditions while uncovering macro marine life. These tranquil sites are also perfect for night dives and dive courses.
At Ceningan Wall, located in the Ceningan channel, you can descend down to 30-metres for an adrenaline-pumping dive in a strong drift and tricky down currents. Here, there’s a rare opportunity to see a leopard shark standing out against the incredible hard and soft coral cover. The Bat Cave is another unique experience, where divers can witness bats sleeping on the surface of the cavern before entering underwater through a sandy channel.
What to see
At 10 metres deep, Nusa Lembongan diving offers a coral coverage of 74%. Combine this with the cold thermoclines that invite pelagics out from the deep and silty seabeds decorated with macro critters and the Nusa Islands are a scuba divers dream.
With manta rays inhabiting all-year-round, divers have a high chance to dive with these graceful creatures on plateaus while visiting in the right season will find you in the presence of the fantastic oceanic sunfish basking in the cooler water. In drift dives, it’s possible to see the likes of giant trevally, schools of dogtooth tuna, Napoleon wrasse and barracuda cruising in the blue water as sea turtles glide along gentle sloping reefs. Perhaps you’ll even spot a whale shark or a leopard shark admiring the stunning underwater scenery.
In protected bays and sloping coral reefs, delight in discovering nudibranch, crabs, and shrimps hiding in the vast array of hard and soft coral while reef fish circle overhead. Keen-eyed divers will spot mantis shrimp, leaf fish, dragonets and frogfish sheltering from strong currents.
Best places to dive
Blue Corner, situated just off Lembongan’s shore, is an exciting dive for experienced divers only. Drift along current swept slopes while looking out into the blue for mola mola, eagle rays, huge marble rays, wobbegong shark and huge schools of tuna. Another site located in Lembongan is Mangroves. Named after its placement right by the mangrove area this dive offers adrenaline-pumping currents with giant marble rays and sharks.
At the north end of Ceningan Channel, find Toypakeh, as a site where you can swim with a myriad of colourful reef fish. Explore the bay, dotted with coral bommies, with red tooth triggerfish, giant trevallies and batfish while the oceanic sunfish and frogfish have also been spotted here. Another chance to see the enormous sunfish can be found at Crystal Bay or if you want to see more of the ‘small stuff’, head to Lembongan Bay to discover leaf fish and nudibranch only 10-metres deep.