Nusa Penida is a 22km by 16km small island right in the middle of the Lombok stream. Nearly 2 milion cubic meters per second are streaming to the south. On your way to Nusa Penida the ocean will look like a hill landscape even when it is dead calm. Those huge amplitudes feed the surfing beaches around Kuta with impressive waves.
The Balinese mythology knows Nusa Penida as the stronghold of a mighty evil deamon. In the past it was an exile island for pirates and bandits. The north coast will please you with paradise palm beaches that are not so common for Bali. The south is a nearly 100m high rocky cliff.
Shame on me that I have not put one feet on Nusa Penida and its smaller fellow islands Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan in the time there but I am sure it would offer enough to explore for many vacations. Temples, caves, mangrove forests, subterran sweetwater lakes, endemic wildlife and who knows what else.
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For all dive spots besides Manta Point the drift is key. It is the reason to find big fish. Watch out durring your drift dives if you do not plan for the Anktarktis as your next stop!
The stream divides itself in the north of the island. The exact point is not fixed and the drift on both sides is strong and unpredictable. You will also encounter vertical drifts pulling you down. You will want to have an experienced serious guide as Avandy or Kade from BIDP. A small but highly professional dive base that offers the best guidance and service. They also have the best boat in Sanur.
Nusa Penida is one of the best spots on earth to meet the bizzare Mola Mola or Sunfish. The Mola Mola is a deepwater fish feeding from jellyfish at around 300m depth. Around Nusa Penida it benefits from the could streams in the north coming up from below 1000m. The Mola Mola (Tetraodontidae) grows up to 3 meters in size and one ton in weight. The water temperature on the surface is around comfortable 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. Prepare for a drop below 20 degrees after you passed the termoclines around 20m. You want to pass those because you are heading to the deep cleaning stations where Mola Molas get their treatment between July to September. The best time is full moon or new moon at the turning points of tides. The best spots are along the Ceningan channel (Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, Toyapakeh) and Blue Corner in Lembongan. A beatifull and demanding dive spot. It is deep and you will probably meet a four knot stream.
The typical Crystal Bay entry starts end ends close to some huge coral blocks. One is shaped as a huge mushroom. After you pass a coral field that reminds you of an overfull aquarium the cliff will drop steeper and steeper down to 50m. This is where the Mola Molas wait for their treatment.
On the north side is a small bat cave. The entrance at around 10m leads to the great hall where you can see the bats. There is an opening in the ceiling.]