Gooooood morning divers!
So my two weeks on Gili Trawangan are over! After seeing and experiencing 15+ different dive sites, I did a few an extra time just because I enjoyed them so much!
I'm planning to travel back to Nusa Penida, more specifically: Nusa Lembongan. In this part of the blog you can read about:
Leaving the Gili Islands.
The Boat ride to Nusa Penida/ Lembongan.
The initial landing in Lembongan.
An impression of the diving scene.
the first 4 dives I've done on Nusa Lembongan.
Leaving the Gili Islands.
The Gili Islands were amazing. Not just me, but I feel anyone, from anywhere can enjoy these beautiful islands. There is enough to experience to accommodate every need. Whether it's diving, surfing, snorkeling, partying, or sunbathing!
The people are very friendly and will try to help (and sell) you anything you need.
The diving on the Gili's was mostly relaxing, without strong currents or challenging topography which will change in Nusa Lembongan. But more on that later :)
I have met some great people here, local and tourist alike who helped me develop my diving skills, website, and language and I very much appreciate that.
The Boat ride to Nusa Lembongan.
The next step was uncertain for a long time. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to Bali, Nusa Penida, another Gili Island, or somewhere different entirely. I decided to go back to Nusa Penida/ Lembongan because although I have been diving there recently, I still had many more sites to explore there.
To arrange the boat I had booked a transfer from Gili Trawangan earlier that week for 400.000 IDR ($30) to Nusa Penida. I didn't realize that diving is mostly done on the island of Lembongan, which is fine since there aren't many boats sailing to Nusa Lembongan directly.
After waiting almost 2 hours the boat finally came and we could load our gear and luggage on the boat. The ocean was pretty choppy and the boat ride was far from relaxed. However, there weren't many people on the boat so I could stretch my legs and just lay down for the ride!
This seemed like a good idea, but when the waves became larger, the boat started to "leak" from the side windows, dripping down on my head and I had no choice but to sit up straight, listening to vague music through a bad speaker. for 2 hours. After arriving in Nusa Penida our luggage got put on the beach and before I even had to ask for a transfer to Nusa Lembongan I was asked to go to Lembongan!
"Sure, let me get my bags". And we were off. For only 100.000IDR($7) we arranged our transfer and 5 minutes later we were on the boat. Off to Lembongan and another diving experience.
Initial Landing on Nusa Lembongan
Although I was hoping to get dropped off on the main beach we got dropped off on the other side of the island. Obviously no problem, but the porters, drivers, and "guides" of course were waiting on us as we landed.
You can get a transfer by scooter or car quite easy and cheap since the island isn't that large. I paid my driver 50.000 IDR($3,5) for a scooter ride which was VERY uncomfortable with a big bag on my back and another suitcase in front, going up and down relatively bad maintained roads.
After 10 minutes I got dropped off right in front of my stay, on the main road and immediately my bags were dropped in my room as I paid my driver.
An impression of the diving scene.
Nusa Penida as a diving scene is actually made up of 3 islands: Penida, Ceningan, and Lembongan.
The dive centers are mostly situated along the beach on Lembongan so I recommend anyone wanting to dive Nusa Penida, go to Lembongan.
There are roughly 12 dive sites dotted on the western coast of Nusa Penida and at least 10 more on the eastern side, but not frequented by many diving centers here. There are a few who are willing to accommodate you though if you ask them in advance. They can organize trips which will require a surcharge. Usually, this is 450.000 IDR ($35) per boat. More people mean less to pay per person of course.
Diving on Lembongan roughly costs 1.000.000 IDR ($70) per day (2 dives, including boat, crew, and small lunch). More frequent diving will bring the prices down a bit if discussed in advance.
The water around Nusa Penida is very dependent on currents from the south and north. This can make diving "challenging" and depending on the tide and season, some dive sites will even require very experienced divers. Most dives are drift dives, sometimes relaxed, sometimes as strong as 2 meters per second(!!!).
The First 4 dives.
Now it's important to know that Nusa Lembongan is famous for its MolaMola and even thresher sharks in season. MolaMola season starts in June and they prefer deeper, colder water mostly. Thresher sharks can best be seen in August/ September in early morning dives since they come up from 100-200 meters deep to the cleaning stations.
First Dive "Blue Corner": When I was making my inquiries about diving the dive center I chose told me they were planning on visiting "Blue Corner" which is THE famous site to see MolaMola besides Crystal Bay. After making sure I was experienced enough to do some "challenging" diving we agreed to meet the next day 5.30 AM to have a nice sunrise dive.
The dive site is very close to the beach. I had no idea what to expect as my dive guide said there could be some current. Little did I know we hit almost 1.5 meters per second that dive. Now I always enjoy drift diving for its challenges and opportunities to see something big and or rare.
After an almost negative entry (roll back and immediately descend). We dove down to 20 meters and we reached a "Corner". We went around the corner and then got swepped away by the currents. There is nothing really you can do but to maintain your buoyancy and breathing and stay close to the reef as possible. Unfortunately, we didn't see a MolaMola, but just a big, big marble ray chilling in the current. We did hear some dolphins on our safety stop but never met them.
Second Dive "Mangrove":
Mangrove is a bit further north and an absolutely beautiful drift dive to experience! We dropped down to around 20 meters and followed the sloping reef until we reached the beginning of "blue corner". The reef is full of life and the drift is nice and gentle.
The slope is roughly 1 kilometer long and took us 45 minutes only.
Third Dive "Ceningan Wall":
The next day we visited Ceningan Island. The island is situated just between Lembongan and Penida and is the smallest of the 3. The wall dive here is amazing. The dive site is suited for anyone, whether you dive at 15 meters or 40. The reef drops down to an amazing 300 meters deep in a VERY narrow canal, which makes it more impressive.
Fourth Dive "Toyapakeh":
This was our second dive of the day. After watching the currents evolve for 45 minutes we decided to go diving this amazing slope/wall dive. On a good day, you can see whale sharks here! We dropped to 30 meters immediately, where the dive starts as a wall dive, before soon turning into a sloping reef. In the end, you'll end up in a soft coral garden, healthier than you will ever see anywhere else I reckon. A must-do dive when visiting Lembongan!
Want to visit Gili Trawangan or Nusa Lembongan yourself? Book your stay and/or travel guide here!
Don't forget to check out the clips I've made below!