• delayed surface marker buoy

    Myth Busting Drift Diving in Bali

    How much do you really know about Drift Diving in Bali? Have you heard some of these misconceptions about diving in currents?

    Here we dispel and bust the most common myths about drift diving!

    1. Drift diving is only for experienced divers

    Myth Busted!  There are currents in all bodies of water everywhere on earth, so actually a huge percentage of divers learn to dive as beginners in drifts! Drift diving isn’t a more ‘difficult’ type of diving, it’s just a different type of diving. Just as you need to plan any dive, and follow basic principles, the same applies to drift diving. Plan your dive and dive your plan!

    If you haven’t dived in drifts before and are exploring a new area with currents, you should be given a briefing before the dive in which any special procedures are explained. Listen carefully to briefings and if you are not sure about anything, ASK!!

    If you are planning to go drift diving we recommend that you brush up on your buoyancy skills if it’s been a while since your last dives. Buoyancy control is extremely important so you can avoid making contact with the reef and stay close to your buddies during your drift dives.

     

    drift diving bali
    All bodies of water are affected by currents, and drift diving can be enjoyed by divers of all experience levels.
    1. Drift Diving is Physically Challenging

    Not True!! Drift diving is the opposite – it’s actually the lazy way to dive because very little swimming is involved! Drift diving literally means diving with the drift or going with the flow.

    The main technique in drift diving is to establish neutral buoyancy and then allow the current to move you along while you simply relax and enjoy the show!

    1. Drift diving means you have to swim into the current

    No, absolutely not true. In drift diving, we dive with the current (see above) which means that we do not try to return to our entry point at the end of the dive. Drift diving opens up opportunities to explore new dives sites which are only possible to dive as drifts because swimming back into the current is not practical. On Nusa Lembongan, we dive from boats so that you can go with the drift and the boat will collect you from where you finish your dive.

     

    Jukung Balinese World Diving
    Drift diving is as easy as going with the flow and our experienced boat crew collect divers at the end of their dives
    1. Drift diving is scary

    Not with a proper briefing! If a diver is not familiar with currents and they are not given a briefing then yes, drift diving could be a scary experience – the same as any situation which you were not expecting. A thorough briefing and instructions equip divers with what they need to know, what to expect, and reduces anxiety.

    1. You can’t drift dive from a boat

    Drift diving from a boat is the best way to drift dive! Our team of boat captains and crew are trained in drift diving boat procedures which include tracking divers’ bubbles underwater and looking out for delayed surface marker buoys. These procedures enable the boat crew to maneuver the boat to the divers’ exact pickup point.

    It is also possible to make drift dives from shore in some areas but you will need adequate supervision on land to track your dive and meet you at your entry point.

     

    drift diving DSMB
    A deployed delayed surface marker buoy enables our boat crew to spot divers before they even surface
    1. You need special equipment to drift dive

    False! Drift diving requires standard dive equipment plus a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB). A DSMB allows you to deploy your surface marker buoy prior to surfacing because it is attached to a reel or cord. For most divers, a signaling device is part of their standard equipment. All World Diving Divemasters and Instructors carry all essential items and additional spare gear so you do not need to have your own when diving here.

    1. You have to make a negative entry and fast descent when drift diving

    Myth Busted! When diving along the north coast of Nusa Penida we have kilometers of stunning coastline and reef to drift dive. There is no need to make a negative entry and a fast descent because you will not miss the dive site. In some areas,  when diving on a small submerged site or when trying to reach an exact point, a negative entry may be required but this is usually not the case around Bali.

     

    Diving Nusa Penida
    Diving in Nusa Penida from Big Boat – kilometers of reef to drift dive
    1. You don’t see as much when you are drift diving.

    Not True! When you are drift diving you see even more! Imagine riding a bicycle uphill for an hour versus going downhill. You will cover much more distance when going downhill because you don’t get tired – and this is exactly the same as diving in drift! The current moves you along rather than you expending energy which means you cover a greater distance and you don’t have to turn around at halfway and swim back – you continue in the same direction for the duration of your dive. If you want to see as much as possible, then drift diving is the way to do it!

    1. All diving around Bali and Lembongan is drift diving

    False! There are two factors that affect if a dive is a drift dive or not: the location and geography of a site, and the tides and phases of the moon.

    Not all sites are drift sites:

    Several of our sites are not drift sites because of their geographical location, some examples of these include Lembongan Bay and our House Reef, Manta Point, and Manta Bay. These sites are positioned in coves which are unaffected by the main current flow due to the shape of the reef and positioning of nearby landmasses.

    Not all drift sites always have currents:

    Our main drift sites have variable currents from no current at all through to faster drifts. The moon phase affects the tidal differences which affect currents. Around the time of full moon, there is the biggest difference between high tide and low tide which means between these two times a large body of water is moving a greater distance, so it moves faster. During neap tides, there is very little difference between high tide and low tide so the tidal exchange is very low meaning much less, to no current.

    Diving on or around high tide and low tide at any time during the lunar phase will result in much less current as the tidal exchange is mostly static. This gives us the ability to time our dive trips according to when conditions are best, unlike operators on Bali who are limited by their trip logistics and need to dive at the same time each day regardless of tides.

     

    diving bali
    Manta Bay and Manta Point are located in coves along the south coast of Nusa Penida

    Diving Techniques for Currents

    Here are a few tips to help you on your next dives:

    1. Stay behind your group leader, if you find yourself in front, wait and allow the leader to catch up and take the lead again
    2. Stay close to the reef where the currents are not as strong
    3. Try not to kick. Establish neutral buoyancy and allow the current to do the work!
    4. Stay close to your buddy
    5. Plan your dives carefully or request a thorough briefing if the planning is being handled for you
    6. Shallow up as you progress through the dive
    7. Check your air frequently and head to your safety stop at 70 bar.
    8. Surface using a delayed surface marker buoy.
    9. Have fun and enjoy the ride!!

     

    drift diving bali
    Enjoy going with the flow around Nusa Lembongan!

    Takeaway Drift Tip…

    If you are diving in an area that is known to have currents you have the opportunity to experience some phenomenal diving. To ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your dives, choose a reputable operator, and insist on a briefing before each dive. We have over 20 years of diving experience in this region and our team has made thousands of dives at our dive sites. This local knowledge and experience allow us to plan our dives and optimize comfort and safety.

    You can also get prepared for your dives in advance by working on your buoyancy skills or taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course. If you want to fully understand and master drift diving, take the PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course, or, if you are an Open Water diver, sign up for your PADI Advanced Open Water Course.

    If you plan on taking the Advanced Open Water Course here in Nusa Lembongan, we recommend taking drift diving and peak performance buoyancy as two of the optional dives included in your course.

    If you have any questions about diving around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, contact us or send us an email! We would love to hear from you and our team is on hand to help!

    We hope to welcome you soon to diving in Nusa Lembongan!

     

     

  • Why Go Diving on Nusa Lembongan with Manta Rays?

    Manta Point Nusa Penida

     

    We are extremely fortunate that our tiny island of Nusa Lembongan, just off the coast of Bali is a short boat ride away from not one but two manta ray dive sites: Manta Point and Manta Bay

    Manta Point is where we see all sorts of manta-tastic action, from feeding and cleaning through to mating trains of up to 20 manta rays swooping and banking overhead. Manta Bay is where we tend to see smaller manta rays feeding in shallower depths, which is consistent with it being a ‘nursery’ site. Between these two epic Nusa Penida dive sites, you’ll see the full spectrum of manta ray behavior!

     

    manta Point Nusa Penida
    Dramatic scenery surrounds Manta Point on Nusa Penida

    Seeing a manta ray while diving is an incredible moment and one that’s on many scuba divers’ bucket lists. The more you know and understand about manta rays, the more impressive and exciting your sightings will be… so here are some of our favourite manta ray facts to get you started:

    Manta Ray Facts

    • “Manta” is Spanish for “cloak” which refers to their large blanket-shaped bodies.
    • Manta rays evolved from stingrays but unlike other stingray species, mantas do not have a stinging spine. They are completely harmless.
    • They have a large brain relative to their body size in comparison to other sharks and rays.
    • Because of their enormous size, the only known predators of manta rays are large sharks and humans.

     

    Manta feeding
    Manta rays look as though they have horns, but it’s actually their feeding (cephalic) fins rolled up
    • Manta rays look like they have horns but these are actually large fins which they use to direct plankton into their mouths when they are feeding. When they are not feeding, they roll up the fins which result in the horn-like appearance.
    • Manta rays feed on plankton and occasionally on very small fish. They are filter feeders and do not have teeth for biting or chewing.
    • Manta rays such as those found along the south coast of Nusa Penida are reef manta rays and they average 3 – 5 meters from wing-tip to wing-tip.
    • Reef manta rays stay in the same area for long periods of time but they have also been recorded traveling from spot to spot. Did you know that some of our Nusa Penida manta rays have been spotted in Komodo?!
    • Reef manta rays can swim up to 24km per hour (estimated escape speed)
    • Female manta rays give birth to a single pup every two to five years. Their gestation period is believed to be around a year long.

     

    nusa penida manta
    Reef mantas usually measure between 3 and 5 meters from wing-tip to wing-tip.

    Why Is It More Important to Dive With Manta Rays Now?

     

    During COVID-19, like most of the world, Bali has been under lockdown for many months, which meant no diving. You may be asking why this is a problem but divers acting as citizen scientists play a huge part in helping marine scientists to learn and understand more about manta rays and other ‘marine megafauna’ species, including the ocean sunfish or mola.

    The markings on the underside of a manta ray (spots, shadows, lines, blotches etc) are unique to each individual manta ray, much like a human fingerprint. Scuba divers and underwater photographers are encouraged to become citizen scientists and take pictures of the manta rays markings to submit to Marine Megafauna Foundation or upload to the Manta Matcher database.

     

    reef manta
    The markings on the underside of a manta ray are unique, like a human fingerprint.

    The unique markings on manta rays allow scientists to identify individual rays and to track where and how far they travel, estimate population abundance, examine their life history and reproductive ecology, determine spatial and temporal movement patterns, identify localized habitat usage and study patterns of natural predation and body scarring. Photography can also provide information on population decline in threatened regional populations, which is essential in the development of effective conservation and management strategies. The more we know about a population, the better it can be protected*.

    Dr. Andrea Marshall, co-founder and principal scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation said:

    “Initiatives like Manta Matcher reveal how much more we can achieve when we break down traditional barriers in science and invite people from all walks of life to participate in studies of our natural world. Collaborative wildlife studies will lead to hard hitting global conservation solutions”.

    Of course though, due to COVID-19 there are now almost 5 months of missing data and information…. which we hope to be able to help get back on track as soon as possible!!

     

    Lembongan
    Nusa Lembongan’s island economy has been hit hard by the COVID shutdown

    Why Nusa Lembongan Island Needs Divers Too

     

    Like many small island communities around the world whose economy is largely dependent on tourism and scuba diving, Nusa Lembongan has been hit by widespread unemployment as local businesses have closed. Unlike in developed countries where governments have put into place furlough schemes, benefits and financial support for those who are out of work due to COVID, there is no comparable equivalent in Indonesia.

    There are literally hundreds of charities, organizations and crowdfunding campaigns for mainland Bali but Nusa Lembongan does not have the same tourism numbers as Bali – we are a very small island where unfortunately the cost of living is higher than on the mainland due to all resources needing to be shipped here.

    Further compounding the problem is Lembongan’s extremely dry micro-climate which makes it impossible to grow rice and many of the other staple fruits and vegetables which are produced on the mainland, where those in rural areas can be self-sufficient.

     

    nusa lembongan
    Enjoy Nusa Lembongan on land as well as underwater!

     

    How You Can Help

    Come and see us when tourism re-opens! You’ll have an amazing diving experience, AND you’ll be playing a huge part in helping to regenerate the economy on the island. If you’re an underwater photographer you can become a citizen scientist and start capturing pictures of manta rays too! If you can’t travel yourself please recommend Nusa Lembongan to others!

    Latest Travel News

    The Governor of Bali has announced that Bali will be open again for international tourism from September 11th which is when we hope the free tourist visa on arrival will be reinstated!

    We understand that there are many islands around the world that are facing similar problems and if you do travel this year, wherever you go, you’ll be helping local communities at a time when they need it most – and we thank you for traveling!!

    If you’d like more information about diving Nusa Lembongan, taking a PADI course with us, PADI eLearning or to make a tentative booking please contact us on [email protected]

     

    *Marine Megafauna Foundation website

  • Penida Manta Point Bali

    The Mantas are Back!

    manta solo manta PADI

    After a few weeks of absence our wonderful manta rays are back in full force.  After an extended period of big swells which kept us away from Batu Lumbung, Manta Point,  we ventured down the coast yesterday.  The waves were still crashing against the rocks on the way down, and recent reports had been not hopeful, so we did not know what to expect when we went over the side!

    We were not disappointed.  They were every where and had obviously regained their joie de vivre!  They were chasing, swirling, cleaning and even playing peek a boo with the divers behind the corals!  It still blows me away when I turn around and find a manta has snuck up behind me and is inches away with a huge grin on its face.

    After an hour of diving with these gorgeous creature it was time for us to get back on big boat.  We were all reluctant to leave and will be back as soon as possible as the sea is calm for the next few days.

    Why don’t you join us?

    Manta Ray, Manta Point Bali
    Manta Ray, Manta Point Bali