Nusa Penida is a great little island off of Bali, roughly a 20 minute or so ride from Sanur via boat, and packed with fantastic dive sites! Crystal Bay has seasonal Mola Mola, Manta Point is a Manta Ray cleaning station, and Toypakyeh is a great introduction to drift diving. Two of my favourite sites though are SD and Ped, a set of drift dives along the western shores of the island. The shore has small villages interspaced within vibrant palm trees, with local mariculture pens strewn out before them. The dives are fantastic drifts over a vibrant and healthy reef.
Both SD and Ped share the same characteristics, making them easy to describe together! The water is typical of Balinese dives, hovering around the 25˚C mark, and the bottom gently slopes downwards from the shore before beginning a sharp plunge into the deep. Depending on your dive plan, you could easily exceed 25m (I did!) and really get an eyeful of untouched reef! The dives are moderate speed drift dives, with live boating pick up and observation. The vis, even in the rainy season, is phenomenal! The bottom is carpeted with various corals, so good buoyancy is key to making this a successful dive!
These dives are a photographers or videographers dream. Literally hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates inhabit the reef. Photo potential is through the roof and the current gently pushes you along at an ideal speed for video work! A full battery and big memory card are key if you're diving these reefs, because you'll exhaust one before the other for sure. Keep your eyes pealed for Hawksbill Sea Turtles to, a they've been known to frequent the reef and frustrate photographers, like myself, by casually swimming away against the current while you try to snap a shot!
SD and Ped are beginner to intermediate level dives, and are thoroughly enjoyable at higher levels as well. With an abundance of life and great multilevel dive potential, these dive sites have a lot to offer divers. If you're in Bali and have the time, these dives are well worth the time and can be done together or after a trip to Crystal Bay or Manta Point!
Photos and Video by: Graeme A. Barber 2010