The famed dive site Crystal Bay is tucked into the coast of Nusa Penida, a small island east of Bali, Indonesia. The beautiful little bay is named for its crystal-clear waters. The view itself is worth a trip for the white-sand beach and luxuriant vegetation. A very small island stands inside the bay itself and serves as the organizational point for the dive.
Diving Crystal Bay
The dive can start either in the bay or along the reef of the tiny island in the bay. The choice will depend largely on currents. They can be very strong in the area and specifically on this dive site. Crystal Bay sits opposite the neighboring island of Nusa Ceningan. The channel between the two islands is notorious for strong currents, depending on the tidal movements.
The bay itself offers a sandy area in the middle and stunning coral reefs on its fringes. The sandy area features good macro life such as nudibranchs, crabs, shrimps and cuttlefish. Once out of the bay, the reef drops down along the islet. If conditions are right, you can go all the way around. Soft and hard corals cover the wall, with fish life including tuna, butterflyfish, parrotfish, clownfish, scorpionfish and many more.
But the star of the show during the “cold” season, and the dive site’s main draw, is the mola mola. From June to October, the waters around the island get considerably colder and mola mola seem to enjoy this upwelling of freshness. You can see this curious-looking fish all around Nusa Penida, but encounters are most frequent at Crystal Bay. While cruising the wall, lucky divers may suddenly see this huge animal coming up from the depths. Molas come here to get cleaned by wrasses or to breach the surface before disappearing again into the depths. Note that currents can be very strong and proper experience is vital at this site.
Average water temperature: 79 to 82 F (26-28 C) from November to May and 64 to 75 F (18 to 24 C) from June to October
Average visibility: 65 feet (20-plus m)
When to go: Year-round, but mola-molas are more frequent from June to October
Average depth: 65 feet (20 m)