Off the southeastern coast of Bali, Nusa Penida Island offers a number of dive sites. One of the most famous is Manta Point, a bay with cliff walls. As its name indicates, it’s famous for its resident reef manta population. The odds of seeing these gentle giants here are high all year. The site can be quite busy in peak season from June to September.
The main point of interest on Manta Point is the cleaning station, a shallow underwater mount where cleaner fish remove parasites from the mantas. On a good day, divers can see several big reef mantas while hovering at the bottom of the station in 30 to 40 feet (10 to 12 m). Mantas here are quite curious about divers here. If you stay still and out of their way, they may swim right above or next to you.
Heading towards the south of the bay and down the sloping reef, you will find a sandy area around 60 to 65 feet (18 to 20 m). Here you can usually see several blue-spotted stingrays. As you shallow up, the reef changes into big rock blocks up to around 16 feet (5 m). This makes it perfect for a safety stop while watching the resident reef fish. If you head north of the cleaning station and along the cliff outside of the bay, you will find a drop-off at around 65 feet (20 m). This area is for experienced divers only.
There’s plenty to see other than just mantas. You might also spot a bamboo shark, octopus, turtles, various nudibranchs and mantis shrimp or other small critters. So even if mantas decide not to show up, there is plenty to see.
The waves break against the cliff, so depending on the swell there can be surge. Swell aside, there’s usually little or no current inside the bay.