Tuesday 3 April 2018

Nothing else mantas when you're in Nusa

Number one on my dive bucket list was to dive with manta rays, and this weekend it finally came true.

Making the most of the easter weekend, Phil and I spent 4 nights on Nusa Lembongan which is a stone's throw from Bali's main island. Most of Friday was spent traveling but were able to arrive at our beautiful Sukanusa Luxury Hut before sundown and scope out our little bit of the island. 

We had pre-booked two days of diving with Legend Diving as they came highly recommended on trip advisor. We had a fantastic local guide and went with a lovely Swedish couple who were also AOW PADIs.

The main dive spot for manta rays is Manta Point, but the guide had said they'd been no sightings there for three days so we were to hedge our bets at Manta Bay instead. This was great as it meant Manta Bay was relatively quiet when we arrived. 

We descended down to 20 metres and saw one manta at the surface. It was incredible but such a brief sighting so I was pretty disappointed to think that was all we would see. It turns out I shouldn't have given up hope, as once we were back on the boat we saw a big black fin cutting through the water, then another, then another. We grabbed our masks, jumped back into the ocean and suddenly a few centimetres in front of us were huge, three-metre manta rays. There must have been three or four of them and they kept circling around to swim right up to us before ducking down. It was surreal and one of the most magical moments of my life. I honestly have to keep reminding myself that it was real.

That evening we went out for dinner with the Swedish couple we met diving. It was fun but impossible trying to find any nightlife - it's definitely more of a chilled family place rather than the backpacker vibe of Gili T or Seminyak.

We had two more dives booked for the next day which were stunning. No more mantas but endless coral reefs and numerous turtles and fish. The coral around Nusa was some of the most colourful we've seen and it was good to see such a healthy reef compared to a lot of bleaching we've seen on other recent dives. 

The island is fairly small so we rented bicycles and headed to Mushroom Bay to meet the Swedes and proceeded to drink the bar dry until the early hours. They're traveling around Asia with plans for Singapore next week, so I'm thrilled we get to see them again so soon!

Our final day was spent eating everything there was to offer at Indiana Kenanga (a delicious French restaurant on the beach) and nursing our hangovers. The ocean breaks far out at low tide so the sunset and reflection was absolutely stunning.

Altogether an epic holiday to remember. Nusa Lembongan is a peaceful paradise and an absolute must for any diver who wants to see some gentle giant manta rays.