Nusa Lembongan is a very small island in the south of Bali. It can be easily reached by ferry from Sanur in only 30 minutes.
After Tulamben we drove back to Sanur and the next day we headed to Lembongan.
Reason why I wanted to go there, besides having heard it is a beautiful island perfect to chill out, was because until then I had never ever seen a Manta Ray!!
There is a dive site close to the island called Manta Point and it is almost guaranteed to see a Manta Ray every dive. I was craving for seeing a Manta. I had only seen it in pictures and videos or heard stories from other divers. I always seemed not to be in the right place when Mantas were seen.
I remember last year in Pulau Weh coming back from a dive, a group of divers saw five mantas and we didn’t even see the shadow of them! (and we were in the same dive site!).
Dom was lucky to see a few when he was working on one of the liveaboards in Koh Lipe, now I wanted to see them. Or at least one. It was also still Mola Mola season (Sun Fish) and there was good chances to spot them here.
After a short ferry ride we arrived in Nusa Lembongan and headed straight to Drift Divers, a dive shop that was recommended to us by a couple of diving instructors we met in Pulau Weh, and booked the dives for the next day.
It was October and low season so there was not many divers around, but the owner of the dive shop agreed to take us to Manta Point and Crystal Bay (this one is the dive site for Mola Mola). Awesome all sorted!
Now we needed accommodation which wasn’t difficult to find since a friend of the shop owner sorted us out with a room at a very cute resort on the beach called Linda Bungalows and a motorbike. We had a room at the top of the building with awesome views over the surf brake.
Massive waves could be seen every day with brave surfers riding them. We learned later that that particular surf spot is called “Laceration Point”, only for the very experienced surfers.
The beaches of Nusa Lembongan are being used as seaweed farms. The locals work hard to grow and harvest seaweed which is then sent to the main cities or exported internationally to make beauty and health products.
The locals, mainly the elderly population, work very hard in the seaweed farms, all day long. If they are not harvesting with their feet in the water, they are sorting out the crops sitting under the hot sun.
The next morning we woke up nice and early to join the dive trip. I was very excited but I tried not to expect too much since I might have been out of luck again.
After about a 30 minutes boat ride we got to the dive site, Manta Point. Our guide told us we were going to stay shallow, max 10 meters and look for Mantas.
We hit the water and descended. The water was quite refreshing, about 22C. It was the coldest I have ever been diving! Dom and I were wearing two wetsuits and it still felt quite chilling. After about 15 minutes into the dive one Manta passed over our heads.
That was it, I thought. Finally I saw a Manta and I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be (maybe I was disappointed cause it was only one and it passed by rather quickly!). Then another… and nothing else. I was almost disappointed now but then… I couldn’t believe my eyes! Six of them (I mean S I X!) all together came towards us and just danced and played on top of our heads for about twenty minutes!!
That was absolutely magical, awesome and almost unreal. I was there, at last, with these beautiful creatures. It was overwhelming and I was so happy I could experience it with Dom. There we were Dom, I, another diver, our guide and six Mantas. An exclusive treat, I’d say. I was happy.
When we ended the dive and went back to the surface, we noticed at least another five boats but none of the divers saw the Mantas. That was a lucky dip!
We headed to Crystal Bay and half hour into the dive we spotted a Mola Mola. Unfortunately it was quite far away, but at least we saw it. It was an amazing lucky day! We didn’t do any more dives afterwards. We were happy to have seen what we had come to see.
We spent the following days chilling out, exploring and drinking cold Bintang. We stayed in Lembongan for a week and then headed back to Bali. Dom had to catch a plane to get back to New Zealand and I was going to travel Indonesia for another month and a half before joining him in his Country.