Padang Bai is a small, scenic and busy fishing village and port. The reefs in the area all have white bottoms and the diving can be absolutely stunning. Tepekong, a short boat ride from Padang Bai and an even shorter hop from Candidasa, is a volcanic hump rising out of the water. Underwater this area is covered with medusa-like coral heads absolutely adorned with blood-red sea fans, tunicates and various sponges. The competition for space is unbelievable. A drift dive, Tepekong can have strong currents but you are often rewarded with the sight of big pelagic fish and, sometimes, Sunfish. Grey reef sharks are also common in the area.
Gili Mimpang consists of three mini rock islands, slope and walls 12 minutes by speed boat from Padang Bai. This area has excellent coral coverage and variety with a 95 per cent chance of seeing sharks and occasionally Manta rays and Sunfish. Good variety of reef fish. A highlight is Shark Junction, one of the few spots to get a shot of a swimming shark from underneath. Note that around new moon diving is only enjoyable for the experienced diver because of strong and tricky currents.
The Blue Lagoon is a five-minute boat ride from Padang Bai harbour and both north and south sections are excellent dive sites. The southern part of the reef drops vertically to 20 metres and continues in a sandy area. The underwater landscape is dominated by up to four-metre high soft coral and ledges hiding large spiny lobsters. Within a short distance a large staghorn coral field stretches in eight metres of depth, alive with oriental sweetlips, basslets and schools of glassfish. Finally, hard coral fields replace the sandy area.
The snorkling was great sailing from the harbor in Padang Bai, especially in a glass bottom boat for the guests that did not dive. Feeding the fish (bread) was a real hit, they went crazy jumping over each other. The white sands beach was beautiful, but the currents were stong.
Candidasa Beach Most Popular Attractions Bali Tourism
Bali was discovered as a diving destination and, in an incredibly short period of time, the market expanded and grew exponentially. Then returning divers complained the diving was not so good. How did this happen and is it still true today? Sue Crowe found out. Bali today is a major tourist destination; take an empty suitcase and go shopping, surfi ng, wining and dining. It has more than 120 dive operations. However, as most of these are simply fronts and booking shops, it is imperative to separate the “wheat from the chaff” or you may well be disappointed.
Whatever its past reputation, Bali is a place of outstanding beauty above and below the waterline; with more diversity of species than Ambon and Manado – areas long heralded as brilliant dive destinations. The trick to a truly successful and rewarding dive holiday in Bali is to understand how it works, know where the great diving areas are and use the Bali tourist phenomenon to your advantage. Today, professional tour operators survive amongst the not-so-professional by understanding what customers want and making sure they provide only the very best dive experiences.