A Diver’s Dream Destination

For diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, Bali is one of the best vacation destinations in the world, and not merely because the tropical waters here are so warm and inviting.  Bali’s true attraction is the variety of sea life and fascinating dive sites that the waters contain.

Tropical fish add color to the ocean blue

Bali sea life begins with an amazing profusion of tropical fish, most of them adorned in brilliant colors such as yellow, orange, and red. Most people will never have seen a distinctive clown fish with its orange and white stripes except in a children’s cartoon, but they thrive around Bali, hiding in the coral reefs, which predominate in Balinese coastal waters.  Other popular underwater creatures include adorable pygmy seahorses, bumphead parrotfish, and hawksbill turtles, as well as the giant sunfish.

For the brave of heart

Many divers and snorkelers in Balinese waters are content to explore the tropical reef areas in search of beautiful fish, but those who are more advanced in the sport want the thrill of spotting sea creatures with more dangerous reputations.  Bali does not disappoint in that regard.  Experienced divers can frequent sites where they may see such predators as reef sharks and hammerhead sharks, as well as barracudas.  There are even sea snakes in the waters around Bali.  These should be treated with respect even when they are quite small since many species are highly venomous.

Frolic with dolphins

Fans of marine mammals will also find their share of entertainment while diving around Bali.  Dolphins can frequently be seen along the island’s north coast, particularly near the Lovina and Singaraja areas.  Those who want to see a seagoing mammal with a more exotic twist can ask their guides to help them locate dugongs, a somewhat oddly shaped small whale that sailors once took to be mermaids.

Why dive in Bali

The waters teeming with life keep divers returning to stay in comfortable lodgings, such as the Kuta Villas in Bali, year after year.  Bali is also popular with wreck divers, in part because of two sunken US Liberty ships off the coast.  These date from World War II and are of great interest, not only to dive enthusiasts but also to tourists with an interest in the war, as here is a piece of history that can be explored firsthand.

Bali is also popular because it offers a variety of diving ecosystems, from flat-bottom lagoons to intricate coral reefs, plus open-water dive experiences.

Practical considerations

Bali makes it easy for even beginners to enjoy a dive holiday.  A variety of operators provide both equipment hire and lessons as well as guided dive tours.  Tourists who like to plan ahead can find Bali dive companies on the web, while those that decide to dive on the spur of the moment need only go to one of the popular coastal areas such as Nusa Dua, Lovina Beach or Amed, to find a qualified dive operator.

These experts can advise visitors as to the best times to dive to the various sites around Bali, but do not be surprised if they recommend night diving.  At night, tropical reefs come alive with a new cast of characters, such as lobsters, shrimp, and crabs; night is also the best time to spot octopi actually moving about instead of trying to remain in hiding.  In addition, the coral itself can appear to “bloom” in the dark as it absorbs minerals and other nutrients in its watery environment.

Top Image by Riza