Pemuteran and Menjangan Island - Dive Site
Situated at the northwestern part of Bali, the charm of Pemuteran lies beneath the surface of its calm waters, in the many diving spots, and most especially its phenomenal Underwater Temple. Here peace and tranquility welcome all to its secluded beaches and captivating hilly background.
With its gleaming black volcanic sandy beaches complemented with sheltering coconut and palm trees and backed by enchanting sceneries of green hills, Pemuteran is a perfect illustration of Balinese philosophy on energy “Nyegara Gunung” (The fusion of energy between the mountains and the sea). The serenity of this place radiates a certain spiritual ambience, making it a perfect place for meditation. In contrast to the vivacious Bali southern beaches, Pemuteran offers very little (if not to say none) entertainment in the evenings. Instead, the hotels and cottages found here emphasize more on tranquility so their guests can solemnly meditate or just fully retreat from the city’s rat race. With all the fascinating wonders that lie beneath the surface, and the tranquility surrounding its shores, it may not be a coincidence that the Word “Pemuteran” means the turning point or a place to come back to. Because once you set foot here, you’ll definitely want to come back over and over again.
Menjangan Island is located off the north west coast of Bali and has been featured as Bali’s most recognised dive site since the late 1970s. Known for its sprawling reef flats, calm and mostly predictable conditions, and relatively sheltered location, Menjangan Island has remained a favourite with many divers despite its damage and recovery from both a coral-eating Crown of Thorns infestation and coral bleaching caused by El Niño in the late 90s. It is now part of the West Bali National Park.
About Menjangan Island’s Dive Sites
Approximately thirty five years ago Menjangan Island became Bali’s first internationally-recognised dive location, famous for its wall-diving with great visibility (50m at certain times of the year). Menjangan’s walls generally start at 10m and descend to varying depths (the shallowest being 26m, the deepest 60m+).
They are flooded with sunlight; full of small nooks and crannies, overhangs, and bigger cavelettes, crevasses, etc; covered with soft corals, sponges and offer the greatest diversity of gorgonian fans in Bali.
What to see at Menjangan Island
Menjangan Island can be dived all year round and provides some of the best visibility seen in all of Bali’s dive sites. Even though it may not offer a wide variety of marine life, massive pelagics or challenging drift dives like other sites, it’s a reliable site for enjoying some of the best soft corals, gorgonians, standard reef fish species and even its own humble wreck. Visibility here is so good that it can often reach over 50m, and sea temperatures are quite warm at 28-31°C.
What Types of Diving You Can Do
Wall diving here is very popular and the walls plunge to depths of around 60m so there is always a lot to see. Because of the lack of currents the walls are covered in gorgonian fans attracting high numbers of small fish. All along the wall are tempting little crevices, cracks and hiding places providing constant discoveries, activity and marine life.
Best Time to Go to Menjangan Island
Although the best diving in Menjangan Island is said to be from April to November (during the south east monsoon), the island can be dived all year round as it offers some of the most protected diving in Bali.
The clarity of the water can at times be amazing, July to September often yields the best visibility and a current of more than 1 knot is unusual. However, as Menjangan is protected from the cold currents coming in from the open sea, there are only rare sightings of larger fish.
Popular Sites at Menjangan Island
The more popular dive sites at Menjangan Island are: The Eel Garden, Pos II and, for the more experienced, a deep dive (40m) to the Anker Wreck, a 150-year-old wooden boat.
Anker Wreck Wall Dives – KraussNo-one actually knows the origin of this small wooden boat, nor its true name … “Anker” comes from the anchor that still lies about 6-8m from the surface. Starting the dive with the deepest point first, we follow the anchor chain down to where the steep, coral-clad slope becomes sandy (approx 30m). Here there is a second anchor and you begin to see the flattened remains of the wreck, dark against the white sand.
The rest lies strewn over an area of about 60m; going down to 50m. Across the site you will find copper sheeting and bottles, the boat’s cargo (artefacts, not for souvenirs). There are still some parts of the boat which remain out of the sand, and which are covered in gorgonians, a sure sign of little or no currents at the site.
On the sand we see many varieties of nudibranchs, sometimes frogfish and odd sand-dwellers. Schooling around the pieces of wreck are bannerfish, fusiliers and batfish.
This is the deepest dive site offered by AquaMarine Diving – Bali: We believe that the good visibility and calm conditions mean that this deep dive will present no problems to experienced divers. The wall to the west, at 5-10m, is rich with many overhangs, cracks and caves. A good idea for an extended safety stop after this dive.
Garden Eel Point
Starting this dive from the most north west tip of Menjangan Island, following the wall southwards towards the Bali/Menjangan channel, you will see some of the most healthy and diverse coral on Menjangan. The cracks and breaks in the wall are filled with a great diversity of reef fish.
Gradually following the wall down from the top (5-8m) to 25m (max depth 35m), where it becomes a white sand slope, you find a big gorgonian fan with Longnose hawkfish.
What you will see at Garden Eel Point
This area is also known for sightings of White-tip and Black-tip reef sharks, Dogtooth tuna, small schools of barracudas, turtles, and of course Napoleon wrasse. From this 25m point we slowly ascend up the slope, over many soft corals, until reaching a huge colony of Garden eels that covers the slope from 20m to beyond where it flattens out at 14m.
From Garden Eel Point we head south to a coral garden (5-12m) with Big-eyed trevally, Titan triggerfish, many clownfish in their anemones and often a surprising number of scorpionfish. Make sure you check the numerous sea fans for any of the variety of Pygmy seahorses we see here.