It all started with an innocent conversation around the dinner table with a group of friends on a recent Dive Trip.....15 minutes later a group of 6 were headed to Nusa Lembongan.
Commonly known as 'Lembongan' - it is a small island off the southeast coast of the main island of Bali, easily accessible by many Fast Ferry Co's that operate a few times a day.
' Quickly becoming one of Bali’s most popular attractions, this island paradise is a world away from the hassle and hectic pace of South Bali. Neither hawkers nor traffic mar the magnificent scenery; this is a fine place to just put your feet up and relax. Main activities include surfing, diving and snorkeling'.
So, the timing was prime season (Aug-Nov) to witness and see the mysterious Ocean Sun fish 'Mola Mola', and for some of the group a 1st ever moment, whoooaaa exciting.
The commitment & enthusiasm was clear-cut with 100% exuberance, and within the week I had sorted and booked the Dive Operator (World Diving Lembongan) and Accomodation (Ketut's Losmen) from 27th Sept - 2nd Oct. All that was left to do was book individual Flights & Fast Ferry's - excited and eager we were, but reality sunk in - was now the WAIT.
The moment was now upon us, everyone arrived with expectations, excitement and happy to be "Livin' the Life of Lembongan" - but 1st things 1st Bintang Time by the Pool.
Day 1 thru to Day 5 of Diving consisted of a daily routine of;
Check dive gear and analyse Nitrox tanks
Board boat with camera gear, staff carry ur gear to boat
Head out to daily dive sites
Dive 1 - Surface Interval with traditional brunch
Dive 2 - and return to shore
Staff carry dive gear back to shop and wash & rinse for u
Wash camera gear
Back to Accomodation and head out for lunch
Relax in rooms, shower or pool.....?
Walk to local main street for variety of Dinner choices
Eat, Sleep, Dive & Repeat
A summary of Sites we dived throughout the trip:
Manta Point 18
Crystal Bay 7
Pura Ped 11
Pura Masgading 12
Manta Bay 19
Mola Mola Hunting was the mission statement, however due to high swells we did 2 days of general diving the Northern sites of Nusa Penida. Wow, these sites DID NOT disappoint with the vast soft and hard corals bursting with vibrance and color, along with copious fish life in the hundreds.
Some of the experiences of marine life were not just contained to small species, we had Giant Trevally, Dog Fin Tuna, Giant Barracuda, Large Frogfish, Turtles, Octopus, Sweetlips, Yellow Trevally, Gropers etc etc.....
Another dive at Pura Masgading also provided us with a quick glimpse and sighting of a shy and skittish 'Threser Shark'
By 'Day 3' we were granted less than 1.5mt swells to allow to steam out around the Southern side of Nusa Penida to Manta Point, Manta Bay & Crystal Bay.
Manta Point was our first site to witness the majestic M. Alfredi (Reef Manta) which did not disappoint with no less than 6-8 Manta hovering and swimming around the numerous cleaning stations. And yes 1 was a pregnant female, there is hope for survival.......
Manta Bay for dive 2, hoping to see the elusive Mola Mola, fingers & toes crossed by all on board, please, please.....can we be sooo lucky. Back-roll into the blue (heaven), descend to approx 30mt depth and 'BANG' off to our right were 4, YES 4 Mola hovering mid water. Although there was not a lot of cleaning activity happening the Mola stayed with us without being disturbed for at least 5-10 minutes.
With everyone ecstatic on their 1st ever Mola sighting (yes 4) we continued further into Manta Bay and found soo much more along the way - Wobbegong Shark, Bamboo Shark and a large group of schooling yellow snapper.
The 3 days of diving provided us with sooooo much life, color, variety and joy. Yes Lembongan and Penida you continue to impress us.
Even though there were quite a few first's for the group, an even bigger unexpected experience was about to happen.
On day 4, John Chapman (Manager of World Diving) hinted to me there maybe, a slight maybe chance of seeing Hammerhead Sharks on the first dive site (Sampalan).
Ooooohhhh YEAH back-roll, descend the sloping reef down to around 30mt's and within 10 seconds off to our right ascending out of the blue headed directly to us were 2 large healthy Hammerheads. Gopro at the ready, cameras charged and screaming underwater was the theme of the dive.
The whole group saw, experienced and dived with the sharks for at least 3-5 minutes before they disappeared back into the blue as quick as they appeared.
What an unforgettable trip Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida has turned out to be, with marine sightings, healthy & vibrant reefs, fish, hard & soft corals.
Salute" to my Dive Buddies, Pauline Wong, Shri Patnaik, Matt Nethaway, Alun Harford & Maggie Chan.
Honorable Mention and Thanks to John & Sue @ World Diving Lembongan - you guys are True Legends....
In closing, 'Take Every Chance You Get In Life, Because Some Things Only Happen ONCE', & let my stories and experience give you inspiration to create your own Moments.
Another 'Rivetting Moment', to inspire & ignite the traveller in you, to broaden life challenges & experiences!!!