Crystal Bay Dive Site

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The Crystal Bay dive site is world renowned, and one of Bali’s most famous dive site for one reason and one reason only; it is home to the famous but rare Mola Mola or sunfish.

Whilst it is possible to see these fish at other sites in Bali, this is the most common place to see them. These are large pelagic fish; perhaps giant is a better way to describe them. They can reach heights of 3 meters and come up from deeper waters to be cleaned by a particular species of butterfly fish. These banner fish follow the fish cleaning the bacteria from their scales. They are most likely to be seen between August and October when they most frequently come up to be cleaned.

The reef itself is a coral reef plateau at around 10 to 20 meters but the Mola Mola are normally found further down at depths of around 30 meters.

The currents can be very strong and there is often downward currents that pull divers down further. This can be quite difficult to manage and so this site is reserved for experience divers only. Due to these strong currents, under Indonesian law, it is against the law to dive without a certified guide and there is a maximum of four divers per guide. Divers must also make sure that no dives here are decompression dives to ensure that the dives are safer.

The site is named after the water in the reef, which is crystal clear and leads to amazing levels of visibility. It is protected from waves as well which helps to keep the water clear of debris.

Along with Mola Mola, divers can find sharks, ribbon tail rays, sea snakes, banner fish (the cleaners), and on the reef itself, moray eels and many nudibranchs.

Orangutan Crab - Achaeus Japonicus

Orangutan Crab, Nusa Penida. Photo Credit: Jamie Allan

The smaller fish also include frogfish, sweet lips, angelfish and Moorish idols. Very lucky divers will also be treated to different types of sharks such as leopard sharks, guitar sharks and Wobbegong sharks.

Around the north side of the bay, divers can also explore Bat Cave. This cave can be entered from underwater by divers. The cave is open to the sky and is the home to many bats that sleep overhead. The cave is home to many reef sharks but they are shy and tend to disappear when divers appear. This cave is an added attraction and makes for a quite spectacular dive of seeing Mola Mola, entering a bat cave, seeing some spectacular reef fish, and some amazing coral all of the same dive.

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Liveaboard Reviews in Lembongan, Penida

Did you dive here with a liveaboard? Please post a comment and share your experience!
Jamie Allan November 06, 2017

Crystal Bay is a tempestuous dive site that really lives up to its reputation. The best point to start a dive from is usually down from the sloping sandy bottom into the bay and then following the coral headland round.

Rich upwellings guarantee healthy reef systems and big schools of reef fish throughout but the main attraction is the promise of mola encounters. Mola’s usually are seen during the upwelling season which sees temperatures on this site drop to 18 degrees so adequate insulation is recommended. The site is famous for some strong currents and this is a site that favours a more experienced diver.

My favourite time to see Crystal Bay was at night as the sandy bottom and coral slopes are alive with decorator crabs, slipper lobsters, pygmy squids other hunting cephalopods.


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