bryandchu

bryandchu

My Dive Map

Reviews (4)

Villa Markisa

5
5
5
5

Villa Markisa is one of the best dive resorts in Bali. I would not be surprised if it were the best, because it is the nicest place I have ever stayed. The grounds are beautiful, the staff are super friendly and attentive and learn your personal preferences during your stay, and the food is phenomenal (vegetarian and non-vegetarian). They make their own delicious bread, and if you are so inclined, you can have fresh fruit with every meal of the day - both small things, but things that make the stay that much more special.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with air conditioning, big beds and nice mosquito nets. They provide you with a metal reusable waterbottle for your stay, and have water dispensers around the grounds, so you never have to use any plastic water bottles. There is a pool for relaxing, and sunbeds laid out in different parts of the grounds, which are covered in greenery and flowers.

The diving is awesome, with great muck dives right off shore (Seraya Secrets) and also available by 5-10 minute boat ride. The USS Liberty, a bucket-list dive site, is less than 10 minutes by boat, and they run 6 am sunrise trips to beat the crowds. There are also some great wall and reef sites for nice wide angle photos. So you really can get a bit of everything. The water is nice and warm, usually quite calm, and strong currents are few and far between.

All of the dive staff are very friendly and competent, from the boat drivers to the boat hands to the dive guides. A typical muck dive had us following a continuous trail of cool critters found by our guide. And when I asked "where can we find X", they usually had a good idea, and we saw some great high value subjects: a mototi octo, harlequin shrimp, a mantis shrimp with eggs, a pygmy seahorse, lady bug amphipods, and lots of cool nudibranchs.

Topside, there are not a ton of activities available on the resort, but the grounds are fantastic and the spa is nice. They can arrange day trips to explore Bali, and there are lots of cool things to see on the island, including terraced rice paddies and Balinese temples.

The bottom line is, you can't go wrong with Villa Markisa, in my opinion it is worth every cent.

Visited on 04/2019 - Submitted on 06/19/2019
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Bali Hai Diving Adventures

5
5
5
5

My fiancee and I dove Nusa Penida with Bali Hai Diving Adventures for 4 days, and stayed at their resort on Nusa Lembongan, the Hai Tide Beach Resort, for 4 nights.

The resort was one of the best dive resorts in Bali, at least from what we saw during our time on the island. There are 2 restaurants serving up tasty food, including great vegetarian fare. We stayed in a nice and clean garden lumbung with air conditioning, a large and comfy bed, and a super easy-to-use mosquito net. It's right on the Mushroom Bay beach, and there are two pools on the grounds for relaxing and having a drink. Staff were all excellent.

It was definitely worth it staying on Nusa Lembongan, which is right next to Nusa Penida, rather than doing the day trip over from the main island of Bali. That cut off 60-90 minutes of boat transportation in each direction, and meant we were the first boat to arrive at manta point in the morning. This is important, because later in the day, manta point gets crowded with boats from Bali.

That brings me to the dive operation, which was extremely well run. The guides were very knowledgeable and safety-conscious, which is exactly what you want when diving Nusa Penida, which is known for its sometimes heavy and unpredictable currents. The dive boat was new and very well equipped, and the staff lug tanks and set up gear for you. Everyone, from the boat captain to the helpers to the DMs, was friendly and helpful.

Most importantly, they provide a high ratio of dive guides to divers. No more than 4 divers for 1 guide, and if the divers have varying skill levels, they may break it down to 1 guide for 2 divers, so as not to pair high air consumption divers with low air consumption divers, for example.

The diving itself was excellent. We drifted over pristine reefs with big schools of fish, checked out giant sponges, enjoyed a lot of time with large turtles (green and hawksbill), got to see an octopus show, and had the best manta encounters I have ever had. Yes, manta point is busy, but it is also huge, and there are lots of big mantas cruising around. When we were there we saw maybe 4 or 5, but we heard that it's not uncommon to see 10-15 on a dive there. And some were 4 m across.

The diving schedule we followed was 2 morning dives, then a return back to the resort for lunch, and then an afternoon dive. For early morning manta dives, we requested the restaurant to pack breakfast for us, which was a nice touch. We did not have to leave that early (7:15 I think) because we were much closer to the site than mainland Bali. The resort/destination is best suited for families, and anyone who wants to spend their topside time relaxing in very nice surroundings, rather than doing long boat rides back and forth from Bali. Sure you can probably save some money on accommodations by staying somewhere cheap on Bali, but that just sounds exhausting to me!

The best time of year for diving Nusa Penida depends on what you are looking for. Mola season is June to October, but the water is also coldest then. Dry season, which is peak tourist season, is May to September. April was great because it was shoulder season...nice weather, great manta and reef diving, but less tourists, so less crowded. October is supposed to be nice because it is also outside of peak season, but has great weather and still has molas. Up to you what you want!

Visited on 04/2019 - Submitted on 06/19/2019
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Bali

5
5
5
5

Diving Bali is something that should be on every diver's bucket list. Bali dive resorts are top notch, and very affordable when compared to many other dive destinations. We only dove in two locations in Bali - Nusa Penida and Tulamben - but both were world class dive destinations.

Nusa Penida is a small island off the Southeast corner of Bali, with reliably great manta encounters at Manta Point, and molas at Crystal Bay from June to October. We were there in April, which meant no mola encounters, but the water was very warm (comfy in a 3mm wetsuit), we had fantastic manta encounters, lots of turtles and octopus, and we had some phenomenal drift dives along pristine reefs.

Make sure you are relatively experienced before scuba diving here, as there are currents, sometimes quite strong ones, and they can be unpredictable. But as long as you go with a reputable outfit and are decently comfortable underwater, you will be fine. And be aware of the water temperatures - outside of mola season the water is quite warm, but in mola season it can drop as low as 12 or 13 C. That is really cold if you are in a wetsuit.

Tulamben is on the north coast of Bali, and is quite different of a destination. The water is warm and calm all year round. There are amazing muck diving sites, full of fantastic macro critters, especially nudibranchs of all shapes and sizes. There is the famous USS Liberty wreck dive, one of the most famous dives in the world. And there are great wall dives with huge sea fans, and beautiful reefs. Not the best place for really large stuff, other than some hawksbill turtles, and the bumphead parrotfish on the Liberty...but still fun for wide angle shooting.

The best time to dive Bali depends on what you are looking for. The rainy season runs from approximately October to April, with the dry season from May to September. Rainy season just means that a lot of days will have some rain, but it is often not too prolonged. The rainy season is the low season. We loved being there in the shoulder month of April because the weather was overall quite nice (with some rain, but not too bad), but most importantly, there were not a ton of tourists around. So, dive sites in Tulamben and Nusa Penida were quieter than peak season. October would also be nice, as it is a shoulder month but it is still mola time. The resort we stayed at in Nusa Lembongan recommended coming back for molas in October. Bali is the kind of place that makes you want to return to, and I think we will have to do that sometime soon!

Visited on 06/2019 - Submitted on 06/19/2019
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Best Diving in Australia - Top 10

4
5
5
5

Australia is definitely a bucket list dive destination. Yes, you can go scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, but that is not where my fiancee and I decided to go. Instead, we went to Adelaide, South Australia, and the diving was fantastic. Very unique, very cool, and not busy or crowded.

Rapid Bay jetty is an amazing shore dive with lots of cool fish, especially the beautiful leafy sea dragon. Every dive we looked for leafies there, we found them, including some juveniles!

Our other favourite dive site was a prime macro destination - Edithburgh jetty. The night dives were absolutely insane, just crawling with cool cephalopods with pyjama squid, bobtail squid, Southern sand octopus, blue ring octopus, and pygmy cuttlefish (we saw all of those on one dive).

We were there in December/January, meaning the water temps were at their warmest, but still chilly (20 degrees C). However, it was quite hot on land, up to 35 C +. Topside we went to Kangaroo Island, also nearby, and saw tons of cool stuff in the wild. We swam with bottlenose dolphins, and got up close to wild koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and echnidnas. It was awesome.

Also on our trip, we went scubadiving in Sydney. Surprisingly, the diving was very good there as well, with great encounters with a giant cuttlefish, Port Jackson sharks, and other fun critters.

Cost-wise, scuba diving in Australia is a bit pricy, especially if you rent gear. If you bring your own gear, it would be very affordable. So, if you are going to Australia, think outside the Great Barrier Reef for some unique diving experiences!

Visited on 01/2019 - Submitted on 06/19/2019
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