The gentle giants of the sea and the largest bony fish in the sea can both be found here!
One of the main attractions of Nusa Penida is the year round manta rays. The dive sites where we see them are on the South side of the island - Manta Bay and Manta Point.
The boat ride to get here passes Nusa Penida's stunning cliffs with towering white limestone rising up above the rocks and crashing waves at the bottom.
is an area where the mantas go to feed, so we often see them close to the surface here feasting on the plankton - It's ideal for snorkelling and diving.
Manta Bay is a shallow dive, with a max depth of 12m, the topography is rocky, with lots of ledges and overhangs (look out for day octopus here!). As it's a shallow area, we can spend a long time with the mantas when they are around.
is a bit further round the coast, yet more stunning scenery makes it well worth the ride, as does the dive site!
The manta ray dive sites are sheltered from currents as they are bays, but the South can have big surge and waves. We visit these sites when the conditions allow (when the swell is small), we check online every day for the wind strength and wave height and can tell you the best time to make a trip when you check in with us.
Manta rays, ahem (!) were re-classified as Mobula rays in 2017, and there are two types of these majestic beauties that frequent our sites:
M.Alfredi - a.k.a the reef manta and M.Birostris - a.k.a the oceanic manta
Reef mantas can grow up to 5m across from wing tip to wing tip while oceanic mantas can grow up to 7m across.
Both species are harmless filter feeders who cruise around the sites on the South side of Nusa Penida all year round.
Nusa Penida has a recorded population of over 400 mantas, thanks to the citizen science database; Manta Matcher. Manta rays each have a unique spot pattern on their underside, so divers are encouraged to take photos of the manta's bellies and share them on mantamatcher.org. Once the pics are uploaded, one of their team can "match" them - if they are already in the database then this valuable information is added to what they already know about the individual (you're encouraged to give as much information about the encounter as possible). It helps experts to recognise any patterns in the mantas behaviour, and ultimately counts towards their protection in our oceans.
If you're lucky you may have a snap of a new manta!
Another of Nusa Penida's top attractions is the mola-mola (Mola Alexandrini), or ocean sunfish.
Why is it called a sunfish when it looks more like the moon than the sun? Well, one of the behaviours of this odd looking fish is to bask in the sun at the surface!
Mola mola frequent Nusa Penida's sites most commonly from June to October, when the cooler water comes up from the Lombok Strait. These cooler temperatures bring the mola's shallower, and we can often observe them being cleaned.
They're the largest bony fish in the sea and although they like to hang out in the deep, they come up shallower to clean and to bask in the sun, if you're lucky you may even see one leaping out of the water!