Manta Point is one of the most iconic dive sites in Bali. Located on the south east side of the satellite island of Nusa Penida, Manta Point is short boat ride away. A speed boat trip from Sanur takes around 45 minutes and perhaps 20 minutes from Lembongan island resorts. Although found around the world, Indonesia has many fantastic manta ray congregation sites. Manta Point is set in a stunning surrounding inside a small bay below the towering cliffs of Nusa Penida. Manta rays visit this site all year round and often number dozens at a time. Two types of behaviour are the norm for mantas here: they visit to eat or be cleaned. However, lucky divers can experience the manta rays performing mating dances during certain months.
Shallow Cleaning Station
The topography of the site is a very gentle slope in the shallows that slowly descends to 25 metres. The bottom consists of sandy patches and low lying coral heads with the occasional giant bommie thrown in. There are a couple of different ways to dive Manta Point, either starting on the deep wall or at the shallow cleaning station. Starting at the shallow cleaning station is the best way to almost guaranteed a manta sighting. The cleaning station is a large rock that rises within a few metres of the surface. Divers station themselves at the base of the rock and mantas drift in from above. Mantas that are cleaning tend to move slowly and will do large circles above the rock while small fish come to pick parasites from their skin.
It’s not uncommon to find 10 or more mantas at the site, all competing for cleaning time. The rays establish a pecking order on site and each one takes a turn cleaning. During days when many mantas are at the station it’s very easy for divers to spend more than an hour watching these incredible animals. However, Manta Point isn’t just the shallow cleaning station, there are other areas to explore as well.
Deep Cleaning Stations
The deep cleaning stations is reached by swimming from the shallow station or else dropping into the deeper water at the start. An experienced captain and dive guide know the spot to drop divers who proceed to free fall down to 20 metres or so onto a mini wall. Below the mini wall the site becomes a sandy bottom stretching out into the blue. From June to October it’s possible to encounter the elusive Mola cleaning at the edge of the wall. Around 20 metres there is another manta ray cleaning station which often has 2 or 3 mantas in attendance. The advantage of the deep station is that there are less divers around and often the visibility can be very clear. Once bottom time begins to run out it’s easy to swim toward the shallow cleaning station or explore the coral flats.
Other animals commonly encountered on this dive include sea snakes, bump head parrotfish, and a large school of blue striped yellow snappers. The site is home to hundreds of small blue spot stingrays.
One important consideration at Manta Point is to stay close to the guide when surfacing. A safety sausage launched from depth is a must before surfacing.
Manta Point is one of the premiere sites in Bali, join us on a future trip to this magnificent dive site, more details on our Bali Safari Trips page