Part Two of our “Bali Scuba Diving Top Sites” series, today we discuss the black sand site Puri Jati. (Part One can be found here) Located a few miles west of Lovina, Puri Jati is not an easy site to find unless you know where it is. Any reputable dive centre in Bali will know how to find it. After driving through a beautiful rice field toward the beach, PJs opens up into a perfect little parking area complete with restaurant, showers, rinse tanks, and clean toilets.
PJs is an easy shore entry site with a simple walk along black sand onto a very gentle slope. A small river runs into the sea across the beach and many people feel that this influx of fresh water contributes to the high creature count. The action can start in only a few metres of water with a surprising number of critters being found only a short distance from shore. Ghost pipefish and sea moths are commonly found in the first 3 metres.
The average depth of this site rarely exceeds 12 metres and the topography is nothing but flat sand. What makes this site memorable is the profusion of thousands of small cup corals that litter the sand. Among the cup corals is where the best critters can be found on the site. Frogfish, Ambon scorpionfish, seahorses, “Shaun the Sheep” nudibranchs, lion fish, file fish, bat fish, and juvenile puffer fish are a sampling of some of the most photogenic. Having a guide who is a good spotter is essential here, much of the bottom looks the same so keen eyes are required to find the good stuff.
The stars of the show at Puri Jati are most definitely the octopus. Long armed, coconut, and mimic octopus are all commonly found at PJs. Although the mimic is often at the top of many people’s wish list, it’s the animated coconut octopus that is the real show stopper. As there is no where to shelter on the sand, the coconut octopus here are commonly found nestling inside clam shells or coconut husks. Underwater photographers are the biggest fans of this Bali dive site because there are so many subjects which can be framed against a dark, sandy backdrop. Dives often reach 100 minutes in length as there is little current or wave activity, air lasts a long time when swimming along in the shallows.
What Lenses Work Best?
As a critter site, most photographers like to bring a macro set up with them to Puri Jati. Obviously a 60mm lens is very flexible and can be used to shoot small creatures as well as slightly larger inhabitants. For serious macro enthusiasts a diopter is also a good addition to include, nudibranchs like “Shaun the Sheep” are very small and require diopters to get the best results. However, the site also offers plenty of opportunity for “close up wide angle” photography. Octopus, frog fish, lion fish and plenty of other denizens are the perfect subjects for this style of photography. The benefit of CFWA is that it allows the photographer to capture the animal in it’s environment. However, do keep in mind that if larger subjects aren’t found, it can be a frustrating setup to have.
How to Visit Puri Jati?
At the Underwater Tribe we visit Puri Jati during our Bali Scuba Diving Safaris on days where we move between Tulamben and Pemuteran. Divers enjoy two very long dives at this site and then eat a nice lunch before relocating to the next destination. As we typically dive here twice, this is the perfect opportunity for photographers to try both macro and close focus wide angle photography. For those who want to enjoy Puri Jati for a few days, we can also visit this site several times during a dive trip to NW Bali. Check out our Bali Critter Diver package for an idea of what sort of Bali Safari trips we can organize which include Puri Jati.
Here is a coconut octopus doing what it knows best!