Crystal Bay is one of the most popular dive sites in Bali. Although many know it as a hot spot for sunfish interactions, it’s an interesting site at any time of year. Located on the island of Nusa Penida, Crystal Bay is on the top of many visiting divers wish lists.
How Do I Get To Crystal Bay?
When diving with the Underwater Tribe we visit Crystal Bay on day trips from our base in Sanur. We pick you up at your hotel and then board the speed boat for an approximately 45 minute ride to Nusa Penida. Crystal is located on the S.W. side of the island at the southern end of the channel separating Penida from Ceningan. This narrow channel is a real force of nature as it funnels a lot of water between the islands. Watching the sheer power of the water flowing through the channel is quite exciting as you approach the dive site.
What to Expect?
Crystal is a dive site that is best tackled by experienced divers. Although new divers often dive here, we don’t recommend it. The reason for this is the potential for strong down current and cold water. Both of these factors are daunting for new divers to deal with and they are best off gaining experience at more mellow sites.
A dive typically starts with a live drop from the boat and can start at the corner of the bay with the reef on the left, or inside the bay with the reef on the right. The drop in point all depends on the current, a good guide/driver team will check this ahead of time. The shallows are home to hard corals and their attendant chromis/damselfish farmers. The reef then drops in to a steeper slope that is home to less hard coral but more soft corals. The further out of the sheltered bay that divers venture, the coral cover becomes less.
It’s at the steep slope at the end of the bay where currents can be an issue. Most dive centres will watch the current and drop when conditions are safe. However, there can be sudden surges of current at times. The key is to stay close to your guide and close to the reef. This is not a site to swim far out into the blue.
What Do We See?
During sunfish season, July to late October, the big attraction is the elusive Mola alexandrini. The sunfish is the largest bony fish on the planet! These fish can reach a size of over 2 metres along the dorsal fins. Learn more about the Bali Sunfish and submit your photos here. These fish can show up at any time of year but are not common outside of the peak season.
Other common encounters here are the friendly resident hawksbill turtles. These turtles are not afraid of divers and it’s possible to watch them doing their daily chores! There are also some very beautiful hard coral shallows with thousands of tropical fish. It’s not out of the ordinary to find a curious banded seakrait poking around looking for food. If you are lucky you may even run into a shark such as wobbegongs or a thresher shark. In fact, a few divers were lucky enough to spot a great white shark here in 2019!
Plan Your Trip to Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay is a must do site while diving in south Bali. The key is to know the best times to go, including when the current is best and when the numbers of divers is low. During the high season this site can be visited by far too many divers at one time resulting in less marine life spotting. We offer private boat service when diving in Nusa Penida, which allows us to choose the ideal conditions. Please have a look at one of our Bali Dive Safari packages and let us know if you would like to include Nusa Penida.