The early start told us we were back on the diving trail once again. The first dive was at the ‘world famous’ Manta Bay – at this site, according to the Dive Concepts website you were assured (95% chance) of seeing Manta Rays. This percentage dropped down to 85% when we were signing up for the diving and 75% on the boat! We were then explained to about how there was another place called Manta Point that Mantas even more regularly frequented – these excuses did not bode well. We were told that if we saw no Manta at Manta Bay and that ‘everyone’ was in agreement (and paid a bit more money) that the boat would take us further to Manta Point where Manta Rays would be 100% guaranteed. Not exactly the guarantees from the website!
Okay then what happened at Dive one – well we saw zero Manta Rays and because a “Frenchie” or at the very least “a European” did not want to pay extra money the boat proceeded to the next dive rather than on to Manta Point – what a swizz. It is only now thinking about it how easily Dive Concepts could have removed any issues by simply charging a bit more anyhow and going to Manta Point first off – load of bollox, if you ask me!
Okay the dive itself was not too bad, but when you have been led to believe the King of the Rays would be present – not a lot can make up for it. We saw some nice coral Banded Cleaner Shrimp and some Reef Octopus and on our part we handled the dive really well but, okay sorry to keep banging on about it – there were no Manta Ray! Thanks Dive Concepts and Europeans everywhere!
Dive 2 was onto Crystal Bay and the visibility was somewhat better so we saw a fair bit of new life – Peacock Flounder, Lionfish (Black), Angelfish, Liz’s favourite Nudibranches, Seahorse, Sexy Shrimp, Thornback Boxfish and Clarke’s Anemone Fish to name the new few. Our divemaster was really good at spotting stuff but even then Liz could not be placated after dive one but still a very nice dive all round.
As said previously, the dive centre did not have a great deal location and we also felt somewhat weary after the diving so we had a nice meal at the restaurant at the centre and went to bed to ready ourselves for tomorrow.
The following day we had three more dives which turned into three and a half, perhaps even (technically … lol) four. Toyapakah was first up and the first time we got in we were swimming for our lives but not actually getting anywhere – this was hard work big style, so the dive was called off and back up we came. The boat moved position slightly and we went back down which was great because we entered smack bang into the middle of a school of Giant Trevally. Other things we saw included a Nudibranch called a Wart Slug (two of the most gross words ever put together for one animal!), some Scorpionfish and a Bluespotted Pufferfish.
Next up was a dive at Pura Mas Gading, a nice dive because we saw turtles and turtles are beginning to become both mine and Liz’s favourite sights underwater. These were only small turtles but turtle is as turtle does and these were very nice to see. More Nudibranchs were also spotted by our sharp-eyed Divemaster as well as an Orang Utan Crab, some Unicorn fish, Titan Triggerfish and Clown Triggerfish. It is good to be able to see all these new species but it would be nicer if we knew what they were first off ourselves a bit more – still that will come I am sure.
Last dive was at Santal and although I have put down Orang Utan Crab and Clown Triggerfish – I think I am just getting confused between this and the last dive so who knows which was which – we could do with a camera to make things a bit more cut and dried here! Other things we more definitely saw were Cornetfish and Regal Angelfish.
The dive photos have been very kindly supplied by a Divemaster called Markey from Korea he was yet another brilliant diver – they all simply move their eyebrows to propel themselves along – I state this because nothing else seems to move!
It seems a shame simply to explain the dives alone but to be fair Nusa Lembongan was not a place I really took to as the beach was in such poor condition it felt like the people living there simply did not care. On the second day we did a bit of snorkelling after the diving which was a bit better but still did not detract from the state of the beach. Besides the poor showing over the Manta the dive company Dive Concepts were a good bunch of blokes but possibly the Gilli Islands would have been the better choice – still hindsight is a bloody easy thing to quote especially when doing something like our present odyssey.