After thoroughly putting the scooter to use and exploring all over the western half of the island, we were eager to see what Nusa Penida had to offer underwater. The island is known for great diving, but it also lots to offer beginners and snorkelers.
Dive Outfitter: Nusa Penida Dive
At the end of our first day on the island, we stopped by the Nusa Penida Dive shop to see if they had any available snorkel charters for the following morning before our ferry back to the mainland. We agreed on 3 different snorkel spots around the island, plus a full gear rental set for $20 USD per person.
The next morning, we arrived at the shop and hopped on their shuttle over to the port. There we grabbed our gear and hopped on our dive boat for the day along with four other visitors from Jakarta.
The short boat ride to our first stop of the day was scenic and smooth. We arrived at Gamat Bay, a secluded, sheltered bay with an untouched beach and lots of palm trees. The depth was perfect here, and I couldn't wait to hop into the turquoise water. The conditions here were so nice for snorkeling, and our captain let us stay as long as we wanted.
We then headed to more popular spots like Toyapakeh and Mangrove Point on Nusa Lembongan. The coral here didn't seem as healthy as Gamat Bay, but they did have lots of schools of fish. We spotted throngs of tourists on the water near Nusa Lembongan island. There was even had a big pontoon that served as a central base that cooked food while visitors jet skied, banana boated, water sledded through the air and pretty much any water entertainment you could think of.
The last spot our captain took us to was to see some big fish! He said there are boats that feed the Trevally here at certain times of the day, and he guided us to quietly get into the water at just the right time. As big as they are, they move so quickly through the water - it was exciting to be so close to them, and they really are huge!
Our captain actually took us to two more dive sites in the area, but by that time almost everyone was thoroughly exhausted and had gotten all the snorkeling they wanted for the day.
Note - there were a couple sites with invisible floating jellies or hydroids, that would cause some slight stinging on contact. Wearing a rash guard or skin suit could help make snorkeling in these areas more comfortable. Some of the more exposed sites do have a slight current, so be sure you're constantly kicking against it to avoid getting too far from the boat.
If you want to get the best diving/snorkeling, it could be worth asking to go to the more secluded spots, or at least sticking around Nusa Penida. Especially at Mangrove Point, the reefs looked quite deteriorated, but would still be fun for a beginner looking to get their feet wet. Gamat Bay was by far the best site we saw that day, as the visibility was the clearest, reefs looked healthy and the marine life was rich and diverse.
What a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea!