Diving with Manta Rays off Nusa Lembongan

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Pondok Jengalla
What I did
Manta Rays!!!!

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good morning world!

Our journey from the southern tip of Bali to the island of Nusa Lembongan took just under 2 hours. We took the cheap local boat and it was fine but we did come across the famous swells the area is known for. Luckily we don't get sea sick so we were fine but all that was about to change in the course of the next few days.

As we arrived on to the beach we both realized that we did not know the name of our guesthouse. It is ridiculous how relaxed we have become about these things. If there are any employers out there reading this, please give us 6 months to find our brain cells again because I think we left them on a boat somewhere in Laos!

Eventually we found out where we were laying our heads and the place was beautiful with a fantastic pool. The main reason we came to this island was to dive, as it is known to be a great place to dive with Manta Rays, something Kaz and I have been longing to do. More on that in a little while.

The island itself is very small with hardly any motorized traffic at all. I absolutely loved the place. It is one of my favourite islands on the whole trip and yet it does not have great beaches and there is not that much to do apart from dive and surf. It just had this great vibe about it. Probably because most people were there to do sports so after waking up early and going diving or surfing all day, people would congregate on the beach at a chilled out bar to watch the blood red sunset, have a few beers, some dinner and then early to bed to be ready for the next day’s adventures. My type of island! Apart from tourism the locals make their living from seaweed farming which is used in shampoo and other cosmetics. The beach was always a hive of activity with the entire village helping out in some way with the seaweed collecting. It was fantastic to see and yet again the locals were lovely.

The undoubted highlight of the island though was the MANTA RAYS!!! We booked a dive to the fabled Manta Point where there is a high probability that you will encounter these beautiful animals. They were not lying. As soon as we got to the site we could see them from our boat. We could not wait to get in the water. I know Karen wants to talk more in depth about our experience so I will go now but all I will say is that the encounter with the Manta Rays was up there with the snorkelling with the Whale Sharks and I can’t give higher praise as that. Wow, what a sentence, encounter with Manta Rays, snorkelling with Whale Sharks, how will we ever get back to so called normal life?

I’ve been diving for 9 years, I’ve dived in loads of different locations and with each dive I’ve done, I’ve had a single wish – to see the beautiful, mythical Manta rays. So far, they’d eluded me in every dive I’d done, but finally it looked like my dream was about to be realised. With a name like Manta Point, the dive site we were sailing to sounded extremely promising.

A single manta ray was all I wanted, I would have been ecstatic. Imagine then how I felt when all throughout the hour’s dive these amazing creatures constantly swam right above me, at arm’s reach in groups of 3 or 4. I spent most of the dive screaming with happiness, even thinking about it now makes me swoon. Imagine a creature the size of a double bed, with wings moving gracefully, hovering above you underwater. We could see their snow white bellies and count the shark like slits on their sides that serve as gills.

As they were swimming at a relatively shallow depth, we could see the sun rays under water. One of the most magical moments was when a baby manta, about a metre in diameter swam right where the rays were hitting the water, and started doing back-flips, keeping its mouth wide open to filter the plankton that permeates this part of the ocean. It was one of those moments that will live with me forever. One that will never cease to make me smile whenever I think about it.

After spending about an hour in the water, our dive guide signalled for us to start ascending. As if on cue a group of 10 (yes 10!!!) mantas swam right in front of us, turning up as they came near us to avoid hitting us as if to say,  'goodbye, hope you’ve enjoyed the show’. It was a grand finale that had us all enraptured with a very wide grin on our faces. Simply priceless!

Things weren’t so amazing when we finished the dive. Unfortunately Paul started feeling really sick and the rough seas weren’t helping. I was really worried as I’d never seen him so sick before. We had to abort the second dive and try to get him to land as soon as possible. Luckily there was a boat that was about to head back to land so we caught a lift with it. It took a while for him to lose the green hue on his face and turn back to normal poor thing. Luckily, by the end of the day he was right as rain and we could go back to re-living our wonderful adventure with the Mantas.

After another idyllic day of relaxing by the pool, strolling along the seafront and sipping beer while watching sunset our time on Lembongan came to an end. We finished our stay in style by dining at a restaurant that has a French chef, who worked at 3 Michelin star restaurant in France. A perfect ending to a perfect stay!

See you on the slow boat to the Gilis!

Lots of love

Karen and Paul

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Nicky on

Swooning away myself from your descriptions. Blessed be the Mantas XXX

Janet on

Hey...I got goose bumps reading your story...diving with the mantas is a wish yet to come for true for me (but I am working on it)...so glad you experienced it...take care xx

mom on

So glad you had a great time x

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