Culture and coral waters Easy thrills for the novice Challenges for the serious diver and photographer
There is no better place than Bali for an introduction to Indonesia's underwater wonderland. And no harder place to decide between time on land or under water. In the traditional tourist stronghold of the Kuta/Nusa Dua/Sanur triangle, divers have a reef at their doorstep. It is a moderate drop; an undemanding dive made thrilling by a surprising range of fish.
There is more at Nusa Pendita, 1.5 hours away by boat. Upwellings mean good visibility, bracing waters and challenging currents. Abundant and varied hard corals hug drop-offs and steep slopes rife with sweetlips, mantas and sharks. Lucky divers may glimpse the bizarre and rare oceanic sunfish and hawksbill turtles.
But the best of Bali's waters lie beyond the tourist triangle. Discover Titan triggerfish and bluespotted stingrays in Padang Bai's mixed reef; coral walls of an underwater canyon at Candi Dasa; a kaleidoscope of fish at Cemeluk's coastal reef; friendly fish at Tulamben's picturesque Liberty Wreck and craggy reef walls blanketed by soft coral in Menjangan's mind-snapping clear waters.
Hard-core divers can escape the established dive zones with a hired boat. A long ride north brings them to the Kangean islands, to a world of coral knolls rising from sandy beds.
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