Crystal Bay dive site

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Crystal Bay dive site and the Mola Mola

Crystal Bay dive site is a world class dive site. It is indeed one of the few places in the world where you can meet the Mola Mola very regularly, between July and October. And some years even earlier. In 2019, Warnakali instructors spotted their first Mola Mola in Nusa Penida underwater in February.

The Mola Mola, or moonfish, has the particularity to grow until the end of its life. It can reach 3 to 4 meters in diameter and weigh more than one ton. It will come up from very deep following the upwellings that bring with them nutrients. The upwelling is a phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water. 

At Crystal Bay dive site, your best chance to meet the Mola Mola is after what is called the second corner, behind the islet in the middle of Crystal Bay. But you must be very attentive to tearing or down currents that can be violent. It is therefore essential to follow an experienced guide knowing perfectly well the dive site and to respect his instructions.

Mola Mola Crystal Bay dive site Warnakali dive center Nusa Penida

Mola Mola

Crystal Bay, an aquarium in Nusa Penida

Even when it is note the season for Mola Mola, Crystal Bay dive site is an amazing dive site. It consists of 2 distinct parts. The left part and the right part are separated by a band of sand that goes down to 30 to 40 meters. It continues to the middle of the channel that separates Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan.

The left side of the site (to the southwest) is an ideal coral plateau for discovery dives. You can admire a lot of color, a lot of diversity of coral and fish. It is a beautiful dive site to discover with a shallow depth that meets the criteria of PADI standards.

The right part of the site (towards the islet in the middle of the bay) is the starting point to go and search for the Mola Mola.

Crystal Bay is also one of the snorkeling spot of Nusa Penida and it is worth to pay a visit to the beach after the dive. And after the beach to Amok sunset to have a drink or eat some nice food.

The Crystal Bay Wildlife

Crystal Bay dive site offers the opportunity to see a wide variety of corals and fish such as surgeon fish, butterfly fish, rabbit fish and sergeant fish.

We may also meet moray eels including the very cute and small moray ribbon. You can see regularly turtles, and sometimes even bamboo sharks and manta rays. Macro lovers will not be disappointed either. They may see Zanzibar shrimps, Thor shrimps, porcelain crabs and many varieties of nudibranchs.

Turtle Crystal Bay dive site Warnakali dive center Nusa Penida

Turtle at Crystal Bay

The two corners of Crystal Bay dive site

There are many ways to enjoy your dive at Crystal Bay dive site. A very simple route, for less experienced divers, is to leave the boat at the left of the islet located in the middle of the bay. Then stay a little bit on the plateau and reach by a gentle slope what is called the first corner. This corner is the first rock of the island that forms an angle and protects the bay from the current. Without exceeding the first corner, the dive ends by returning to the protected part of the bay.

The canyons of Crystal Bay

More confirmed divers, with the good guide, will go beyond the first corner. The slope becomes like a spine of coral that sinks very deeply. Currents can be strong which is the opportunity to see big trevallies and a very colorful coral vegetation.

Going up the slope on the right leads you to three canyons. There is often surf but the canyons are still very preserved because few divers go there. They are very rich in macro, there are beautiful colors and you can observe very beautiful fish in small groups.

Ghost Boxer Shrimp Crystal Bay dive site Warnakali dive center Nusa Penida

Ghost Boxer Shrimp

The famous second corner of Crystal Bay dive site

Continuing along the wall, without going up to the canyons, you will reach what is called the second corner. This is where we can most often see the Mola Mola, in the blue. But the currents can be very violent and it is imperative to follow an experienced guide.

In general, we go back to the right side of the coral reef which goes back to the Crystal Bay islet. And we finish the dive sheltered from the currents, in the bay.

How to dive at Crystal Bay

You can dive at Crystal Bay with Warnakali dive center during a discovery dive, a  PADI certification course or, if you are certified, during a fun dive.

The characteristics of Crystal Bay dive site

Type of diving: diving, photography, marine biology, training, technical, deep

Depth: 10 to 40 meters

Level required: for all levels (with the right guide and according to the conditions)

Visibility: 20-40 meters

Current: moderate to very strong, unpredictable, downward

Access: Boat

Temperatures: 18 to 28 °

Fauna and Flora: Mola Mola, turtle, shark, check fish, striped knitted snake, moray eels …

Best time: All year