What a year 2017 has been for diving Lembongan and Twin Island Dive.
2017 marks a large landmark for Twin Island Dive. 2017 was our 2nd full year of running and our 1st high season, diving Lembongan, with our new team team. With the exciting new team, an amazingly busy high season and wonderful underwater sights, 2017 has brought joy to so many, while diving Lembongan. Over the next few weeks, we are going to be looking at the highlights of the year.
This first blog will be looking at the underwater creatures we found while diving Lembongan in 2017.
As we are a dive centre and diving is our biggest joy, we are going to look at the crazy underwater creatures spotted throughout the year!
The manta rays that we spot while diving Lembonan, are here all year round. 2017 did not break this cycle. With many trips to both Manta Bay and Manta Point throughout the year, we were able to introduce many people to these beautiful, friendly giants. Sightings of the manta rays, while diving Lembongan and Penida, were pretty consistent, with about a 70% success rate. In saying that though, at the end of November, when the currents turned, the manta rays disappeared for a week or two.
One dive trip, while diving Lembongan, that stood out, during the year, was a trip to Manta Bay:
The boat was fill of divers and snorkelers headed to Manta Bay with Bryce and Kipp. The boat slowly made its way around the bay area, looking to spot any manta rays feeding at the surface. Some manta rays were spotted, so the boat was stopped and the divers and snorkelers started to prepare for entering the water.
Within a few minutes, everyone was in the water and had had the chance to spot the manta rays. After spending some time, around 5 meters, with the manta rays, the diving groups started to head out of the bay area, to deeper waters.
Not long after this, away from the other divers and snorkelers, our divers got some great personal encounters with a few very big manta rays, which were being cleaned by reef fish.
After a nice sighting of a banned sea snake, the groups started to head shallower. A few more passing mantas were spotted, but it was Kipp’s fast and loud tank banging that caught everyone off guard. Everyone looked to see what Kipp was pointing out and within seconds, all of us understood Kipp’s excitement. A pod of dolphins came gliding past the divers. We all had the chance to have a good look at the pod of about 10 dolphins as the breezed past.
Another very famous creature that is spotted around the islands of Lembongan and Penida is the mola. The mola is a seasonal creature, that is spotted between the months of June and October. 2016 was a very slow year for the molas, with both Kipp and Bryce, not seeing any throughout the full year. But, 2017 was very different!
Even though the season started a little later than normal, (with our first mola not being spotted until middle of July.) it turned out to be a great mola season. Once, we spotted our first, the molas just kept coming, through the full season and even a cheeky mola being spotted in December.
The molas were sighted all over the north coast of Penida, Crystal Bay and through the channel between Penida and Ceningan. During a dive a Gamat Bay, at 25 meters, 3 molas were spotted together, cleaning.
The waters around Lembongan are not so known for dolphins and when the dolphins are seen from the boat, they do not stick around for long. 2017 was a little bit different. Not only were many different pods of dolphins seen while on the way to and from dive sites but we also had a few underwater encounters. Bryce was lucky to see 2 different pods of dolphins, underwater, on 2 different dives, in the same week!
There was an even greater dolphin encounter during 2017… During a dive at Crystal Bay, a few other dive centres spotted a pod of dolphins playing around with a whale shark underwater.
Lemobngan is very much known for it’s large creatures. A lot of divers come to the area to dive with the manta rays and the molas. Lembongan and Penida also have a lot of cool little creatures that we find around the dive sites.
Some of our favorite little creatures that we like to look out for, while diving are:
These hairy crabs can be found in a few different types of soft corals, that are common on the north coast of Penida. Orangutan Crabs are named for their hairy orange bodies, that resemble that of an orangutan monkey.
Hairy Squat Lobsters:
These hairy lobster are found running up and down the outside of barrel sponges. The north coast of Nusa Penida, has many large barrel sponges, which provides many places to look for these creatures. Squat lobsters are smaller versions of what you may think of as a normal lobster. Squat lobsters normally grow up to 7 millimetres.
‘Sexy shrimp’ is the common name for this shrimp, but mostly referred to as squat shrimp. The name ‘sexy shrimp’ comes from the way this shrimp moves it’s tail. It moves its tail in the way a dancer would move her butt in the club.