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Dive Review of Sea Rovers, Pemuteran/Adi Assri Beach Cottages in
Indonesia/Bali--Pemuteran/Menjangan

Sea Rovers, Pemuteran/Adi Assri Beach Cottages, Sep, 2009,

by Lee The', CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 5392.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving California, Canada, Mexico, Caymans, BVI, Hawaii, Florida, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 71 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions depends on your demonstrated expertise. My wife and I were free to dive our own profile as long as we kept the dive guide in sight, pretty much. My wife has a 20m depth limit for medical reasons & they were able to accommodate that.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments The boats are a pair of six packs with powerful twin outboard motors (40hpx2, 80hpx2); the main photo facilities on those boats is those motors--you're back at the dive shop in no time, and it has good facilities, as does the shore facility at Secret Bay. The longest boat trip--to Menjangan Island--is still only about 30 min. each way, with lunch on the island.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I consider Indonesia the best diving on Earth for experienced divers like my wife & me (over 400 dives each)--but until now I didn't know of much for newbies, or for veteran divers who want a relaxed dive trip. Now I know: Pemuteran on Bali.

Pemuteran is a fishing village near the NW corner of the island, fairly near Menjangan Island, which is an underwater park. It has sandy beaches and modest surf. Tulamben, hours to the east but also on the drier north side of the island, has a shore of rocky rubble that's far more challenging for entry/exit in dive gear. And the other main area, in the SW, a bay with Padang Bai at the south end and Candidasa at the north, is pretty much all boat diving--and that is mainly high voltage diving. Fun but hairy. Though there is an easy divesite in the bay itself.

Pemutaran is also mostly boat diving--but the diving's on nice coral reefs that are mostly just 5-10 min. boat rides to the sites (again, in nice, clean, fast, Western-style six-packs with enough roof for white people to stay out of the sun). The shore diving is on sandy flats nearby, with a short swim to a pier on the right with some small coral bommies (a few feet high) nearby. The pier and the bommies have a remarkable variety of small fish/critters--leafy sea dragons, pipefish, lionfish, schools of razorfish, nudibranchs etc. Easy entry/exit, easy diving except for somewhat limited viz, shallow--perfect for newbies, but also rewarding for UW photographers, and good for night dives. And it's all a short swim from shore.

The nearby boat-dive reefs are more rewarding, with better viz, and lots of smallish fish (this is a fishing village, mind you). A few decades ago fishermen bombed the reefs and caught everything, but an Aussie divemaster moved here and organized a successful reef rescue/restoration operation, and now the diving is good. It's not Raja Ampat, but it's vastly easier/cheaper to get to, and a lot safer as well.

One revelation was that the six pack boat Sea Rovers uses for Menjangan is so much faster than the boats that shuttle there from the nearest mainland port that the overall trip takes the same length of time. That was a revelation. I've gone to Menjangan on the locals' boats, and Sea Rover's is vastly preferable even though it's smaller.

Note that the seas are so calm even those prone to sea sickness won't have much trouble. The only bumpy part of the ride is a few minutes in the channel between Bali and Menjangan.

Menjangan itself may be the prettiest underwater landscape around Bali. It even has some larger fish. It's worth going there several times on a trip. Each trip is a two tank dive with lunch on the little island (which has a bathroom of sorts). It usually has better viz too. Temperature is usually around 80 degrees here and at Pemuteran.

Another surprise was Secret Bay, near Gilimanuk, about a half hour drive from Pemuteran. This cold (71 degrees), murky bay covered with lettuce-ey algae and sea urchins is a nice muck diving habitat with decent shore facilities for suiting up, rinsing stuff afterward, and using a decent bathroom. The muck diving isn't Lembeh, but it was sure worth two tanks, with frogfish, pipefish, unusual nudibranchs, Bangai cardinals, cuttlefish, catfish and a lot more, much of it adapted to the unusual environment. Bring a hood and 2mm vest for this excursion in addition a 5mm suit, as I did, and you'll be comfortable.

For the best description of diving around Bali and the fish and critters you're most likely to see in different places, get the Periplus Bali dive book. Just note that Tulamben diving isn't as good now as when we first started going to Bali. Pemuteran seems to have gotten better.

Sea Rovers is the most recent dive operator to open in the Pemuteran area. Most of the others, such as the famous German-oriented Werner Lau operation, are on the far side of the small fishing village from Sea Rovers and Adi Assri Bungalows. Adi Assri has a nice restaurant (with both Western and Indonesian food), beautiful grounds right on the ocean--even an infinity pool plus a regular swimming pool. If you want to along the beach to the other places, you have to pick your way through the boats and anchor lines of the fishing fleet's beached boats. Takes about 15-20 minutes. Or you can go up to the road. You don't need a car.

Consistent with the relaxed nature of the place, Sea Rovers' default assumption is that you'll be doing 2 boat dives a day, plus maybe a third shore dive. But you can arrange more diving easily, including night dives. They're pretty flexible. Paul, the Scottish expat who runs the place, sometimes provides the divemastering; sometimes one of his Balinese divemasters does. Either way they're there mainly to keep you safe, and they'll also find stuff, though not as intensely as if you were on a liveaboard.

A mountain range divides the north side of the island from the rest of Bali. We were there in late September, as a rainstorm (a little early for the season) was drenching most of Bali, while we were sunny and dry. The wind blows constantly through Pemuteran, keeping things cooler and bug-free. Apart from the other dive resorts' restaurants, there's not much to do in Pemuteran itself, and it's about a 4 hour drive from the cultural capital, Ubud, where we went for the last 3 days of our trip, staying at Cendana Resort as usual. OTOH Adi Assri has Internet--even wireless in the rooms if you want to pay for it; or you can use the internet cafe by the reception area for free.

It takes about 4 hours between Ubud and Pemuteran, and you can do it without climbing hills if your body's saturated with nitrogen.

Our September trip cost us $1,900 each for a 2 week vacation with a week and a half of two tank a day boat diving. That includes absolutely everything (including airfare, staying at 3 star resorts, diving, transfers, all meals, tips--everything) except for gear rental (we brought our own). They had good-quality rental gear there.

The shortest flight to Bali is via Taipei--either China Air or EVA. EVA's nicer, China Air's cheaper (actually it's usually the cheapest to Bali regardless of route).

Note that there's a huge amount of things to do in Bali, especially if you're based in Ubud. And the Balinese genuinely like American tourists (they don't get the Americans who go to Cancun to party). Plus Bali's the safest, most bang-for-the-buck place you can go to on a dive trip, thanks to its highly socially cohesive Hindu society. And it's easy to pick up a little Indonesian. Pronunciation is closer to English and Spanish than to Chinese and related tonal languages.

We haven't wanted to go back to the Caribbean since we discovered Indonesia in general and Bali in particular. And you're in no danger from terrorists. The Balinese hate them with a fiery passion, and the only place they'd try to strike is the tourist ghetto in Kuta, at the opposite end of the island. We've been to Bali six times in the last decade, and we've never felt the need to go to Kuta.

If anyone has particular questions, contact me through Undercurrent.

We plan to go back to Pemuteran, and to definitely use Sea Rovers.

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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