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Dive Review of Dive Concepts in

Dive Concepts: "Overview Sampler of Bali Diving", Apr, 2020,

by Mark Magers, CA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 28 Helpful votes). Report 11467 has 4 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The last leg on an extended trip to SE Asia centered on Bali and diving. We scheduled 2 months in the area, 1/2 of it planned, hoping for recommendations from locals for the 2nd half. Worked swimmingly until the coronavirus appeared, eliminating our last 4 weeks as we scrambled to get back to the US before all travel options shut down. So this is a review of what we were able to do while on Bali.

We worked with a dive organizer / dive operation, Dive Concepts. We signed up for an 11-day "dive safari", starting in the NW at Pemuteran, moving to Tulamben / Amed, and ending up on Nusa Lembongan, an island off the SE coast of Bali. Right up front, we were totally happy what the support of Dive Concepts, and in particular our contact, Sylvia. She made the total difference in making this a good experience. The safari was completely customizable - how many days and dives in each location, usually with a choice between a couple of accommodations (with/ without air conditioning, hot water, breakfast). They arranged all transport between the locations as well.

At the beginning of our time on Bali, we spent some time in Denpasar / Kuta, where many tourists go. It is overrun with people and traffic, though over the course of 3 weeks and the coronavirus, we saw it go from choked to near ghost town. Our take is to get out of Denpasar as fast as you can. A van picked us up in Kuta and took us the 4 hours to Pemuteran. We checked in to Arjuna Homestay, a very nice hotel next door to the dive operation, Dive Concepts. We did 2 dives off of Menjangan National Park, and 2 in Pemuteran Bay. The vis was decent, but not great. We saw lots of nudibranchs, a cool electric clam, many lovely anemones, a big, free-swimming lions mane jelly and a pygmy seahorse. We missed 2 frogfish that the DM found, alas.

After 2 days diving, we drove east to Tulamben, where we checked in to Puri Aries Guesthouse. It is basically a hostel, with many young people sitting around staring at their phones when not diving. It would close without wifi. We lasted a few hours in our room, although in fact we had to endure 2 nights there due to availability at the alternative. We moved Day 3 to a place called Manibali Bungalows, a paradise compared to the other spot. Nice pool, private bungalow, Bali-style bathroom (open roof, outdoor shower, etc.). Avoid Puri Aries.

Diving at Tulamben was amazing, what we had hoped for from Indonesia. Good visibility, interesting creatures. Dove 3 days, and did the WWII Liberty wreck twice, an easy shore dive. Saw bumphead parrotfish, large grouper, many schools of smaller fish, in addition to the wreck itself. Two shore dives at Batu Belah, which was great for muck diving. Mantis shrimp, leaf scorpionfish, seahorse, nudibranchs galore, several types of morays. And good vis. The 2 dives at Amed were OK, out of a very small but cool outrigger fishing boat. Titan triggerfish, many large barrel sponges, an octopus, a turtle, more nudis. The coral was not healthy, alas.

Next stop was Nusa Lembongan - - another 2 hour van trip to the fastboat ferry (there is a slow one, too!) out of Sanur, near Denpasar. We brought our own gear, and needed to replace a couple of things, so the driver took us to Bali Dive Shop on the way, which had a huge selection, good choice if you need something. At this point we were wearing face masks and hand-sanitizing everything, our seats on the ferry, etc. We stayed at Sukanusa Luxury Huts. They were very nice, and our unit had a small private dip pool which was a great way to beat the heat. The room was upstairs, the bathroom and shower downstairs, so if stairs are an issue, be aware.

The Dive Concepts shop was near where the ferry drops you (you have to wade out to the fastboat, and again to shore on the other end, again, be aware). The highlights of 4 dives here were Manta Point, where we watched at least 5 mantas cruising back and forth, very close, and a site called SD, with literally acres of staghorn corals. Stunning. We also did a drift dive at Mangrove, with a ripping current. Lots of fish, we would go back to Lembongan again.

Note, in general Dive Concepts expects you to do much of the work, setting up your gear, carrying gear to and from dive locations (we walked down the road with gear to some of the shore dives) or boat. Not a big deal but this is not "concierge" diving. Again, just be aware. That said, the price is great, something like $25-ish USD per dive.

As mentioned above, we had hoped to get to Lombok/ Gili Islands and Flores/Komodo, but on our last day on Nusa Lembongan, they shut down the fastboats to other islands (virus concerns), and we got an email saying our flight back to California 1 month hence had been cancelled. So we headed back to Ubud, by way of Kuta, where we thought we would spend a week doing some cultural things like gamelan and traditional dance, and seeing a temple or two. In the taxi on our way, after the ferry ride, we got an email from the next airbnb spot saying they were cancelling all reservations due to the virus. We headed back to the Best Western we had stayed at before. We made new flight reservations for the next day, deciding it was time to get out of Dodge. Went to the airport the next day, and after 4 hours were told Taipei, our connection point, had closed flights for in-transit passengers (us). Over the course of about 5 days, the US Consulate on Bali went from "suspension of consular activities" to evacuating consulate dependents to Level 4, which is "leave now unless you want to stay in Indonesia for an undetermined amount of time."

The NEXT day was a holiday on Bali, Nyepi, or Day of Silence. The island shuts down. They put plastic on the fronts of business, the Best Western completely closed the entrance to the hotel with blue plastic tarps. Everything is closed, no flights out allowed. And then the Bali governor mandated a second day of closures (virus). We got out the very next day, on yet a different (our 3rd) reservation, to Jakarta, then Tokyo, then Honolulu, thinking there were fewer cases in Hawaii than California. Now in Day 5 of the mandatory 14-day (but self-monitored) quarantine, happy to be here, and having learned a lot about the pace of change when something like this coronavirus happens. Stay safe!
Websites Dive Concepts   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving GBR, Thailand, Indonesia, Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Cuba, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, US
Closest Airport DPS Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 81-86°F / 27-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Follow DM, nitrox depth limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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