8 kilometres off the north west coast in Barat National Park lies Deer Island, or Menjangan, one of the more popular Bali scuba diving destinations. Due to its protected location, waves are rarely a problem and the visibility is occasionally mind blowing.
Menjangan's walls drop down to 30 metres on the south coast and 60 metres to the east. They are decorated with an enormous proliferation of gorgonian fans, pink, purple, green, yellow, orange, and some very large specimens too. You can find minute yellow and pink pygmy seahorses, especially around the 25 metres depth.
The walls are scarred with many nooks and crannies, caverns and overhangs, covered with soft corals and sponges. It's an excellent diving opportunity to look for black-spotted moray eels and ribbon eels. Often you'll find hingebeak shrimps and cleaner shrimps waiting at the crag openings for passing clients. Coral trout arrive, mouths agape to have their teeth cleaned of parasites and small food incrustations by transparent palaemonid shrimp.
Ever-curious roundface batfish, cuttlefish and Picasso and titan triggerfish are often seen here, as are gold-striped and giant fuseliers.
The north side of the island holds the infrequently visited Anker Wreck, a 25 metre long 19th century wooden ship, that carried ceramics and copper. A large coral-encrusted anchor in 5 metres of water marks the location of the wreck at the top of the reef edge. Follow the wall down to 30 metres depth. The bow of the wreck lies at the bottom of the wall and whip corals and gorgonians. The deepest section is the stern at 50 metres, and this is home to white-tip reef sharks.
All diving trips to Menjangan leave from Labuhan Lalang, a small jetty on the Bali mainland. 8 metre simple park service boats must be used for transportation to the island.
Menjangan Reef Basics: Walls and wreck dive, excellent visibility
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 40m
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 26 - 28°C
Experience level: Beginner - Advanced
Number of dive sites: 9
Diving season: All year round, but can be choppy in August
Distance: ~110 km northwest of Kuta (3 hours)
Access: Bali dive resorts
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