The dives just beyond the reef line east of the northern part of Tanjung Benoa peninsula, or in front of Sanur, are are not the best in Bali. But the sites are easy to get to, and there is quite a good variety of reef fish to see. These dives serve perfectly as a quick refresher if you haven't dived in a while, or as your first dive if you just completed a dive course. (See map page 98.) An outboard-powered outrigger canoe takes you the few hundred meters from the beach to the dive location, just beyond where the waves break. The only way out is over very shallow reef flat, so the tide must be in to make the trip. Be prepared for a bit of spray during the ride out or back and when crossing the (usually low) breaking waves. On the reef face off Tanjung Benoa, we dropped down to 8-9 meters on a slightly sloping bottom with scattered coral formations. Visibility (late september) was just 6-8 meters, but we were told that it is usually twice this.The majority of the fish were at 8-10 meters. We made a couple of quick dips to 14 meters, and saw nothing.
Good Variety of Fish
The coral cover here is not fantastic, but the few mini-pinnacles drew plentiful fish life with a good variety of species. We saw several 50-75 centimeter fish glide by, but visibility was too restricted to make an identification. Our guide found a giant moray and pointed him out to us.This big fellow lives in a coral cave with several openings, and for a while he played hide and seek, popping his head out of three different holes.We saw a fairly large group of yellowtail fusiliers, a nicely compacted hovering mass of blue lined snappers, a few red bigeyes and several small aggregations of bigeye soldierfish.
Fairy basslets hovered over almost every coral outcrop Damsels were present in a variety of species. The butterfly fish were well-represented, but the only schooling species we saw was a small group of masked bannerfish (Heniochus monoceros). Groupers were common especially the white-lined grouper (Anyperodon leucogrammicus) which we saw in both color morphs: white, and brown-green.
Parrotfish were present in good variety, but the only species we noticed more than once was the blue-barred parrot (Scarus ghobban). The only angelfish we saw were the dwarf bicolor angel (Centropyge bicolor) and several big emperor angels. Surgeonfish were common, particularly the spotted unicorn fish (Naso brevirostris). We saw pairs of rabbitfish of at least three species, and a single pair of Titan triggerfish.
A Feeding Frenzy
The highlight of the dive came when we saw a furious cloud of several dozen fish of various species whirling around what looked like a bare patch of dark reddish coral. Caught up in a feeding frenzy, the small fist, allowed us to approach as close as we wished. We could even touch them, they were so intent on their meal. We never did identify what it was they were eating although it is likely it was a fresh spawn of some kind. Dives off Nusa Dua will probably not offer such a show very often, but are still worth making for the variety of fish here. The reef to the north, off the Sanur coast, is similar-wide tidal flats behind the reef front, and access is also impossible at the lowest tide. The variety of fishes is quite good in Sanur, but there is even less coral cover than at Nusa Dua. If you are a serious diver, either of these dives will just whet your appetite for more challenging locations.