Have you ever been to Menjangan island in Bali? Often overlooked due to the popularity of Tulamben on the NE coast (home to the Liberty Wreck) Menjangan is a small island on the NW of Bali that features some wonderful wide angle diving opportunities such as soft coral covered slopes and fantastic hard coral gardens. There are also some interesting surface interval activities such as photographing the huge Ganesha statue or hiking up to the coral temple where locals often come for ceremonies. If wildlife is more your concern, Menjangan is known for hosting a population of wild deer which can be seen with a short walk around the island. When diving here we like to stay in the Pemuteran area, which is also close to the famous muck dive Puri Jati, so divers get a great combination of large and small while diving in north Bali.
One of my favourite inhabitants of the underwater world is the octopus. Non divers may think of octopus as just “octopus?!?!” an item they see photos of from time to time or else as some sort of culinary item (not recommended!) However, to the well informed people (by this I mean those of us who scuba dive 😉 ) octopus are one of the most sought after encounters to be had. These long legged mollusks are one of the most intelligent “non mammals” on the planet and an encounter with one is always a treat to any diver. Having the opportunity to sit and watch one of these wily critters is always fun, especially if the octopus in question is up to something (hunting, house building, general tomfoolery such as attacking cameras)
In Bali, one of the best places to encounter octopus is the dive site Puri Jati (also known as PJs) which is located on the north side of the island, not to too far from Lovina. The species which can be found here are some of the most sought after for underwater photographers: mimic, long arm, and coconut octopus, I won’t bother with the scientific names! Last week, I was in north Bali teaching an underwater photography class with a student who was learning both wide angle and macro photography techniques. However, as part of his class he wanted to have a day in between so he could practice techniques without me, no problem I thought, I will go diving! So I did, and am I ever happy I did that. I took a wander down to Puri Jati and jumped in for two dives, a total of close to 200 minutes with a max depth of about 10 metres (30 feet) in nice warm water. It turned out to be a very octopussy sort of day, with 7 different individuals of 3 different species with half of them being “players”. The best two encounters were with a small mimic octopus and a large coconut octopus who were dueling for my attention. The coconut had a great home that he was transporting around (coconut shell and clam shell) while the mimic was out for a jaunt and poking his tentacles into every crevice looking for a meal. I spent over an hour just watching and photographing these two individuals and came back with some fantastic photos. I have posted one here, but the others are a part of another project so can’t be posted quite yet.
After four months in Canada, the longest I have spent there since 2004(!), I have now returned to Bali and finally have some internet going. I will be posting here a lot more regularly from now on as life gets itself organized in a somewhat less hectic fashion over the coming months. One thing I can say, Bali is a lot warmer than Vancouver and I definitely need to reacclimatize as I seem to sweat way more than before, AC is now my best friend! I will head off to north Bali tomorrow to go diving with the Underwater Tribe and we will be posting about our adventures here as well as on the Underwater Tribe Facebook and Twitter pages, its a good time to subscribe to those if you haven’t already as we will soon be posting quite actively. Tomorrow will be my first dive since October, my longest time out of the water in about 10 years! Hopefully I recall how to do it 🙂 We will be checking out some new dive spots and some key land photography areas as well, stay tuned!