Indian ocean

MENJANGAN: Diving in the shadow of the volcanoes

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There’s an anchorage between Bali – opposite the big nature reserve – and Menjangan, which is also recognized as a nature reserve. Given the location of the anchorage, you could be forgiven for thinking that the spot where we were dropping anchor would be fairly calm and protected from the wind and the swell. Because up to that time, I would not have put Indonesia in my top ten of calm and swell-protected world anchorages!  

We arrived just before night fell, avoiding an outcrop of a reef and finding a perfect spot between the island and the mainland. The sun had practically disappeared. The water still seemed translucent to me though: I have a feeling that tomorrow’s dive could be something special...

After a good night’s sleep there was an early surprise for us. A strange animal had just passed in front of our bows in the water. Was it a deer? It was indeed, and it was taking the maritime route to Bali, which was a distance of around 800m (half a mile). It certainly wasn’t something that you see every day, and even more surprising was how well he could swim!


Anchorage / Position:

This anchorage is not a fake as so many are in Indonesia! It is also well-protected. The seabed is made up of fairly dense sand, but the anchor seemed to get a good hold in depths of 15m (50’) or so.

The exact position we anchored in was: 08º 05.917’S / 114º30.011’E

There was still a little bit of current (surprise, surprise…), reaching about 2 knots in this particular bottleneck.


Things to see and do:

The seabed was magnificent. Perfectly clear water, healthy corals and a multitude of fish. You can go ashore on Menjangan, although we weren’t aware that it wasn’t free. It’s a national park, and the guards aren’t very used to dealing with boats that turn up with their own dinghies…

It costs around 200,000 rupees (or around $20) per person. When the forest guard showed us the tickets, we told him that we didn’t have any rupees on us. He let us go but told us not to come back to the island.


Weather Check:

What can I say? I’m not sure if forecasting the weather is of any use around here. Anything can happen, especially close to the land. The mountains create a Venturi effect and the winds tend to follow the coastline, at least that is when they are actually blowing. The current, which is difficult to anticipate, doesn’t help. In the monsoon season it is quite common to experience big squalls and torrential rains. Generally, before November/December, conditions are relatively comfortable. However, you will need to be able to fall back on your engines.

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