Snorkeling and Fishing in Candi Dasa, East Bali by Phil Bromley

I don’t generally put up other people’s writing on the Baliblog (nor do I intend to make it a habit) but in the case of a Baliblog Forum member, Phil Bromley, who recently returned from Bali, so impressed was I with his account regarding his stay in Candi Dasa and the fabulous fotos that I wanted to share the article with you.

Snorkeling and Fishing in Candi Dasa, East Bali

On this our first visit to Bali, my wife and I stayed for three weeks in a charming, modestly priced bungalow at the Eastern end of Candidasa, just past the lagoon. Sindhu Brata Bungalows are set in well kept gardens with tall coconut trees, red hibiscus, bougainvilla and fragrant frangipani, right by the sea shore and completely away from any traffic noise. From our verandah we had a wonderful view of the ocean and the island Nusa Penida, and on most afternoons a gentle cooling breeze came off the ocean. Large black and orange butterflies fluttered around the gardens, and swallows, land crabs, geckoes and frogs all added to the atmosphere.

This was an ideal spot from which to explore East Bali. A warung on the corner of the main road and the little lane leading to the bungalows served excellent inexpensive meals, and staged Balinese Legong dances every evening.

East Bali is a wonderful area for snorkeling, with good visibility, warm 30 degree water, striking coral reefs and a multitude of colourful fish. Most of the snorkeling can be done straight off the beach, but one can also negotiate with the operators of the many outrigger canoes powered by small outboard motors to be taken from Candi Dasa to an offshore reef or across to Blue Lagoon (Padang Bai) or White Sands (Pasir Putih) beach. From the lagoon, and stretching half a kilometre to the East, concrete breakwaters have been setup about 25 metres offshore. Coral reefs have sprung up on the shoreward side of these structures. So at low tide we had some good snorkeling right on our doorstep, with many types of reef fish to be seen, and the occasional big blue trevally. When you suddenly see all the reef fish dashing off in one direction, you can be sure that a big trevally is on the prowl nearby! One can hire snorkeling gear from boatmen, bungalows or dive shops, but you might consider bringing your own if luggage space permits.

Several times we went out at dawn in an outrigger canoe, trolling mackerel on handlines for the gamefish known to the locals as Mahi Mahi. This was very exciting, as these powerful green and gold fish repeatedly jump out of the water when hooked. It was magical to be out at first light, gazing at the hilly coastline dominated by Gunung Agung, waiting expectantly for a strike. These Mahi Mahi are very good to eat, and both the boatman and the staff at the bungalows were willing to cook the fish we caught.

On our arrival, a local man Wayan Seog introduced himself, and arranged for us to go on snorkeling and fishing trips with his cousin Nangah Yogi. He also arranged trekking trips for us with Nyoman Sayang – we walked in the Sideman and Kastala–Tenganan areas, along beautiful valleys with rice terraces, streams and forests. Butterflies of many different colours and red dragon flies were plentiful. Nyoman is knowledgeable about many aspects of Balinese life, and took us on trips to the spectacular Lake Tabur, to Ubud, Klungkung and Tirtagangga. We also went to Jemeluk and Bunatan (just past Amed), where diverse coral formations extended over wide areas, and the water was extremely clear. We saw a lot of reef fish there which we hadn’t come across before, many big parrot fish, some stingrays and trevally, and shoals of blue and silver fish about a foot long, swimming near the surface.

I look forward so much to our next visit to the blue waters of East Bali.

Cheers, Phil Bromley

Click on this link to see some photos