Nusa Penida Dive.
17 Aug 2017
It was a rainy, off-season day when I first dove Malibu Point (see map 4.4, pg. 177). Our boat was underpowered, and the ride from the mainland had been long and wet. Wally had been telling me about this site for years, and I was anxious to dive it. Actually, with the brooding clouds making early afternoon look like dust, and great swirls of current showing off Semaya, I was just plain anxious, period.
Malibu Point is the best place to see sharks off Nusa Penida. Not just reef white tips, oddballs like the little Port Jackson shark, and even big open water requiem sharks. I don’t get particularly nervous around sharks, and I like to see them while diving as much as the next person. But the day was so dark, and the water so cold, that I didn’t really mind when a strong eddy thwarted our efforts to reach the rocky slope where the sharks congregate. An oceanic white-tip would be an exhilarating sight (I’ve never seen one underwater) but it’s a different kind of exhilaration if your visibility is a mere five meters of gloom.
On a good day, Malibu Point is one of the nicest sites on the island. The reef has a lot of the character of the North Coast, expect that the structure is much more interesting , with big, rich bommies extending down to twenty five meters. It is a bit like Toyapakeh in this regard, but it is also somehow wilder, with great school of jacks and rainbow runners, and dogtooth tuna. And, of course, the sharks. There are more giant reef rays ( taeniurameyeni) here than anywhere else we’ve dived, although they are not uncommon along the North Coast either. Visibility is always good at Malibu, at least twenty meters (if, that is, it isn’t pouring rain).
Wally pioneered this site in 1987, and named it after the dive shop in Rockingham, south of perth, Australia, where he worked for a while and took his advanced dive master training. For many years the members of this outfit made an annual pilgrimage to this site. The heart of the Malibu reef, and the “point” itself, is off the village of Suana. Because of the bommies, this area is almost always diveable, since you can seek shelter within the structure. In fact, a one or two-knot current is probably ideal here, with enough movement to keep the fish interested, but not enough to cause a diver problems.
TRICKY, BUT WORTH IT
The difficulty arises when you head southeast to where the sharks can be found. Sharks seem to prefer rough, exposed areas, and Malibu is no exception. The bottom becomes barren and rubbly here. The sharks are found in a reasonable depth, fifteen to thirty meters, and you do not want to go deeper. Nor, in fact, do you want to go as far as the second point under any circumstances.
The point past the shark area is so current swept that the bottom will not even hold sand. Be very, very careful here, and if the current is strong, stay in the bommies and don’t bother looking for the sharks. The current at the point is always four or even five knots, and it will catapult you off the point and into the strait itself. Currents through the narrows, a mere five kilometers away, can reach seven knots, a speed not every boat can keep up with. Do not end up there.