Annabel Thomas at www.AquaMarineDiving.com
Secret Bay is about 2km wide and very shallow (3-12m). It contains two small islands and has some areas of mangrove. Secret Bay is the only bay off the narrow Bali Strait, where currents can reach 7 knots. A reef lying just outside the mouth of the bay creates a channel through which these waters flow, and this is what makes Gilimanuk an extremely interesting dive site. Strong tidal currents mean that Secret Bay's fish and invertebrates are extremely healthy, colourful and well-fed (and that the water here is colder at Bali's other dive sites, about 25 degrees). Entering the bay from the channel the bottom is fine black volcanic sand. The channel contains no coral although the sides are scattered with bommies full of angel fish, butterfly fish, schools of razor fish and tiny reef fish, including cardinal fish and multitudes of damselfish. The best time to dive is on an incoming tide or around high tide, it doesn’t matter if it is early or late in the day, as the bay will have filled with clear water from the Bali Strait. Gilimanuk Bay contains many rare macro-photography subjects, including nudibranches, gobies, crustaceans, dragonets, abundant seahorses and pipefish, juvenile Batavia batfish, large areas of long-spined sea urchins with clingfish, and many other organisms. At other sites it is difficult to see juvenile marine life as they hide to avoid predators. However as the bay is shallow and there are very few large fish juveniles in Secret Bay have very little to hide from. Night diving at Secret Bay is a unique experience! You can see cephalopods of all shapes and sizes, crustaceans wandering in search of dinner and other weird and wonderful creatures. While Bali offers great diversity of dive sites Gilimanuk Bay is unique within Bali. It is the very definition of muck-diving. No rich coral reefs, no depth to speak of, it is a site for macro-photographers, and maybe for recreational divers looking for something different from the norm.
From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive via Tabanan to Soka. Then follow the coast road via Medewi to Negara. From Negara head to Gilimanuk, from where you can shore dive at Secret Bay. The drive takes about 3-3.5 hours.