By guest blogger Lorena Espin
In Tulamben, just a 5-minute drive down the road from the famous USAT Liberty wreck dive site, youâ€™ll find the Drop-Off. Itâ€™s a shore-entry dive, so youâ€™ll wade across the big rocks and dodge the sometimes tall waves as you access the site from the beach. No need to worry about elegance â€” just get in quickly and sure-footedly; the party at Drop-Off is waiting for you.
When you descend, youâ€™ll see a slope, which you will follow to the right and then â€”boom â€” youâ€™ll hit the wall. Sprawled vertically from 16 feet (5 m) all the way down to almost 200 feet (60 m), diving alongside an expansive cliff like this can make one feel quite small. But with so many wonderful things fighting for your attention at the Drop-Off, youâ€™ll spend less time feeling and more time deciding where to look. From novice to experienced, there is something here for every diver to fawn over.
If you like to admire the usual Bali suspects, there are plenty of angelfish, butterflyfish, pufferfish, anemonefish and triggerfish flitting about. In great numbers, not too small, and in a variety of look-at-me colors and patterns, these guys are not shy and easy to spot. My favorite is the juvenile harlequin sweetlips, flailing and dancing around the soft coral. Honorable mention goes to the giant Napoleon wrasse waiting to greet you at one of the Drop-Offâ€™s plateaus.
Covering the wall is a tapestry of beautifully diverse coral (both hard and soft), barrel sponges and sea fans. Unmoving, and sometimes measuring an impressive 6 feet (2 m), these are impossible to miss. But if youâ€™re the sort of diver who thrives on seeing rarer creatures and ticking them off your list, take the time to really look â€” you might be lucky enough to spot a tiny pygmy seahorse, minding his business on one of the big gorgonians.
Slowly float along the wall and seek out the quieter, more camouflaged animals. Peek under the coral where the moray eels and mantis shrimp might come out and say hello. Count how many different types of nudibranchs you see resting on the reef. Scrutinize the many nooks and crannies. Can you spot the lionfish, the bearded scorpionfish or the octopus, all flawlessly (well, almost) blending in with their environment?
If youâ€™re on the hunt for bigger fish, take a break from the wall and look out into the blue. Some trevallies or even some whitetip reef sharks might be trying to swim unnoticed behind you.
With consistently easy conditions, great visibility and warm temperatures, anyone can dive the Drop-Off any time of the year. And with so much happening and catching your eye, youâ€™ll agree that the Drop-Off, Bali is a must dive.