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The Best Bali Liveaboards of 2019

INTRO

The Famous Island of Bali and the waters separating it from Komodo, are packed with Legendary Scuba Diving, which can be Best Experienced through a Bali Liveaboard.

Although many folks who find themselves in this part of Indonesia opt for a Komodo Liveaboard, and indeed many Komodo and Bali Liveaboards follow a very similar destination itinerary, there are a few differences. 

Most Komodo Liveaboards focus entirely on providing Kickass Scuba Diving around the Phenomenal Waters that surround Komodo National Park.

Don’t get us wrong…Komodo National Park is one of the World’s Greatest Dive Destinations and not something you will tire of any time soon (sic: ever)!

Booking yourself a Komodo Liveaboard, might just be the best Scuba Diving Choice you ever make. 

But if what you crave is a glimpse beyond the waters around Komodo in this fabled region of Indonesia, then a Bali Liveaboard might be for you.

You see, the routes between Bali, Maumere, and Labuan Bajo give you a few extra peaks into the wonders of this still mysterious region. For More info Check out Our Bali Liveaboard Diving Highlights Section!

From wrecks, to volcanos, to wildlife, to beautiful corals you can see a little bit of everything with Bali Liveaboards, so we decided to give you a quick overview of Diving Squad’s all time Favourite Bali Liveaboards!

Best Bali Liveaboard
Bali Liveaboard
Bali Diving
BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Bali Liveaboard Overall

  • See the volcanos of Sangeang and Banta along with the Waters around Bali!

     

  • Daily price: €€

     

  • 10 Days/9 Nights

     

  • Operates Year Round

The Bali-Komodo itineraries offered by the Mermaid I liveaboard are amongst the best overall methods to catch of glimpse Bali’s splendor. From comfortable and thoughtful onboard amenities all through the diving, you’re in for a treat from beginning to end.

For the diving aspect of this trip you’ll be taken to the spectacular sights that accompany Sangeang volcano and Banta island. The black sands of both these volcanic locations make for ideal muck diving.

But there is also more than enough beautiful coral reefs full of snappers, sweetlips, and parrot fish to go around, especially at the hydrothermal vents at Sangeang! Amongst all this beauty you’ll likely spot plenty of reef sharks such as white and black tips along with ever lurking barracudas!

You’ll have your choice of 4 different cabins ranging from budget to master suites, all of which have plenty of storage, en-suite bathrooms, and individual air-conditioning.

The plush indoor saloon and relaxing outdoor sundeck both offer the perfect place to recharge in-between dives and digest the delicious meals that are served up onboard.

All this combined with the mermaid I liveaboard diving adventures makes this our best overall recommendation for diving near Bali!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Bali Liveaboard for Luxury & Advanced Divers

  • Visits the beautiful volcanic islands of Sangeang and Banta, and the coast of Bali

     

  • Daily price: €€€

     

  • Trip Length: 12 Days/11 Nights

     

  • Operates Year Round

Just 14 guests enjoy the near limitless luxury of the Mutiara Laut liveaboard. Every cabin features a double bed with en-suite bathrooms while topside you have your choice between a beautifully furnished indoor lounge or outdoor sundeck, both providing ideal places to relax. The kitchen also produces stellar gourmet food that perfectly fuels the diving adventures.

While much of this liveaboard’s itinerary covers areas in Komodo that we’ve already discussed, the routes between Bali, Maumere, and Labuan Bajo give you a few extra peaks into the wonders of this region.

Gili Banta – or Banta island – and Sangeang Island will both give you a peak into critter filled muck diving where you may possibly spot an octopus or Cuttlefish! The nutrient rich waters of both islands are also ideal for vibrant corals of orange, green, and red that are absolutely perfect to explore!

While off Bali, your itinerary may take you to the famous USAT liberty wreck near the pristine Amed beach. What’s more, the minimum number of dives to join these trips sits at 50, so you can be sure of an adventure to match your skills!

If the allure of Bali diving is too much for you to pass up, and you’d prefer to complete your diving adventures in comfort, then the Mutiara Laut liveaboard is for you. Phenomenal accommodation, amenities, and diving all come together to provide a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll always remember!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Cheap Bali Liveaboard

 

  • See beautiful Bali and the marvels of Sangeang and Banta islands.

  • Daily price: €155

  • Trip Length: 8 Days/7 Nights

  • Operates Year Round

 

If you’d prefer to experience the fantastic diving of Banta island on a more budget friendly trip, then the Empress II is just for you.

Their occasional Komodo-Bali routes include the very best that Komodo National Park has to offer, but also throws in Banta island which resides outside of the park.

The four different types of cabins are adequately furnished without too many frills to ensure your costs stay low, but with only 10 guests aboard you’ll still feel an exclusive aura as you relax in the comfortable lounge or sprawl out on the sundeck.

Beneath the waves you’ll learn just how fertile the waters around volcanos are as you explore everything Sangeang island has to show you.

From hydrothermal vents hosting blazing green and red corals to black sands that hide waspfish, devilfish, and the occasional octopus, you’re sure to enjoy every last minute exploring this volcano’s secrets.

Banta island will provide yet another volcanic themed adventure as you dive into the bay that used to be its crater and explore the beautiful gorgonian fans, sponges, and corals that have since taken up residence.

If the waters around Bali and Gili Banta have forever captured your imagination, then the Empress II liveaboard is our top recommendation for experiencing these areas on a budget, or if you are still relatively new to diving. Striking corals and wildlife along with a personable, comfortable, and friendly shipboard atmosphere are all within your reach!

3 Diving Highlights of Bali Liveaboards

bali diving

Sangeang Volcano

A definite ‘can’t miss’ volcano in the waters between Bali and Komodo that should be on every diver’s list.

The wonders it holds are truly jaw-dropping; from phenomenal muck diving in volcanic black sand where you can possibly spot waspfish, octopus, and devilfish; to blazing colors of red and green coral at active hydrothermal vents.

Sangeang definitely makes for some truly epic diving and life-long memories!

Tulamben - USAT Liberty Wreck

Directly off the shores of Bali lies the famous Liberty wreck that was torpedoed in 1942 and towed to the beach for salvage.

The wreck stayed there until 1963 when a nearby eruption at Agung mount pushed it slightly offshore into the ocean where it is now a beautiful home for corals, jackfish, and bump head parrotfish.

Just to the south, you’ll also find Amed beach which is perfect for black sand muck or wall diving.

Best Bali Liveaboard
scuba diving in bali

Gili Banta

This partially submerged volcano in the waters between Komodo and Bali offers a huge range of different diving opportunities from reef, to muck, to open water, all of which can take place within the bay that used to be the crater of a volcano!

The nutrient rich water is home to a plethora of fish including stargazers, snappers, and sweetlips all the way to larger reef sharks and barracudas.

You’ll also see beautiful corals throughout the volcanic rock forming striking reefs that are all ripe for diving!

Diving Insurance in Bali

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Bali Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance in Bali – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Bali Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

Bali Diving Season:

May-October: Primary diving season for Bali.

November – April: Monsoon season. This marks the rainy and volatile weather period for much of Indonesia, including Bali.

 Find out more.  

Weather in Bali – During the dry months, the air temperature can be stiflingly hot, especially around Bali. The highs around 100°F make diving into the crystal-clear water all the more appealing.

The temperature does diminish slightly during the monsoon season to around 80 degrees, which is more comfortable, but beware of the increased possibility of rain!  

Bali Diving Conditions – Although some of the Diving Sites around Bali are certainly suitable for beginners,  do be wary around the more exposed waters around Komodo and Rinca Island, however!

These more exposed sites may also be prone to more turbulent and unpredictable currents, so remember to stay close to your divemasters and follow all their safety procedures!

Bali Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The Diving Squad Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Bali Diving Season

bali diving season

May-October: Primary diving season. This is generally the driest and hottest portion of the year for a sizeable chunk of Indonesia, including Bali – and is therefore one of the best times to dive as the weather is very clear and calm.

November – April: Monsoon season. This marks the rainy and volatile weather period for much of Indonesia. The increase in rain can definitely have a detrimental effect on diving visibility, but that doesn’t stop many divers from visiting during this time!

Just be prepared for slightly more unpredictable weather. Additionally, the rainy season also tends to be the high season for mantas in the area if you want to spot a few during your trip!  

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear for Bali

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.


How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating
10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.


So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.


We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.


What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link?

 Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!


So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.


To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…


Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).