Two green moray eels under a ledge, next to some fish and cleaner shrimp

Sidem Macro Point in Tulamben: A Great Muck Diving Spot

There are a few muck diving spots in Tulamben that everyone raves about. Seraya Secrets and Melasti are usually some of the favorites that get mentioned a lot by macro photographers. 

But Sidem is a hidden gem that not as many people visit when they dive in Tulamben, although they definitely should since the macro here is really excellent!

This guide will cover a bit about what the Sidem Macro Point dive site is like as well as what you might be able to see on a dive here. I’ve also included everything I saw on my dive there, as well as my own photos from the dive!

Sidem Dive Site & Conditions

The amenities at Sidem including a shower, rinse tank, toilet
The basic, but useful, amenities at Sidem Macro Point: rinse tanks, toilet, shower

Like other dive sites in Tulamben, Sidem is a shore entry dive site. Compared to other Tulamben shore dives like the Liberty Wreck and Tulamben Drop Off, the beach here has much finer sand which makes entry and exit a lot smoother.

Similar to Seraya and indeed all dive sites in Tulamben and Amed, the shore dive area is supported by the local community, who assist with tasks like keeping the area clean, selling snacks and drinks during surface intervals, and helping dive shops offload tanks. In exchange, they get a portion of the dive operators profits, which helps uplift the local economy.

As a result of the local community’s efforts, you can enjoy a freshwater shower, use the toilet, and rinse your camera in between dives at this humble but efficient set up.

Once you get in the water, Sidem is a true muck dive, with not much other than volcanic sand and the occasional coral-covered large boulder to break up the landscape. Sidem is truly a dive site for those with keen eyes who are interested in exploring macro photography or upleveling their critter spotting skills!

What Can You See at Sidem

A frogfish seen at Sidem macro point
The frogfish is a favorite sighting at Sidem

While you can never exactly predict what you’re going to see on any given dive (and that’s the fun of it!) you can often find one of the most fun subjects to shoot underwater: the frogfish.

At certain times of year, Sidem has a lot of nudibranchs hanging out on the sandy bottom and looking for sponges to nibble on. In May, I didn’t find there to be a lot of nudibranchs, as this doesn’t seem to be the best time of year for nudibranchs in Bali — I saw a lot more in November in the past.

Other critters you might see include all sorts of scorpionfish and stonefish (rhinopias), moray eels, many different species of shrimp including mantis shrimp, and seahorses if you’re lucky!

My Experience Diving at Sidem

Two green moray eels under a ledge, next to some fish and cleaner shrimp
Can you spot the second moray eel hiding under the ledge?

Sidem was the second dive site I dove on my return trip to Tulamben and it was a great dive! 

We entered the water and immediately saw a turtle snacking on some algae-covered rocks in the shallows! It’s actually rather rare to see turtles on this part of Bali’s coastline — they prefer the area around the Gili Islands — so it was quite cool to see this turtle hanging around.

Turtle in the shallow area of Sidem dive site in Tulamben
Turtle munching on algae in Sidem

A few highlights I spotted on this dive were a dwarf lionfish, a juvenile angelfish, a snowflake moray eel, a peacock mantis shrimp, some spiny devilfish, a whip coral shrimp, several green moray eels, and a warty frogfish.

Like I said, for some reason, nudibranchs were sparse at this time of year in Tulamben when I went diving (May) but previously I had seen lots of nudibranchs every time I went to Tulamben.

On this dive, I saw a Goniobranchus geminus sea slug which was one of only two nudibranchs I saw on the dive. The other I saw was an aeolid nudibranch that I can’t quite identify, seen below (sorry for the blurry photo!).

And now time for my personal favorite sighting of the dive.

Take a look at this silly looking spotted burrfish, with sand on its eyes, a smile on its face, and nary one thought going on in its cute little mind.

A spotted burrfish with a smile on its face and sand on its eyes
Equal parts ridiculous and cute

Let me know in the comments: Have you dived at Sidem? What did you see when you were there?

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