The Bunaken Island National Marine Park in Manado is to be among some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with outstanding fish variety and worldclass wall diving. The clear, warm waters contain astonishingly high numbers of species, whether corals, sponges or fish. When you're scuba diving in Bunaken you can see seven times more general of coral than Hawaii, 33 species of butterfly fish and over 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-Western Pacific.
A steady supply of nutrients is brought by oceanic currents sweep into Bunaken. There will be an abundance of marine life when there is plenty of food in the sea, and you can be here to witness this rich harvest too. There is something for everyone in this very special destination, from the smallest commensal shrimp to black tip reef sharks and eagle rays.
Bunaken diving is very popular with fun divers and marine biologists both of whom can take great pleasure from the diversity of coral and fish found here. You will surely encounter marine life here that you have not come across elsewhere. It was in 1997 when the most notable recent find within the park, when the coelacanth was discovered living in the lava tubes of Manado Tua. This 'living fossil' fish brought international attention to Bunaken. Unusual mammals that alsosao be seen include dugongs, which feed on the sea grass beds in the South of the park and sperm whales, which travel through the area on their way to calve in the Sangihe Archipelago.
To protect this ecotreasure included in the measures is the creation of the marine park for which all divers must buy a pass, which is used to fund conservation and village development programmes. Both for the good of the environment and the local economy, it has long been recognized that the Manado area is an area worth preserving. Various schemes are being undertaken to encourage responsible attitudes towards the reefs, the sea life and with regards to refuse disposal in the area. Your few dollars really do make a difference in Bunaken!
This North Bunaken island dive site was named after the under water photographer Mike Severns. Topography consist of vertical amphitheatre shapped wall covered in hard and soft coral: the reef often breaks the surface at low tide. Large gorgonians and sponges can be found along with some bigger pelagic such as barracuda, eagle rays and whitetip reef sharks. The fish life here is simply stunning.
The beauty corals reef in Mike's Point
A little further East a spot named after a Japanese dive instructor. It is very similar to Mike's Point with a spectacular coral covered wall and big pelagic including tuna, jacks and reef sharks. Sea snakes have also been spotted in this area. Back to top
The origin of the name is unknown but some have suggested it is a reference to the number of 'strings' present here in the form of whip corals. Descending down alongside one of Bunaken's typically colorful walls you will soon realize that, in the 20-45m-depth range, there are more single whips than your eye can take in. For depth chargers this is a good chance to get down into the 'narc zone'. Bigger stuff to see includes Maori, bumphead parrotfish (both the big green ones and blue-pink ones), mappa puffer-fish and white-tip reef sharks. There is also no shortage of macroe stuff to keep you amused with the whip corals playing host to commensal shrimps and whip gobies. Mandolin Point is an unusual and continually stimulating spot to dive and is unlike any other dive site in the haven that is Bunaken. Back to top
This site always features highly on people's favorites list and is named, not as an insult to a visitor called Hughie, but after its Japanese discoverer who dived this spot some 20 years ago. Here, unlike most Bunaken diving sites around, you will find not a wall but more of a slope with a few short, steep drops. Here you can find white-spotted moray eels peering out from their hideouts, and sailing tangs elegantly raising their dorsal fins and soaring away. If there's a current running then you can expect to see thousands of red-tooth triggerfish, swarming low down and enmasse across the reef slope. Back to top
Sangihe Talaud Islands
This region consists of 77 islands, of which 56 islands are inhabited. The population is 260,370 people (1996). Most of the people are involved in agriculture, which include coconut, vanilla, nutmeg, and clove. The islands are located North of the Sulawesi Peninsula, and South of the Philippines, divided into two main groups; Sangihe, consisting of the islands, Sangir Besar, Siau, Tagulandang and Biaro; and Talaud consists of the islands of Karakelang, Salibabu, Kaburuan, Nanusa, Miangaas, plus many other small islands. The capital of Sangihe Talaud is Tahuna, which is located on Sanger Besar.For its magnificent white sandy beaches with amazing coral gardens, Sangihe Talaud is prominent as well as an underwater active volcano. It is also known for its beautiful dances with a variety of war dances and those reenacting legends. Oh-Ohi and Musik Bambu are the traditional music of Sangihe Talaud. Handicrafts from Sangihe Talaud include wonderful ebony carvings and beautiful fine embroidery from Batunderang Island in Sangir Besar.
On the Northeast Peninsula of North Sulawesi lies the Sangihe Archipelago as a chain of volcanic islands of Sulawesi. The archipelago's waters are some of deepest in the world and deep-water currents bring plankton and nutrients from the deep, and have of about forty volcanic Islands some of which are over 1,500 metres high. As a result the marine life at this Manado diving destination is incredibly rich and varied.
Sangihe Talaud Islands Dive Sites
SANGIHE AND TALAUD ISLANDS
Another large volcanic comprises the Southern enc of Sangihe Island. Diving here simply awesome due to the islands remoteness and the crystal clear visibility, often over 40 meters. A huge variety of marine life wait with chances of seeing biggest visitors such as hammerheads, rays, reef sharks and dolphins. The Northwest of Sangihe has a dive site called Lost City named after a village that was submerged by an earthquake in 1963. You can drop down onto what were once fields and buildings where local folk went happily about their business before the disaster Feeling like an archeologist you cruise around through the numerous black corals and investigate the tunnels and doorways. Diving here amongst topography carved out by man's own hand stands in stark contrast to the norm of diving among nature's splendor and is definitely one you that won't forget. Back to top
The first in the island chain, recognized by a sheer 200-meters cliff on the Southern side is Blaro. A large flooded caldera, which is open to the sea on the western side, provides a beautiful sheltered spot. Dive sites around the island include Lamango which makes a great shallow night dive. The Labyrinth where volcanic lava flows make up the stunning topography, Sweetlip City which is a 20 meters deep reef with an abundance of Sweetlips, Bomb and Zaccharias Rocks which are submerged pinnacles to the North of the island with stunning coral cover and Kalokoki, a gently sloping reef with colorful soft corals. Back to top
RUANG AND TAGULANDANG ISLANDS
These two islands have a couple of good dive sites and Ruang has two big lava flows that extend subsurface. Serenade's Secret Point is a sloping reef dropping to a wall with stunning coral growth and plenty of fish life. Lava Flow has huge schools of fish and black laval rock that makes a stunning contrast to the abundant coral growth and marine life. Siau Island the Karangetang volcano can be seen glowing from the crater at night; it is one of Indonesia's most active. Diving around the island is good with Eddy Point being one of the more impressive sites. Black laval rock drops to over 60 meters and slight rumbles can often be heard from the volcano. Impressive marine life can be found here and at Batu lehi, which offers a wall dive and beach hot sprung. Back to top
These tiny islands have an underwater volcano, which rises from over 500 meters deep to just below the surface. Several islands have come and gone over the past few hundred years due to volcanic activity in this area. Unspoilt reef gin-clear waters can be found here, yellow sulphur deposits are seen in patches and many of the boulders can be seen bubbling as steam is released into the ocean. Back to top
Bangka and the nearby islands lie off the Northern tip of Sulawesi. It often gets strong currents which can come from all directions and are quite exposed. Big pelagic come in to feed here and the reefs are alive with colon The islands in the group consist of Bangka, Talise, Kinabohutan, Tindila, Gangga and Tamperong.
A number of large boulders and pinnacles can be dived at 5ahaung and large step formations can be seen. Coral is very colorful here and there are plenty of schooling fish such as snappers, fusiliers and surgeonfish. Back to top
BATU MANDI AND BATU PENDETA
Similar topography can be found at Batu Mandi and Batu Pendeta, there is also a plane wreck of a B-21 bomber at around 28 meters; a lot of it has been covered with sand though. There are a number of dive sites and house reefs on the mainland around Pulisan that offer shallower diving around pinnacles and rocks with equally as impressive marine life. Back to top
It lies off the Northern tip of Sulawesi. The area has rapidly gained popularity amongst macro photographers and is now considered the diving Mecca for critters and macro marine life since resorts started to open in the mid-90s. This stretch of water offers a plethora of macro species in extremely diverse marine habitat, many of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. For photographers in search of the unusual and unseen, diving here is the intimate experience. It is often referred to as a muck divers paradise as most of the sites are either sandy areas or small reefs, there are no spectacular walls of drop offs here. The Lembeh Strait is a world class dive destination with over 30 dive sites to choose from and even a WWII wreck all within a short boat ride over calm waters from the resort.
Lembeh Strait Dive Sites
This dive site is a real muck dive! There is a lot of garbage lying around, but among this garbage are real treasures! You might find two harlequin shrimps on a Linckia starfish, under the large columns of the pier there are special wasp fishes, many nudibranchs and there are a lot of Barramundi cods and the Banggai cardinal fishes. The Banggai cardinal fish is actually endemic lathe Banggai Islands and it was probably introduced to Lembeh Strait by dumping some aquarium specimens. Over the years it has spread from here first to the islands in the strait and now to nearly all dive sites on the west side of the strait! Since there are a lot of orange sponges this dive site is a really good place for the orange painted frogfish. Back to top
Nudi falls is small vertical rock wall and below that a slope with dark grey sand and rubble that ends about 27 m. You might see some rare spindle cowries and flamboyant cutterfish. At the wall there is a Muricella gogornian where you find pygmy seahorses and there is a crack with two flame file shells hidden. Sometimes there atrong currents around the deep section on the rubble slope. After a few dives, you might finally found out, why this dive sites is called Nudi falls - there where nudibranchs everywhere and some like Risbecia tryoni were mating in large numbers. Back to top
The mimic octopus was first observed here in Lembeh Strait. A dive guide noticed that an unknown species of octopus sometimes looked like a flounder or like a mantis shrimp. Further observation established, that through altering the position of its striped arms, the octopus could also mimic lion fishes, sea snakes, crocodile snake eels, stingrays and jellyfish. Some divers found a mimic octopus while it was foraging for crustaceans and fish by probing with its long arms down hales. Back to top
At this dive site there is some of the world's best critter diving, a true muck dive site. A gentle slope covered with black sand and algae. Since most of the dive is sand, you need a bit of patience, you might dive for a couple minutes and not find anything and then truly rare animals surprise you. There are occasional patch of sponges - those are the places to look for hidden animals like seahorses, frogfishes or the Ambon scorpion fish. All these animals are extremely well camouflaged; the frogfish we found was brown and gray with numerous appendages, the seahorses' brown or black with algae like growth. Back to top
Tanduk Rusa wreck (Mawali wreck) lays at 1 0 26.778' N and 125 0 13.536' E. This Japanese freighter burnt and sank in 1943. Rob Sinke from Divers Lodge Lembeh has found a fused compass and melted bottles. He thinks the reason why so much hard coral grows on the wreck is because all the paint was burnt off. It lays on the port side, large poles sticking out. You either start the dive from the propeller or you dive towards the cargo holds and the bow. It is nicely covered with beautiful hard corals. Depths start at 16 m and go to 31 m. Back to top
This is a cargo boat about 45 m long and lays between 17 and 24 m deep, upright on its keel. It is mostly covered with bryozoans, hydroids and sponges and there are a lot of nudibranchs, some very rare living there and on a large sponge on the top of the deck perched a giant frogfish, ready to devour the fishes around him. After diving on the wreck, you can finish the dive on the small coral patches further towards the shore. Close to Kapal Indah lays Kapal Baru, a boat that burned and sank recently and lays between 4 and 14 meters. This is a nice place for night dives (only for small dive groups), you see a lot of crabs, nudibranchs and perhaps a ghost pipefish. Back to top
This is also a Japanese freighter, which sank during the World War ll. It lays now close to Bitung in the middle of the shipping area. You can sometimes hear ships going by, so it can be very noisy and the visibility is not always very good - also be careful when you surface! The Bimoli is about 100 m long and the deepest parts lie on 35 m. The Bimoli (real name not known) was torpedoed either from air or by submarine (the last is what the locals say) and sank. The ammunition (Bakelite) is still there and hope nobody is stupid enough to try to lift that too up to the surface. People whom taking scrap metal from them have also destroyed the Rina l s wreck and Kapal Baru. Back to top
Most people come to Lembeh for the rare critters, but some dive sites like these have beautiful rich coral growth and colorful reef fishes! Specially look out for the cleaning stations here, apart from the colorful cleaning shrimps you might find some leaf fishes or frogfishes there also. Back to top
This dive site is a large rock with two peaks off the North coast of Lembeh Island that rises to just a few meter below the surface. There is a large swim though at about 25 m, and around them the svereal gorgonian sea fans with pygmy seahorses and outside there are other gorgonians with the yellow Denise seahorse. On the way along the wall we saw many damselfishes mating and on topp of the pinnacle we discovered a huge stonefishes covered with algae like the growth. All around were anthias and damselfish, all the stonefish had to do get the next meal was to just open its mouth! Back to top
Selayar or Seleyer is a part of Sulawesi Selatan (South Celebes) Province. It lies in the Flores Sea, between Sulawesi and Flares. Selayar Regency covering 903.35 km' with a population about 100,000. There are 73 islands, the principal being Selayar Island. To the East lays Pulau (Island) Kalaotaa and Island of Karompa Lompo in South East Celebes, and the West Lays Sabalana islands. It is a biodiversity diving site. The population, mainly a mixed race of Makassars (see Makassar), Buginese, the natives of Luvu and Buton and support themselves by agriculture, fishing, seafaring, trade, preparation of salt on the south coast and weaving. A servile class, raw, largely performs fieldwork and prepared cotton, tobacco, trepang, tortoise-shell, coconuts and coconut oil, and salt are exported.
The third largest coral atoll in the world is Takabonerate, just in Southeast of Selayar Island. Takabonerate is a Bugis ls name that somewhat has a meaning " Coral pile up on sand ". It is well-known as the largest atoll in Southeast Asia. On the massive 2,220 square kilometer area, the Takabonerate National Park was setup to protect the ecosystem. The atolls rise abruptly from a deep oceanic trench and offer some fantastic wall diving in good visibility.
Selayar Takabonerate Dive Sites
The house reef is certainly a highlight in Selayar! Those who have not had enough after two boat dives can 'send themselves to the bottom' at any time directly at the house reef drop-off. The way to the house reef drop-off is rewarding in itself: a field of seaweed and a coral garden make it into a special experience. It is impossible to explore the full length of the house reef in just one holiday.
There is so much to see in the first 20 meters that normally nobody - or at least no photographer will manage to get much further. No-limit-diving at the house reef is included and we guarantee that no one will get bored. Back to top
CAVES & OVERHANGS
Length of trip - 5 minutes: a wall that slopes on a length of 45 meters, with caves and overhangs. This is an ideal place to discover snails, crabs and a great variety of gorgonian fans and other soft corals. There are ideal subjects for both wide-angle photography and macro photography. 'Caves and Overhangs' is the home of pygmy seahorses (also pygmy seahorse 'Denise', the smallest and last to be discovered in the family). Back to top
The dive begins at a deep drop-off, which becomes a slope after about 200 meters. You dive along a wall that is beautifully overgrown with gorgonian fans, sponges and whip corals. When the current sets in, meet big schools of jacks and snappers. After arriving at the slope, go down to about 40 m depths. With a bit of luck, you can meet every kind of predatory fish there - grey and whitetip reef sharks, as well as eagle rays and at some times of the year, hammerheads. The site always offers a lot of diversity, and even if there are no predatory fish, you are bound to come across turtles and napoleons. Back on the reef top, pass a coral block with leaffish and snails. Before getting surface, have a look under a table coral where some small sharks offer them accommodation. Back to top
There are a number of impressive dive spots around the peninsula here but currents can be strong and unpredictable. Sharks are often sighted in the waters around Kambing Island where the walls drop to below 60 meters and there are plenty of big schooling fish on the hunt. The cape has a couple of good spots and some interesting coral formations including a spur at 30 meters that is often surrounded by reef sharks - Maramasa Pinnacles are located to the North of Bira and offer good diving although evidence of dynamite fishing can be seen. Back to top
The atolls rise abruptly from a deep oceanic trench and offer some fantastic wall diving in good visibility. There is an astounding variety of coral growth and sea-grass on these atolls, fringing and barrier reefs. Marine life is equal to any other area in Sulawesi with huge schools of fish, pelagic and bigger hunters. The additional advantage here is that the area is still untouched by diving tourism and can be considered as one of still worlds few remaining dive frontiers. Back to top
As group of islands, Banggai is located at the far Eastern end of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. It's surrounded by the Banda Sea's Gulf of Tolo (Teluk Tolo), and the Molucca Sea which Peleng Straits (Selat Peleng) separates it from mainland Sulawesi. Its islands consist of Peleng, Banggai Island, Bowokan, Labobo, Kebongan, Kotudan, Tropettenando, Timpau, Salue Besar, Salue Kecil, Masepe, and Bangkulu. Diving on the Banggai Islands is still mostly exploratory diving. There are no dive profiles for the dive sites and there are no diveguides leading you under water. So these diving expeditions are something for the experienced diver only. However those may find exciting new diving possibilities.
You can find numerous large reefs that support a very rich marine life in The Banggai Islands. Vertical drop off covered with hard and soft coral, a lot of reef shark and turtles, schools of jackfish, tunas and of course many coral reefs fishes. Biodiversity is extremely high the endemic ornamental fish " Banggai Cardinal Fish " (Pterapogon kaudermi) lives there. These islands are protected from those winds by the main coast of Sulawesi. Consisting of one hundred and twenty islands, this pristine archipelago is offering hundreds of miles of drop off and fringing reefs. Qualified by the naturalist Alfred Wallace as the " Mother of all living coral reefs", the Banggai Islands has numerous large reefs that support a very rich marine life.
George's wall is a vertical wall on a huge offshore reef at the south of the Banggai. The immersion takes place in anfractuosities of the wall, and you go down in the blue along clumps of black corals, surrounded by Batfishes and surgeonfish's schools. Overhangs and cavities often squatted by whitetip sharks, schools ofjacksfishes. After about 10-25 minutes at 100 feet, you slowly ascend following the wall. Back to top
The fringing reef of an islet of Banggai with a slope covered by hard corals formations from 45 to 3 feet is with abundant critters: ruban eels, Stone fishes, ghost pipe fishes and mantis shrimps. This site is also very nice for a night diving. Back to top
A line of reefs in the inside of the Banggai Islands; the slope is covered by beautiful formation of hard corals and sponges until 45 to 55 feet and the visibility is always excellent. The top of the reef, on depth from 25 to 10 feet, offers large areas of pristine coral formations of all shapes, endless fields of delicate branched Acropora species covered by clouds of damsel fishes, combinations tables of Acropora. Generally divers stay Underwater until 90 minutes or more such is great the fascination of the scenery. Back to top
A fringing reef that hosts numerous of Banggai Cardinal Fishes, a beautiful fish, endemic from Banggai Islands, is one of the few marine fish without any larval stage. The male holds the eggs, then the embryos, in his mouth during a total incubation time of about 30 days. It lives in shallow water, in groups generally in association with urchins or anemones, and is a must for photographers. On this site, you can also see Mandarin fishes. Back to top
This site is a pinnacle getting up to 65 feet above the surface, which highlight is the density of fishes such as Schools of barracudas, surgeon fishes, fusiliers, tunas and jacks fishes. Others are Whitetips, grey reef sharks and incredible density of yellow snappers. Due to the strong currents swiping this pinnacle, this dive can be a kind of sportive. Back to top
Possibly the greatest quality of diving in the Togean Islands is the incredible diversity of reefs to explore here, It is the only dive destination in Indonesia, and one of the very few places in the world, to boast coral atolls, fringing reefs, barrier reefs, as well as artificial reefs wreck diving.
Togeans possess the wealth of riches that enough to make any other travel destination jealous. As well as the reef systems, there are 30 or so coral gardens, reef slopes, deep walls, sandy slopes, deep water features such as The Crack - an awesome swim through at 50 meters, mangroves, sea grasses, muck diving, and easy house reefs-all easily accessible from the local resorts. The reefs are in exceptional condition and have terrific diversity because the quite-isolated Togean Islands receive very few visitors and there are only a small numbers of locals.
Tomini Bay is reputedly the calmest deep-water bay in the world, almost completely surrounded by the protective arms of central and north Sulawesi. This is home to the undeveloped and remote Togean Islands. With great diving right on your doorstep and little else to distract you, you've come to the right place if you are looking for an idyllic tropical setting. The Togeans are an excellent, and in no way inferior, alternative to other more popular Sulawesi dive destinations, no matter what your diving interest.
Togean Island Dive Sites
B24 BOMBER WRECK
On 3 May 1945, Sulawesi (then known as Celebes) and Borneo were under Japanese occupation during World War ll. The 307th American Bomb Squadron was engaged in striking missions against these two locations. It was on one of these missions that this aircraft suffered engine failure and caught fire. As it was to far to return to base at Morotai Island, and the islands are densely covered in jungle - potentially dangerous to parachutists, the decision was made to crash land the plane in the sea at the Togean Islands in Tomini Bay.
The craft lost its nose turret and three propellers in the landing, and sank about two hours afterwards, thus becoming Togean Islands best wreck dive.
The wreck is in excellent condition and no artifacts have been removed. The Togean bomber is now the congregating centre for hundreds of bigeye trevally, creating a never-ending circular wall of dazzling silver. The tail wings are refuge to some lionfish and batfish. There are green tube sponges and barrel sponges, particularly at the rear of the aircraft. Some porous coral growth shows it self on the fuselage and purple and yellow sea squirts and blue tunicates decorating the main wings. Back to top
Not a dive site for sufferers of vertigo or for the faint of heart, the north side of Dominic Rock features a drop off into the black abyss. Already at 40 meters, you can imagine the depths we are talking about here! Here there's a good chance to see mature eagle rays swooping past, grey reef sharks, and large big-eye trevally circling the nearby overhangs. The rock is festooned with green branching cup corals, mauve, lime and cream shaded gorgonian fans, barrel sponges, purple dendronephthya soft tree corals, creamy wire corals, and yellow whip corals. Queensland groupers occupy the ledges of the other nearby boulders, barramundi stalk the territory, and fantail rays often come to life when you pass over, exploring the nearby area. Back to top
Taipi Wall is a north to south running wall with many spectacular overhangs, steps, jutting seams and points, cracks and crevices, many-crammed full of rich sea fans and gorgonians. On the sloping sandy shelf at the foot of the wall are dense patches of cabbage corals, and outlying coral bommies and boulders with table corals. The wall is covered with red and blue soft corals with their many-host shrimps and red cleaner shrimps, black coral bushes, green ascidians, tiger cowries, leaf scorpionfish, large crocodile fish dwarf hawkfish, spottail dartfish, and numerous nudibranchs includingthe blue dragon. On top of the wall is a small coral garden, where you can enjoy your safety stop. There are Haddon's sea anemones galore, with their commensal black and white saddleback anemonefish, Clark's anemonefish and anemo shrimp. Bumphead parrotfish munch their way across the flats. Large red horned sea stars rest on the sand, with tube anemones, sailor's eyeballs (not the real thing!) and bi-color blennies. There are often black-tip reef sharks lurking. in the shallows too. Taipi Wall is a relatively easy Togian dive site that you won't mind returning to again and again. Back to top
This dive site is a rocky ridge jutting out from a deep north facing wall drop-off, like the nose of a sunken Roman statue. The ridge is some 25 m wide and 50 m long, and lies at a depth of 28 - 42 meters. It is the most extreme northern point of this long reef, and therefore is more exposed to currents, has great visibility and is generally the best place to hang out in deeper water for spectacular big fish action. Back to top
A small volcanic island with fertile laval ash sand, Una Una is little visited and consequently has some spectacular and very healthy diving sites all around the island. The jewel in the crown of Una Una dive sites has got to be The Pinnacle. This is the best site in Togian Islands diving and one of the best-the teeming fish life here is breathtaking. There are masses of hard corals, montipora sheet corals, acropora corals, and very little evidence of any human damage. Circling the pinnacle near full moon and you may be party to the spawning of millions of lantern tobyfish. These schools are so thick that it can cause you vertigo, and you literally cannot see anything else! Longnose emperors are residents here, as are harlequin sweetlips and midnight snappers. Back to top
One of the best sites in Togean Islands diving, Pasir Tengah is a three kilometers wide coral atoll with nonstop vertical walls plunging down to depths of 400 m. Just breaking the surface, the walls are adorned with huge red and green tube sponges, black branching sponges, gorgonians, leather corals, leaf corals, and black coral ferns. You can descend to any depth on any side and be greeted by passing packs of marauding pelagic, such as trevally of all types - big eye, six-banded, yellowfin and bluefin, wahoo and Spanish mackerel. In the depths you can often catch sight of white-tip and black-tip reef shark and, if your luck is in, silky sharks. Common fish in the shallows are large schools of midnight snappers, yellowback fusiliers and reticulated butterfly fish, as well as Spanish dancers and a host of other colorful nudibranchs. One extremely lucky diver even saw a passing nautilus o a night dive - a rare find and a treasure indeed. Back to top
In south east of Sulawesi mainland, there is a group of small islands in Banda Sea named Wakatobi. The main islands of Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomea, and Binongki have some superb reefs that are supported and protected by the local communities. Jacques Cousteau was sufficiently moved to claim this area as possibly the finest dive site in the world. With very little in the way of infrastructure in this remote part of the world, you'll enjoy the peace and solitude that this paradise archipelago provides. You can relax on the sun deck, chatting about the days diving, content in the knowledge that you are far from marauding hordes of tourists. Wakatobi is one of the newest and most exciting diving destinations in Indonesia, winning extraordinary praise from its visitors both for outstanding and accessible diving and the quality of service they receive from the dive operation.
Because of the dry climate and uplifted limestone or, in other words, fossilized reefs, the reefs for Wakatobi diving are unlike others in the region. It makes an exceptionally clean environment due to the lack of soil erosion. Being a national park, fishing here is strictly limited and the reefs are protected, meaning plenty of action for you the diver. In exchange for adopting more sustainable practices, local fishing communities obtain a fair share of the income generated by dive tourism, such as leaving large stretches of reef completely untouched. Education and strengthening local support for the marine park are other contributions to go toward.
Even still relatively new, word is beginning to spread about Wakatobi. There are even new site south there waiting to be discovered indeed, particularly in the outer atolls, which are virtually untouched. Dive in and discover the animal attractions here and the sea. The season for scuba diving in Wakatobi is on March to December. This applies to both the resort vacations and to live aboard safaris. In July and August, nature brings rich plankton blooms and their attendant big marine animalsn but also cooler water and lower visibility.
Not a very imaginative name for what is a very interesting dive site. Drop quickly down a current swept line to a sand ledge at 1 1 meters in what is really a big bowl, 40 meters across. The inside of the bowl is covered in spectacular coral. Coral Garden is one of the top Wakatobi diving sites, offering a dazzling array of mixed coral forms at all depths. It's not just coral though as there are all manner of visitors to the garden. After the adrenalin of getting dawn through the current, suddenly once in the bowl, all is calm. See the cleaner wrasse tend to their clients including long face emperors and sling jaw wrasse. Cruise around In the calm water knowing that above you the currents sweep past, and idle with the garden eels and goatfish keeping your eye out for any big boys who happen to be passing. Back to top
A mere 20 meters from your bed, you can simply fin into the paradise that is Wakatobi l s House Reef. Breakfast has never heard so much enthusiastic chatter as it does here, with tales abounding of the delights of what many call "The Best House Reef in The World". First you swim along a sandy bottom of snake eels and flounders, blue-spotted rays and shrimp gobies before reaching the drop off where, after greeting the resident school of trevallies, you can descend to 12 meters and check out the as yet unnamed species of pygmy seahorse, resident on a sea fan.
Then gently drift along the craggy wall past beautiful pristine corals and anemones housing all manner of shrimps, crabs and nudibranchs. There is so much to see here with the lionfish, scorpion fish and batfish, that if you aren't careful you might miss the sight of a few early morning turtles and eagle rays about their business in the blue. It is little wonder that, given both the beauty and proximity of this dive, many divers come back here in the evening. With your torch at the ready you can marvel at this extraordinary explosion of color just a hop, skip and a giant stride from your bed. Back to top
Cornucopia, the 'horn of plenty, not named after a guy who looks good in his wetsuit, but a reference to the steady current that supplies a rich, plank tonic menu to a dazzling array of multihued coral and its residents. This Wakatobi diving site has a varied topography with walls, ledges and overhangs. Only when the current is very slight, there is time to nose around, as usually you will drift at a reasonably leisurely pace along a great stretch of reef. Watch the changing vista of amazing hard and soft corals in oranges, yellows and purples. All the usual coral fish suspects are here as well as the odd pelagic. Whitetips, nurse sharks, eagle rays and mobula rays are also known to swing by. There are more colors than any artist's palette - can you cope here at Cornucopia. Back to top
In the opinion of many that have been scuba diving in Wakatobi, Roma is as good as any diving site in the world. Sinking in through rays of light you will be instantly greeted by large séhools of fusiliers, and red-tooth triggerfish swirling around the centre point of the site is an extraordinary pinnacle teeming with life. Anywhere other than Wakatobi this pinnacle would be a dive in itself. Banded sea snakes are very common here and divers have seen them in double figures. Aside from the pinnacle you can cruise around the other undulating mounds endowed with pristine coral and anemones. Two of the smaller bommies are great for focusing on the macro life. One is home to several leaf fish of green, white, yellow and black, sometimes perching in a pink sea fan. If you have the time and inclination you can search under reef boulders with your torch for the rare and beautifully patterned comet fish. Back to top