Sulawersi North, Bunaken, Minahasa Lagoon Dive Center
Lekuan I – The three dive sites of ‘Lekuan’ are considered to be among the best of Manado. At Lekuan I, a sandy slope reaches a cliff covered with purple and pink anthias. Look to the blue where you may see gray reef sharks, green sea turtles and schools of snappers, fusiliers and bannerfish and jacks. It is a great pleasure to swim among these schools.
2) Lekuan II – Discover a multi-layered reef with many vertical walls, splits and holes. The three-dimensionality of this intricate reef makes it a noted favorite. Admire more than a hundred species of reef fish as well as countless colourful invertebrates. Giant barrel sponges provide good opportunity to make beautiful wide-angle shots. Napoleon wrasses and green sea turtles appear on-cue.
3) Lekuan III – A wide sandy seabed dotted with coral pinnacles makes Lekuan III an attractive and unique underwater playground. Sand avenues lead to coralline strata which, for obscure reasons, are often used as a resting and cleaning site for sharks. Nudibranchs are like colors on the painter’s pallet here, while overhead turtles and calm sea snakes appear to survey the reef.
4) Celah Celah – This dive is characterized by awesome undersea fjords. The inherent drama of this site crowns it as a wall dive. Here you will learn to “fly” underwater.
5) Alung Banua – This wall offers a great opportunity for macro photography. Between frames be sure to look out into the blue for passing sea turtles and spotted eagle rays. At a depth between 18 to 25 meters (60 to 80 feet), you can admire a panorama formed by small caves and, with a wide-angle lens, look to capture fantastic images. White-tip reef sharks often choose these small caves in which to rest. Usually, there is a mild current here and good visibility of 25 to 30 (80 to 100 feet) meters or more.
6) Fukui Point – A Japanese diver who explored this impressive area about 20 years ago was the first to publish details of the site and give it his name, “Fukui Point”. The site has short welcoming terraces with sandy interstitial sea beds creating a ‘cleaning station’. This forms a perfect place to observe Napoleon wrasse, Barracuda, Jacks and schools of Snappers. This sandy area is home to a colony of dancing Garden eels. Visibility is 20 to 25 meters (65 to 80 feet), with a light current.
7) Tengah – The dive begins on the reef and moves toward the open sea through a series of submarine sandy dunes. A diver is nearly guaranteed to spot white-tipped and black-tipped sharks, stingrays and other species of rays including spotted eagle rays and mobula rays.
8) Mandolin Point – The name seems to be derived from the ‘harmony’ one can feel as he or she swims along this dive site…each sea creature is a beautiful note on the scale of the sea. All divers agree that in its entirety, Mandolin is spectacular. Turtles, sharks, Eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, Moray eels, anemones and Acropora Corals are present everywhere. A slight current keeps red, pink and orange soft corals blooming. Visibility ranges from 15 to 35 meters (50 to 115 feet), depending on conditions.
9) Raymond’s Point – A lovely wall with hard and soft corals, and a rich barrier ecosystem never lacking big pelagic schools. A descent down a sandy underwater pathway brings you face-to-face with sting rays.
10) Mike’s Point – This site is named in honour of the famous underwater photographer Mike Severns, who spent endless underwater hours photographing this fantastic dive site. Enormous coral heads, patches of finger corals and lettuce coral anchor the strata while soft corals cover the beautiful wall with splashes of intense color; big pelagics, enormous parrotfish with bumpheads and Napoleon wrasses are easy to find here. The tide may provoke strong currents which brings thousands of reef fish to the event.
11) Sachiko’s Point – The name of this incredible site refers to a Japanese Tour Operator who first discovered the location. Here you will experience a spectacular wall with some current… pleasant for effortless gliding along the rich reef structure. Frequently, you may see non-aggressive sea snakes, reef sharks, big tuna, jacks, turtles and rays. Depending on the tides, visibility might vary between 20 to 35 meters (65 to 115 feet).
12) Pangalisang – This site often is bathed by a current which carries you along a grand and interesting wall. In the upper part of the reef, it is possible to spot dugongs (sea cows). Blue-spotted rays, scorpion-fishes and lionfishes are very frequent seen between reef formations. Many multicolour invertebrates like nudibranchs, sea squirts and sea anemones make this a very colourful dive, and sea snakes are almost always cruising the surface. Visibility is usually between 15 to 25 meters (50 to 80 feet).
13) Timur – A seemingly endless reef that is impossible to explore in a single dive. The barrier life is extremely well developed on this wall and frequently you will see groupers, sharks, barracudas and eagle rays. During tide changes, visibility might be reduced from 20 to 15 metres (65 to 50 feet).
14) Tanjung Pasir – This dive is highlighted by a sandy esplanade broken up by colorful coral formations. Keep your eyes open for chance encounters with sharks, rays and Nepolian wrasses.
15) Depan Kampung – Located on the opposite site of the village of Bunaken is a drop-off befined by terraces or sand and patch reef where you can swim with eagle rays and hundreds of schooling butterflyfish. This is a classic current -dive with excellent possibilities to see different species of sea turtles including green and hawksbill. The visibility varies between 15 to 30 meters (50 to 100 feet).
16) Siladen I – Here you will swim among an enormous collection of different types and sizes of corals, both hard corals and soft corals. Blessing the surrounding water are long-finned bannerfish, fusiliers, fan worms, nudibranchs, sea anemones and crabs. The abundance of life here makes this dive on the wall next to Homonym Village an unforgettable experience. Look for jacks over 20 Kg (45 pounds) in weight as they hunt their prey (countless anthias and other small fish over the reef).
17) Siladen II – This dive is situated on the north side of the island of Siladen. After reaching the wall, the dive leads to a channel cutting the plateau where a magnificent panorama of multi-hued corals, home to every type of marine life, appears: Napoleon, turtles, sleeping white-tip sharks and eagle rays. The current varies according to the tides resulting in visibility that is typically 20 to 25 meters (65 to 80 feet).
18) Negeri – Here the current is smooth, but look for a flightiness depending on the force and direction of the wind. And here you will see stunning growths of corals and anemones and a blooming barrier reef along the shallow edge that often attracts groups of sharks and other pelagics hoping to find prey. Visibility 20 to 25 meters (65 to 80 feet).
19) Bualo – This dive has a magnificent wall with many small terraces and caves where barrel sponges (some over 1 meter [3 feet] in diameter) as well as soft corals perch. Enormous schools of striped catfishes are so dense they can be mistaken for oscillating pelagics. The current is smooth and the visibility runs from good to excellent. The picturesque volcano Manado Tua, 800 (2,600 feet) meters above sea level, towers over this site making it really very dramatic.
20) Batu Hitam – Inspired by the Indonesian expression for ‘black stone’, this spot offers a magnificent shore dive, rich with sea anemones and numerous species of clownfishes. This characteristic makes it ideal for night dives as well.
21) Tanjung Kopi – A wonderful dive along a bank connected to the reef of the volcano Manado Tua offers, at the seaward side of her arm, a free-fall into the dark blue beyond. Being exposed as it is in the channel between the islands of Bunaken and Manado Tua, this dive is best for very experienced divers. Frequently seen are schools of barracuda and jack fish as well as reef sharks and trevalley jacks.
22) Pangalingan – Because of frequent strong currents here, this site is recommended for experienced divers only. On a mesmerizing wall next to a spacious coral plateau at a depth of about 20 meters (65 feet), it is possible to gaze at schooling barracudas, big-eye trevalley, reef sharks and big tuna in the upper part of the reef look for schools of catfish and a wealth of small reef fishes. This impressive site set against a backdrop of many species of multicoloured corals, makes this dive an exhilarating experience even during your safety stop.
23) Bango – The village located on the south part of the island of Montehage gave its name to this pleasant dive site, where colonies of soft corals have flourished in an extraordinary way. Visibility varies between 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet), with normally gentle currents that can ramp-up periodically.
24) Gorango – Its name means ‘shark’ in the Manadese dialect. The wall, covered by soft and hard corals, is so expansive that it requires more than one dive to visit the entirety; Visibility might change from 15 up to 35 meters (50 to 115 feet) depending on the tide cycle.
25) Barracuda Point – The name is appropriate: lots of barracudas, sometimes more than one hundred, school along the wall. The site also hosts big tuna and jackfishes – permanent and mesmerizing features. Frequent and strong currents, ascending and descending, attract big pelagics which find abundant food here. This dive is recommended for expert divers only.
26) Jalan Masuk – Translated as ‘One Way’, this name describes the only access for boats to the small island of Nain. It is the most spacious reef of the whole marine park, more than four times the size of the island itself, populated by every species of colourful reef fishes as well as sponges, sea stars, corals and with a large fauna of rays, sharks, barracudas and sea turtles. Normally the visibility is quite good and currents are light.
27) Batu Kapal – Literally translated as ‘boat of stone’, this is a massive bank, the roof of which starts at a depth of about 37 meters (120 feet). On either side the transcendence into the dark blue is breathtaking; this is potentially a very technical dive not suitable for ‘recreational’ diving.
28) Tanjung Pisok – This dive begins with a short descent toward the North, keeping the reef on the right hand side, and moving toward a craggy wall where the medium current promotes abundance of various specimens of lionfish, fusiliers and butterflyfishes. The dive ends in shallow water beside a spectacularly colored soft and hard coral reef.
29) Ship Wreck – The wreck, probably a Dutch merchant ship, is approx. 60 metres (200 feet) long. She was sunk on 22. February 1942, and now lies in front of the area of Molas (boundary of the marine park) and is found at a depth of 26 to 38 metres (85 to 125 feet). The wreck offers an excellent dive spot, rich in marine life all over her superstructure. There are two propellers resting in the sand. One prop is in perfect condition. These props create a refuge for every variety of reef fish, nudibranchs, soft corals and even Napoleon wrasses. The deeper depth and variable visibility make this dive for suitable for advanced divers only.