MANADO, NORTH SULAWESI
Manado is the capital city of the North Sulawesi province. The Dutch East India Company built a fortress in Manado in 1658 and Dutch missionaries built the first Christian church there. Allied forces heavily damaged the city during WWII.
Manado has an epithet that it is "The Land of Smiling People". The Minahasa people are fun loving and extroverted and welcome you to explore the area's rich culture, culinary delights and beautiful landscapes.
Divers head to Manado to dive the spectacular walls of Bunaken National Marine Park, one of the most well kept marine parks in Indonesia; to search for small and unusual critters in Lembeh Strait or seek out drift dives, pinnacles and pelagics around Bangka Island.
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SCUBA DIVING IN NORTH SULAWESI
The clear, calm waters of North Sulawesi are a haven for underwater photographers looking for unusual critters and pristine coral growth. Over 70% of all fish species that exist in the Indo-western Pacific can also be seen around Manado. Marine biologists, photographers and recreational divers prize this eco-treasure. The diving is a mixture of walls, drift, muck and critter spotting. You will also encounter rays, sharks, barracuda, napoleon wrasse and turtles.
Whether you are a novice or experienced diver, you will be sure to find some new and exciting species here.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN DIVE AREAS AROUND MANADO:
BUNAKEN MARINE PARK
Was formally established in 1991. It supports a migratory route for protected animals and is of high economic value for tourism and fisheries. The marine Park is approximately 18km from Manado Bay, covering an area of over 75,000 hectares and includes the islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Montehage and Nain. Steep walls with abundant coral growth surrounds Manado Tua whilst many sites around Siladen and Bunaken feature shallow reef tops extensively covered by hard and soft corals teeming with fish life. There are about 25 dive sites around Bunaken averaging between 5 - 40+ metres in depth. The visibility ranges from 20 - 35 metres and water temperature is between 27 - 30º C. Currents in the area are usually mild but occasionally can be strong.
Located approximately 45km east of Manado, the black sands of Lembeh is the best place for muck diving if you love small and unusual critters. On a typical dive you will find pygmy seahorses, Mandarin fish, hairy frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, emperor shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, harlequin shrimp, cockatoo waspfish, boxer crabs and many different types of nudibranchs. There are over 30 dive sites around Lembeh averaging between 5 - 30 metres in depth. The visibility ranges from 10 - 25 metres and water temperature is between 24 - 29º C. There is little current in the area.
Bangka lies off the northern tip of Sulawesi, some 80km from Manado. The islands are quite exposed and often get strong currents making it an ideal area for drift dives around steep pinnacles. Pelagics come in to feed and the reefs are alive with colour. There are over 25 dive sites around Bangka averaging between 5 - 40+ metres in depth. The visibility ranges from 10 - 35 metres and water temperature is between 27 - 30º C. Currents in the area can be strong.