Bunaken National Park, North Sulawesi
A flat island about 15 km from Manado, with a friendly people. The coral reefs off Bunaken island shouldn't be missed while you are in Manado. These magnificent virgin reefs are still relatively unspoiled. The drop-off walls at Liang cove is not only rare in the world, with caves, gullies and caverns, harboring an immense wealth of marine life. Spectacular formation of reefs begin with flat at about 5 m depth. These plunge downward to form underwater vertical crevices with often reach depth on several hundred meters. On these beautiful reefs, a wonderful collection of marine life thrives.
The Bunaken reef is a chain of over 40 five star dive spots. The Marine Park is spectacular with the greatest concentration of tropical fish, coral species and world famous wall diving.
Clear, warm waters (sea temperatures usually range between 27-30 degrees C), light currents and calm seas allow easy access to the underwater attraction awaiting visitors to the five-islands of the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Marine Park which sits directly offshore of Manado. Bunaken is the standout favorite, with the highest density of schooling fish and the greatest probability to see larger species such as turtles, sharks, and napoleon wrasse. There are enough sites here to keep any diver happy for over a week without going elsewhere.
The Dive Sites :
Most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua, because of their many excellent sites. The following is representative of the diving in the area.
1.Lekuan Walls (I, II, III)
This long wall on Bunaken is divided into three sites: Lekuan I, II and III. Together they represent the park's best. Steep walls are marked with deep crevices, sea fans and giant sponges. The shallows are filled with fishes. The wall, often protected from stronger currents, is frequented by bumphead parrotfish, turtles, and Napoleon wrasses.
Mandolin has a knockout reef crest and a wall that attracts thousands of fishes like schooling fusiliers, surgeonfish, unicornfish, and bannerfish. They are acclimated to divers and are easily approachable.
There are strong currents and lots of fishes on this long wall. The shallow reef isn't as spectacular as some but there are turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and other big fishes in the blue. Overhangs and small caves mark the wall.
Tanjung Kopi is a nice wall with a small school of barracuda and lots of sweetlips. Visibility in the shallows is not terrific but the numbers of fishes make up for it. Nudibranches and fire gobies are easy to spot here.
Muka Gereja is a pretty site with thousands of fishes in the shallows and deeper canyons that lead to the wall.
Barracuda Point, on northwest Montehage, is one of the furthest sites. A school of giant barracuda are regulars along with jacks and tuna.
This 60m (200ft) long German merchant ship sank near Molas Beach in 1942. It sits upright with the bow at 23m (78ft). The ship is split near amidships back to the stern, exposing the wheelhouse and cargo holds. Dives finish up on a nearby shallow reef. Expect 10-15m (30-50ft) visibility.
Bunaken Island is easily reached from Manado by motorized outrigger boat start from Manado harbor, Molas, Kalasey and Tasik Ria beaches. The public boats from Manado to Bunaken are leaving daily around 2 p.m (depending on tide), except Sundays, from Pasar Jengki near Manado harbor. Back from Bunaken to Manado usually early in the morning, around 7-8 a.m
Where to Stay
On the island you have the choice amongst a number of homestays, with rates starting at
Rp. 40 000 per day and person including full board. Some of the dive operations on Bunaken are offering more up-market accommodation, and even running water.
You can explore the land on foot. And you can use a boat to move from one dive sites to another sites.
There are several of restaurants and cafes throughout Manado and the islands. Try their specialties: seafood, bubur manado and food made of coconuts!
Sea-related products, such as items made of seashells, corals, etc