Bunaken, which is world-renowned as a scuba diver’s paradise, is just a quick boat ride from Manado’s airport. The island is home to more than seven times the number of coral species in Hawaii. The reefs surrounding the island are an important habitat for marine animals, and the numerous dive sites are suited to almost any underwater enthusiast.
Pangalisan Wall, Bunaken
Located a short boat ride from the main village on Bunaken, this coral wall dive is ideal for nighttime exploration. The upper reef is a garden of hard and soft corals; 10 metres down, you’ll nd sea fans, branching corals and macroinvertebrates. Spot the unusual sponge crabs, which camou age themselves with live sponges.
Bolung Reef, Mainland Manado
Across the channel from Siladen island, Bolung Reef offers one of the most memorable muck dives and the chance to discover rare invertebrates such as colourful nudibranchs and mantis shrimp. Near the surface, shallow corals are scattered across the sandy bottom, while isolated outcrops of rock and coral create tiny underwater ecosystems further down the slope.
Muka Kampung, Bunaken
Nicknamed “Turtle City” by many local guides, Muka Kampung is a wall dive located just in front of the island’s main villages. The shallow coral garden is perfect for snorkelling, but venture down to 10 metres and you’ll likely find green sea turtles traversing the coral wall or cruising in the cerulean waters. The turtles here are already acclimatised to humans, often swimming very near to passing divers.
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine.