Diving in Bunaken
Discover the colorful unspoiled coral gardens with some crystal clear blue water through schools of fish and pelagic along the magnificent vertical walls of Bunaken, one of the world top dive destinations.
Bunaken Marine Park is a popular destination for divers from all over the world due to the unique coral reefs and numerous different species of marine life. The park offers some of the best dive sites in the world and diving in Bunaken will be a close encounter with an amazing underwater world. The park was formally established in 1991 and is among the first of Indonesia’s growing system of marine parks. The park covers a total surface area of 89,065 hectares, 97% of which is overlain by sparkling clear, warm tropical water. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen. Although each of these islands has a special character, it is the aquatic ecosystem that attracts most naturalists.
Oceanic currents may explain, in part, why Bunaken National Marine Park is such a treasure trove of biodiversity. Northeasternly currents generally sweep through the park but abundant counter currents and gyros related to lunar cycles are believed to be a trap for free swimming larvae. This is particularly true on the south side of the crescent-shaped Bunaken Island, lying in the heart of the park. A snorkler or diver in the vicinity of Lekuan or Fukui may spot over 33 species of butterfly fish and numerous types of groupers, damsels, wrasses and gobies. The gobies, smallish fish with bulging eyes and modified fins that allow them to attach to hard surfaces, are the most diverse but least known group of fish in the park.
The waters of Bunaken National Marine Park are extremely deep (1566 m in Manado Bay), clear (up to 35-40 m visibility), refreshing in temperature (27-29 C) and harbor some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Pick any of group of interest – corals, fish, echinoderms or sponges – and the number of families, genera or species is bound to be astonishingly high. For example, 7 of the 8 species of giant clams that occur in the world, occur in Bunaken. The park has around 70 genera of corals; compare this to a mere 10 in Hawaii. Although the exact number of fish species is unknown, it may be slightly higher than in the Philippines, where 2,500 species, or nearly 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific, are found.
Biologists believe that the abundance of hard corals is crucial in maintaining the high levels of diversity in the park. Hard corals are the architects of the reefs, without them, numerous marine organisms would be homeless and hungry. Many species of fish are closely associated with particular types of corals (folious, branching, massives, etc.) for shelter and egg-laying. Others, like the enormous Bumphead Parrotfish, Balbometopon muricatum, are “coralivores” and depend on hard corals for their sustenance. Bony mouth parts fused into an impressive “beak” allow these gregarious fish to crunch corals like roasted peanuts.
Each of the 4 locations you can dive with us is completely different and although Bunaken is our home base, we believe in providing our guests with a quality mix of diving.Explore Bunaken area for the world-class walls of life, Bangka group of islands for sea mounts, slopes, cavern and pinnacles, Manado Coast and Lembeh Strait to discover the rare, exotic and bizarre marine lifeOur Instructors/Divemasters are more than familiar with the dive site of all 4 areas. Our most experienced Indonesian certified Dive-Master has been helping guest enjoy the diving of North Sulawesi. Another of our dive guides is well known to many underwater photographers for his ability to spot the super macro critters.