The total area of the Bunaken National Marine Park is 89 065 ha and includes the five islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Montehage and Nain, as well as parts of the coastal area of North Sulawesi mainland. There are more than 40 dive sites around the islands and along Manado Bay.
Walls of Bunaken
Vertical walls, reef sharks, turtles, Pygmy sea horses and many surprises
The eastern side of Bunaken Island offers superb wall diving and excellent snorkelling. The vertical wall has many cracks and small caves and is covered with soft and hard corals, gorgonians and huge sponges. Fishes are so abundant that it is impossible to list all the species found here.
Some examples are: barracudas, triggerfishes, parrotfishes, surgeonfishes, unicornfishes, wrasses, drummers, butterflyfishes, trumpetfish, trevallys, groupers, snappers, sweetlips, angelfishes, needlefishes and batfishes.
Possible encounters include turtles, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks bumphead parrotfish, napoleon wrasse, eagle rays and blue-spotted stingrays. The shallows are unbelievably colourful and full of life. Excellent spot for night dives, too.
What has been said about diving on the east side of Bunaken (Timur):
"This is truly breathtaking, an incredible dive any time of day; but dived early morning or late afternoon, when the light begins to die and the fish start feeding in earnest, Timur is the diving equivalent of a religious experience. ... There is more variety on this site, given the right conditions, than I have seen anywhere else in Indonesia. If it's in the fish guidebook, it's on this reef - and it would truly take a whole book to recite the species spotted on even a single dive. ...
Whatever you do and however you dive it, don't miss this spot. If you could do only one dive in North Sulawesi, this would have to be it." (The dive sites of Indonesia, Guy Buckles, 1995)
The Southern side of the island has beautiful coral slopes in a deep calm bay, as well as vertical winding walls with stronger currents. This side of the island has a high diversity of fishes, corals and sponges, and good spots for snorkelling. There are huge schools of fusiliers, pyramid butterflyfishes, bannerfishes and damselfishes.
Other species you might bump into are reef sharks, napoleon wrasses, hawksbill and green turtles, great barracudas, eagle rays, snappers, scorpionfishes and leaf fishes. Invertebrates include a variety of differently shaped hard corals, black corals, gorgonians, giant barrel sponges, nudibranchs and giant clams.
The dive sites on the western and northern sides of Bunaken are vertical walls abundant with reef fishes, sharks, lobsters, whip corals and giant gorgonians with tiny Pygmy sea horses. You might also see large emperors, red snappers, groupers, dogtooth tuna, eagle rays, giant trevally, turtles and barracudas. Even manta rays, mola mola, hammerhead sharks and whalesharks have been seen around Bunaken.
Watch this amazing video of Living Colours' house reef, shot in september 2014 by snorkelling
Muck Diving in Manado Bay
World class muck diving with strange creatures
The dive sites on the coast of the mainland, vary from sloping beautiful coral walls, rich with large tabular Acropora sp., reef fishes, nudibranchs, ribbon eels and unusual green tree corals, to sandy bottom environments. There are many excellent muck-diving sites, favourites among uw photographers. Giant frogfish, ghost pipefish, sea horses, mimic octopus, Spanish dancer and many, many more.
The Wreck − Half way to Manado on the coast of the mainland lays a 60-m long W.W.II shipwreck at 25-40 meters depth. The wreck is covered with colourful soft corals and it is a perfect hiding place for reef sharks and numerous other fishes. Highlights are different colour leaf fishes, scorpion fishes and nudibrachs. Next to the wreck on a sandy slope you can find an unbelievable variety of coral crabs, shrimps, nudibranchs, pipefish, ghost pipefish, crocodilefish, ribbon eels and garden eels as well as other interesting creatures.
Beautiful coral gardens with colourful reef fishes
The southern side of Siladen Island has a vertical wall in large steps. The reef top is spectacular with a huge variety of hard and soft corals, and it is therefore an excellent spot for snorkelling, too.
The northern side of the island has a reef flat with sand, gravel and massive corals. Enjoy your dive amongst reef fishes, moray eels, ribbon eels, garden eels, anemonefishes, dogtooth tuna, stingrays and turtles.
Magnificent walls, big stuff and strong currents
The dive sites around Manado Tua have stunning steep vertical winding walls with many cracks, canyons and small caves. You can enjoy beautiful hard and soft corals, reef fishes, turtles and reef sharks. Occasional strong currents at some sites bring big schools or barracudas and trevallies together with sharks right in front of your eyes.
Unbelievable amount of different coral species
Here you can expect to see very large schools of blackfin barracudas, giant and big-eye trevally, dogtooth tuna, great barracudas, napoleon wrasses, emperors, turtles, eagle rays and schools of bumphead parrotfishes. Hammerhead sharks have been encountered in the deeper waters. The amount of different coral species on the eastern side of the island has astonished even the most experienced marine biologists!
Deep canyons and coral gardens
The island is surrounded by huge fields of hard corals, an amazing diversity of invertebrate fauna, big fishes and deep canyons - to be discovered by you once you get here!