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Divemaster course

 

All in all, we can 100% recommend doing your Dive Master Course if you want to improve your skills, get to know the dive industry closer and if you possibly want to start your career in diving. Further we would highly recommend doing your Dive Master Course with Living Colours on Bunaken Island as you will be guaranteed unforgettable diving and a wonderful team off passionate, friendly and skilled people to help you take the next step in your diving career!

We had been planning and dreaming about doing a Dive Master Course for quite some time, yet the timing and the location remained open. Finally, we decided to make some time for the course and started to consider the suitable location for us. We had been diving in Indonesia before and felt that there's so much more to see there. We heard a recommendation and read about the amazing diving around the small island called Bunaken (in North Sulawesi as you probably know already). We decided to contact Living Colours Diving Center and do some further online investigations about the area. Soon after the decision was made. We would start the Dive Master Course in the beginning of September! Here is a quick practical guide based on our experience.

If you are a foreigner, you will need to arrange visas and flights to Indonesia first. For the visa you will likely have the following 2 options. 1) Visa on arrival (if you happen to be included on the visa waiver list - check Indonesian Immigration for details) or 2) Paid visa. Both of these are valid for 30 days with the difference that the paid visa is eligible for a 30-day extension while in the country and the visa on arrival is not. At the time of writing, the paid visa cost $35 USD (Yes USD, not Indonesian rupiah) and you can apply for one prior to passport control at the border. There is an Immigration Office in Manado where it is possible to apply for the visa extension if you wish to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30 days. 

In order to get to Bunaken, you need to fly to Manado first and continue by boat from there. We got flights from Bali, yet there are other options as well. It is mostly domestic flights that operate to Manado, however at the time of writing, there are direct flights also from Singapore and China. If you do fly domestically, Garuda Indonesia is a good option as they allow you to bring diving equipment free of charge as an extra checked in piece of luggage.

Bunaken island dive resort


When you have arrived in Manado, you will need to catch a speed boat or a public boat to the island. Speedboats can be easily arranged at the Manado Port and will cost around 350000-500000 IDR depending on your negotiation skills. The public boat runs once a day (no service on Sundays) and costs 50000 IDR per person. The public boat runs at 2PM. Living Colours also have boats running between the mainland and Bunaken, but the boat does not run everyday so check availability in advance.

On Bunaken Island accommodation and meals go hand in hand. Accommodation is mainly "all inclusive” and there aren't really many other kinds of options. The good thing is that the all inclusive options come also for budget travelers. For active divers this is a nice setup as you are usually starving after diving and food will be ready according to your schedule. However, if you enjoy strolling around the village in the evenings looking for restaurants, there aren't really options for this. Also maybe it is worth mentioning that Bunaken is a small island and there is not much else to do that dive and snorkel, which by the way are both amazing right in front of the dive center. Some have even seen Dugongs here!!

PADI DM course

 

What can you expect from your Dive Master Course?

In order to start your Dive Master Course you need to be a certified rescue diver together with valid EFR certification. It is of course possible to do these too at Living Colours. Just ask for details and you will get the course setup according to your needs. We both had the prerequisite ready, so we started directly with the Dive Master Course. 

The Dive Master Course will help you refresh your existing diving skills as well as teach you plenty of new skills. You will be spending your days being part of the diving operation as much as possible, following courses, following fun dives, helping out with equipment and guests and naturally diving a lot! Studying for the course can either be done before arriving to the Island with PADI eLearning materials or on the island in the evenings by studying the required printed course materials. Both options have the same contents they are just in different formats.  

We had reserved about one month to finish the Dive Master Course. For us this was a pretty nice pace, as we had rescue and EFR courses already completed before arriving in Bunaken.  During the month we had the possibility of doing plenty of amazing dives and meet a lot of nice divers who came to enjoy the beautiful Bunaken Island. If you need to complete the EFR and Rescue courses too, you might want to add a week or so to your schedule. 

During your course you will improve your diving skills very quickly as you get used to spending every day in the water. You will be spending time with your instructor practicing basic diving skills, dive master duties and being a role model for other divers. With such a diverse diving environment on Bunaken Island, you will also learn a good amount about different types of marine life. Some sources say that you can find up to 70% of Indo-Pacific fish species in the waters near Bunaken so you will quickly develop an eye for spotting the most interesting creatures!

Divemaster course Bunaken


A question that comes often is “Should I bring my own gear"? Even though it is possible to rent gear from Living Colours, it is not a bad idea to get your own. Firstly, you are likely to dive much more after your course and having your own gear will make every dive that little bit more familiar. You’ll also be able to get the gear that best fits you and suits your needs. If you need any help choosing the gear, the staff at Living Colours have great knowledge of gear and are happy to give recommendations. 

Even if you wouldn’t want to invest in your own equipment, it is highly recommended that you buy diving insurance. Not only for the Dive Master Course but for any diving activities. There are many options for Insurance and again, Living Colours will be happy to guide you in choosing an option and pointing you in the right direction.

 Bunaken dive course

 

General tips for Bunaken Island:

The Island and life there is quite simple. Your daily routine will naturally revolve around diving and outside of that the atmosphere is very relaxed. There are a couple small villages on the island which you should explore and get to know the local people too who are wonderful, kind and super welcoming. There are not really any shops on the island, so if you need any personal items such as hygiene products, you will need to bring these with you. Manado has plenty of shops where you can find all that you need, but this will naturally take a day away from diving.

Bunaken island beach


All in all, we can 100% recommend doing your Dive Master Course if you want to improve your skills, get to know the dive industry closer and if you possibly want to start your career in diving. Further we would highly recommend doing your Dive Master Course with Living Colours on Bunaken Island as you will be guaranteed unforgettable diving and a wonderful team off passionate, friendly and skilled people to help you take the next step in your diving career!


Text: Erja-Liisa Lappalainen & Hannu Stewart
Photos: Erja-Liisa Lappalainen, Hannu Stewart, Petra Laurinen & Mikko Jantunen


 

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Living Colours Diving Resort 
PADI 5 Star Dive Resort S-36220
Pangalisang Beach, Bunaken
North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Tel: +62 812 430 6401 Mia | +62 81 2430 6063 Jaakko

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