Diving with friends is lot of fun


From my first day I felt warmly welcome and after a month the feeling still lasts. - Petra, DMT / Living Colours Diving Resort

Diving is a sport that I got interested in years ago when I did a PADI Discover Scuba Diving -dive while being on holiday in Thailand. Three years ago I finally had the opportunity to take my PADI Open Water Diver course. All the way from the beginning my love for diving has grown bigger and bigger for every dive. Last spring I went for a one month dive holiday in Thailand. When I got back home I just couldn't stop thinking about diving. After a while I decided that I want to sign up for a PADI Divemaster course.

From the beginning I had in mind that I wan't to go somewhere I haven't been before. I chose South East Asia, because I'm interested in SE Asian cultures and I love the food. Also I feel safe when travelling here. After all there isn't many places in the world where you can travel alone safely as a woman. During last summer I was searching on Internet for places to go and where I could do my Divemaster training. I had heard about Living Colours earlier and many people (like my mom!) recommended North Sulawesi and Bunaken National Park for excellent diving.

Party night at Living Colours

Maria and Petra having cocktails and beers by the beach at Safety stop bar. Freddy is singing background, one of those fun party nights - again. 

So here I am now on Bunaken island doing my Divemaster course. Bunaken is a lovely small island with a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. From my first day I felt warmly welcome and after a month the feeling still lasts. I really have fallen in love with this remote small island and it's people!

Before I could start with the Divemaster training I had to take the Rescue Diver course. I can't compare the Rescue Diver course with the other dive courses I've taken before, because the content is totally different. There was a lot of training on and under the surface and I learnt a lot of good new skills during the course.

I improved my compass skills and safety thinking and learned how to help divers in distress. It was a really fun course and I absolutely recommend it for everybody who wants to improve their diveskills and learn how to prevent and manage problems and accidents. After all these are skills that all divers can benefit from in their everyday life.

So how my Divemaster course went? You'll hear from it soon enough!

Change your life and book YOUR divemaster course with Living Colours: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PADI Divemaster course with Living Colours Diving Resort


All pictures Heini Härsilä / Living Colours Diving Resort / Bunaken 2015.




Tarsius in North Sulawesi picture DeDan.


Obviously North Sulawesi is famous for its amazing diving: Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh Strait, but it's not just the underwater world that is truly amazing here.


1. Tangkoko National Park

Tangkoko National Park is about 2 hour car ride from Manado and is one of the best places in the world to spot world's smallest primate Tarsius Tarsier. In Tangkoko you can also see Black tailless monkeys, wild pigs, kuskus, hornbills and many tropical birds, green vipers... Read more:


Tangkoko National Park / DeDan Living Colours


2. Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center

The Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center is a rescue, rehabilitation and release center dor animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade. Visit or become a volunteer! Read more:


3. Tomohon area

Wonderful flower gardens, visit Lake Linow and hot springs, famous Tomohon traditional market, this beautiful highland village has charm you won't forget. Read more:

Tarsius in North Sulawesi picture Heini Harsila


4. Mt. Lokon and mt. Mahawu

Interested of doing some mountain climbing or easier trekking in the volcanic jungle? Mt. Mahawu is easy option and Lokon for more advanced trekkers. Both giants located in Tomohon.
Read more:

Green viper / DeDan Living Colours


5. Climbing Manado Tua

Usually we just dive there but hey, why not climb it. Ali won't join you though, he's done it once and regrets it badly. He said no one told it was so high! :D But others say it's great!

Read more about trips:


Tarsius in North Sulawesi picture DeDan.


 All pictures except Lake Linov are taken by DeeDanz

Lake Linov picture Heini Härsilä.



Diving Resort in Bunaken

For those who don’t know, Living Colours Diving Resort consisted of three main departments. The dive center, the restraunt and the accommodation. These worked seemlessely in the open to produce the “Living Colours Experience”. Unknown to most, and still the source of many conspiracy theories is Living Colours R+D devision. The research and development division is, to the naked eye, just a bar. But this is the place where magic happens.

On a normal 35 degree June afternoon the two Finns sat in the shaded bar, quietly talking over an ever increasing pile of Heineken bottles. After a while they stood with purpose and headed into the sunlight. Curiously I watched two Finns building a fire on the beach, placing rocks on a makeshift metal frame over the fire. They almost resembled how I would imagine cave men looked. Feverishly working away gathering wood, rocks, more wood, more rocks, more wood, and even more rocks. Hardly taking the time to sip their Heineken they grunted their plans, nodded, and sweated in the heat. They seemed to work together each knowing the others thoughts, almost like they were two guys, with one brain. After hours of work the fire was extinguished, the rocks hot, and the pair was ready.

Sauna on the beach at Bunaken

The first sauna on the beach 2010. 


A crude tarpaulin and bamboo frame was placed over the heated rocks, the steps from the beach would be their seat. Inviting all who had spectated they ushered some ten people under the tarpaulin. With a proud smile, they pored water onto the rocks, causing hot steam to rise. Enjoying the heat the proudly explained the Finnish sauna tradition. THEY had dared to dream. And over the past eight hours they had produced Bunaken’s first operational beach sauna.

After that day, Living Colours Diving Resort was to gain an extension to its R+D division, a place where ideas would be hatched in the comfort of a Finnish sauna. From the design to the importation of Finnish materials, rocks, and scents the sauna was in place. Everything was ready – almost.

A sauna “tonttu” or elf, is a man who tirelessly prepares, heats, and cares for the sauna.

Since 1689 Sauna elves have been graduating from Lapland’s coverted “Heateri Experti” college. Located in the small hamlet of O'Vykeeni just south of the town Purk Elle, the college is shrouded by secrecy and intrigue. Some say the course syllabus is contains teachings from the first Tonttu’s who came to Finland from England after getting lost on their way to the crusades, other myths include “Heateri Experti” being the birthplace of salmiakki. All that is certain is that only the most capable “elves” gain access to the college. The course is a long and hard one, which demands much from the students and profesors. All that is known for sure is that only students with Pure Finnish blood (about 40% alc.) make the grade. But due to budget cuts and funds being diverted to support the failing National Ice hockey team, the college has only limited places for ten Tonttu every five years (average training time). After numerous letters, emails, telegrams, smoke signals, and carrier pigeons sent from Living Colours Bunaken requesting immediate assistance, we heard no response. In desperation we decided our Tonttu would have to be trained on Bunaken. But who could make the grade amongst the few? I alone heard the call. I stepped forward and volunteered.


Authentic Finnish sauna in Bunaken island

Salmiakki Koskenkorva aka Black Death 

The first obstacle was to gain some “Finnish blood”. Short of becoming a vampire and draining an unsuspecting diver I'd have to “marry into the club”, this proved to be challenging. The average Finnish girl is not overly impressed by, what can only be best put as, Jungle hygiene. But luck was to be on my side when a group of three travelling Finnish girls arrived to the resort. Once my future bride was selected I would be cleared to begin my training. I proceeded to procure the tools I would need to woo the maiden. These were three small and cute kittens, 24 heineken, and about 2 hours of “Gunther and the Sunshine” girls music videos, she stood no chance. Within six months terms and conditions were arranged and she had clicked the “I agree” box.

The training began in ernest, mastering the skills of the Tonttu would not be easy, more than simply lighting a fire was to be learned. The first week was spent “straightening the liver”, this was done by increasing the levels of Heineken to an acceptable Finnish standard. Before moving onto consumption of the Tonttu’s worst enemy, or best friend, – Salmiakki Koskenkorva aka Black Death. No stories that start with a shot of Black death ever finish with “and then we got home safely”, and it is rumoured that more than a few Tonttu’s have succombed to its sticky claw. In Finland, the great Helsinki sauna fire of 1878 was said to be caused by a particaulary stronger batch, four saunas burned for three days creating of the nations largest ever smoke sauna.

The next Tonttu training focused on the wood. Getting wood is easy, but keeping wood for a long time can be a tough order, especially in the jungles of Sulawesi. Your wood is sensitive, delicate, and neglect it for a moment and you can loose it. This proved to be a tough lesson on Bunaken, a pile of sauna wood drying will look like a steak dinner to the termites, who will turn it to dust in faster than you can imagine. Keeping your wood, and keeping it dry was no easy order. But persivere I did, and I am proud to say that even my wife stared approvingly at my wood.

Dive resort in Bunaken


The training continued, long hours, hot days until finally my Fiskars axe was a mere extension of my taught, ripped, upper body and muscular arms. Chopping wood for hours in the blazing sun all under the watchful eyes of father Peter, a Catholic priest who had volunteered to supervise this phase of the training. Always a touching presence, Father Phyle was encouraging. Adjusting and advising me to position my body with my back to him as I swung the axe. This phase of the training was oddly photographed by Father Phyle, and though I wasn’t too hot, he insisted I not wear a shirt. I was saddened when father Phyle was recalled to the Vatican to polish the gold, leaving me to my training.

After months of training I was introduced to my final Guru – Mr Harvy Arr, a Finnish hero. He was the most Finnish man in the southern hemisphere. His skin was whiter than snow, reflecting natural light, a permanent frown engraved on his forehead, which I later learned is how Finns smile. Being raised in Lapland he had an aversion to sunlight, so from now on we worked at night, heating the kiuas to temperatures that would make fukushima reactor 4 look like a Sunday bbq, and giving our eco resort the carbon footprint of Chinese power station. Unfaced we continued, working long hours and being brought food by his wife, Lulu Arr, we worked on. Finally it was time to test. The Arr family all joined, Harvy, Lulu, and their daughter Lisa-Lulu Arr. After a few short steams Harvy looked happy, he frowned a big happy Finnnnish frown, and I knew I had graduated with honours.

That was over five years ago, and two Kiuas' later we are still here. Still the only true Anglo-Finnish sauna in the southern hemisphere. On hot days I sit upon the sauna balcony I wonder what happened to Harvy, if he still teaches. The thoughts make my forehead throb and extend into a happy Finnish frown. I read that father Phyle is helping others all the time, the latest I heard he was helping the police with their enquiries, he does enjoy giving. As for the two pioneers who dared to dream, sweat, drink, and build a sauna in the topics, that’s another blog post.

If tree falls in the forrest and no one is there to hear it, who chops the wood for the kiuas?


Accommodation in Bunaken island





Living Colours group getting ready to clean COTS, picture Heini Härsilä 2015.

 This week Earth Day celebrated its 45th anniversary! Congratulations, many good things have been achieved but many things yet to be done.

Like we could read this week from news, WWF's recent report is clear: Oceans are world's seventh largest economy worth $24tn BUT are in immediate danger due to overfishing, pollution and climate change. it is obvious how important our oceans are to so many people around the globe. This is what was said:

The report warns that nearly two-thirds of the world’s fisheries are “fully exploited” with most of the rest overexploited. The biological diversity of the oceans slumped by 39% between 1970 and 2010, while half of the world’s corals and nearly a third of its seagrasses have disappeared in this time.

Crown of thorns at Bunaken National Park
Crown of thorns, picture Heini Härsilä 2015.

Obviously we as diving resort are as well depending of the sea and healthy coral reefs bursting with fish. Scuba divers are the ambassadors of the underwater world because we love the reefs and we can see the change better than many others. On Earth Day Webnesday 22th of April 2015 we gathered a group from divers and snorkelers from the resort and from Bunaken villages and headed to the reefs to collect poisonous reef eating Crown of thorns sea stars.


Divers at Living Colours Bunaken National Park
Divers collecting COTS, picture Heini Härsilä 2015.


Crown of thorns is coral polyp eating carnivore and sometimes large populations can destroy huge portions of reef. It doesn't have many predators, but one of them is beautiful triton's trumpet (also called giant triton), which is often captured and killed by its gorgeous shell.


Triton's trumpet at Bunaken National Park
Beautiful Triton's trumpet, picture Heini Härsilä 2014.


First we took our boat to Mike's point on north side of Bunaken where's we've seen quite many cots recently. Diver's and snorkelers collected 51 big cots which is less than we expected - which is always good news! Current was getting quite strong so we headed to Living Colours' house reef where we didn't find any! The tide was getting low so we had another try the net day and then snorkelers collected around 30 cots in the shallows. Not a huge catch but like said - just good news. Living Colours has been collecting cots from Bunaken's fragile reefs with NWSA for more than a decade and we really hope it works! :)

Have you been participating any earth day activities? Let's make this planet little better place and do everything we can to save our precious seas!

Get sustainable sea food guide to your phone!




Living Colours group getting ready to clean COTS, picture Heini Härsilä 2015.
Living Colours group getting ready to clean COTS, picture Heini Härsilä 2015.




Nudibranchs at Bunaken Marine Park /Havula
Nudibranchs at Bunaken Marine Park /Havula


Well yes when we go to sauna we get naked. That's what Al is gonna talk to you about next time. But this time I'm just gonna tell few things about nudis, those naked gill guys who happen to be the candies of the reefs, beautiful little sea slugs.

Did you know there's more than 3000 species of nudibranchs? The number is unbelievable, I wonder how many painters God had when he/she was creating these marvelous creatures. New species are being discovered all the time and also us here in Bunaken National Park have encountered many never before seen species. Go to if you can't find nudi you spotted in any of your fish books and find out if you really have found new species or did it just look very different than the ones in the book!

Did you know that nudibranchs are carnivores? They eat each other - among other things. Their daily diet also includes other slugs, coral, sponge and fish eggs... Few years ago we had a guest who was studying nudis and she told us some species also eat coral with algae and that algae is actually able to do photosynthesis with sun and that's how nudi can be fed with nutrients for long time (even in the tank with no food!). How cool is that!?

They don't live very long, from few weeks up to one year. And they taste bad, I've heard. But they really like to be photographed. Maybe on your next visit you will bring a UW camera and start hunting these beasts with it!



About Nudi Pixel

Nudi Pixel, as the name suggests, is a website dedicated to Nudibranchs. Well, some of you might be asking "Why nudibranchs?", why not a shrimp site, a fish identification site, a turtle site, a coral site or maybe a sponge site? Aside from their obvious beauty and mystery, nudibranchs have played an important role in the friendship of the three founders of this website: Erwin Kodiat, Yuji Law and Hengky Dotulong. They are all fascinated by nudibranchs, their gorgeous colors, texture and rarity are always the main topic of conversation when these three meet. And they really can talk about an exciting new nudibranch they discovered from lunch till dinner!

Therefore, after they each independently amassed large collections of nudibranch photos, they decided to set up a website dedicated to Nudibranchs. Nudi Pixel serves as an online reference tool for Nudibranch lovers. Each species of Nudibranch in the website has detailed photo references, location and scientific classification. To make the website more competent and attractive, we have designed it in such a way that every Nudibranch will have at least two images for reference. We are proud to report that some of the Nudibranchs uploaded to Nudi Pixel are being identified and examined by leading nudibranch experts like Dr. Dave Behrens, Dr. Richard Willan and Neville Coleman.

Nudi Pixel also hopes to create a stockpile of Nudibranch images for reference purposes. These images are contributed by friends and fellow Nudibranch lovers from around the globe. Here, the Nudi Pixel team would like to thank each and every one of you for your images, efforts and support to develop this reference website




Thumbnail     Thank you all for the great reviews again! We're pleased to announce that Living Colours Dive Resort has been recognized with a 2018 Certificate of Excellence, based on the consistently great reviews...
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Contact Details

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

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.