Diving in North Sulawesi – The Good & The Bad

(2nd to 9th May 2009)

Diving in Bunaken & Lembeh Strait - The Good & The Bad

I enjoyed my dives in N Sulawesi and was amazed to see so many exotic creatures found in the muck in Lembeh Strait. But I was concerned about pollution that would severely affect the continued existence the underwater life.  However, the main purpose of my dive trip was to test the new lens implant of my left eye.

A.  Introduction


                                  Map of North Sulawesi

Map of North Sulawesi


Eight Malaysian divers, Low KM (the organizer), Chris Chin, Dr Teh, Toh, and two couples: Simon & Kim and Jeff & Po Po flew to Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi Province on 2nd May 2009 to begin a week of diving in Bunaken Island and Lembeh Strait.

On 2nd May, we arrived late at night at Froggies Divers in Bunaken Island. We spent two days diving around Bunaken Island and depart for Lemheh Island early in the morning of 5th May.

In Lembeh Island, which is located near the busy Port of Bitung, we spent four days diving along the Lembeh Strait.

We returned on the night of 9th May and reached home in the wee hours of next day.

This diving expedition in North Sulawesi was my first after my last driving trip to Pulau Weh in February 2008, when I came home with dizzy spells. Itwas only after a nine-month wild-goose-chase that it was discovered my dizzy vision was due to the displacement of my lens implant in my left eye! A new lens implant was installed and after six months of recovery, I decided to undergo a diving test to see whether I was still able to pursue my hobby. So in this diving expedition to North Sulawesi, I was to take it easy and be on a constant lookout for any problem associated with my vision.


B.  Diving in Bunaken   


B.1 Bunaken Island


Bunaken Island is located about 10km North-west of Manado city. The island can be reached in about an hour by boat from the city’s harbor.

Bunaken is part of the Bunaken National Marine Park which was formally established in 1991. The Entrance Fee to the Bunken National Park costs Rp150,000. The proceeds are mainly utilized to fund the conservation activities in the Park, including coral rehabilitation.

It is interesting to note that Manado was chosen as the venue for the World Oceans Conference (WOC), to be held from 11 to 15 May, 2009. As the nations meet in Manado, the main target is addressing efforts to conserve the health of the oceans; to battle climate change and adapt to its consequences.


The main area of concern is known as the Coral Triangle that stretches across six nations between the Indian and the Pacific oceans and is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The Coral Triangle covers 1% of the earth surface but contains 75% of the world’s coral species and is likened to the Amazon rainforest in terms of its biodiversity!

It is hoped that the meeting from the six nations of the Coral Triangle will launch a conservation plan to save the region.


<-- The Coral Triangle


I first went diving in Manado/Bunaken more than ten years ago and I enjoyed the beautiful wall dives with abundance of tropical fish and coral species. This time around I was pleased to find that the marine ecosystem still remained relatively unspoiled. It shows that the management of the Bunaken Natioanl Park together with the cooperation of the local communities, and dive resort operators had done a lot to protect Bunaken’s natural resources. In future, the Bunaken National Park will further benefit from the conservation plan to be launched by the Coral Triangle.

B.2  Diving in Bunaken


                                                     Dive Sites around Bunaken Island


We arrived at Bunaken Island in the night of 2nd May and stayed in Froggies Divers resort.

Froggies Divers is a small dive operator located close to many of the National Park’s dive sites. It has ten wooden bungalows built in ecological style. The resort can only accommodate a maximum of 20 divers. Also in each dive boat it takes only four divers.

                                  Froggies Resort Map

                                                           Froggies Divers Resort



In my two days in Froggies Divers, I took it easy and did four dives, two in each day. The dive sites were: 1. Bumaken Timur, 2. Mondolin Point, 3. Sachiko’s Point and 4. Fukui Point. 

The dives I took were all wall dives. The dives were spectacular with big concentration of tropical fish and coral species. Below are some underwater photos taken by me.





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