Diving Bunaken
September ~ October 2008




We were able to dive on Sunday the 14th, the same afternoon we arrived at Lumbalumba.  A dusk dive had been planned and we joined them at the mainland site called Circus Critters.  It was a sloping sand dive with lots of staghorn coral and as the name suggests 'critters'.  We didn't take any cameras on this dive and just used it to get our weights figured out and get used to being back in the ocean after 8 1/2 months.  It was an hour and 5 minute dive with a maximum depth of 61 feet.  For an introduction dive it was nice to see a big Mantis Shrimp out and about, many Anemonefish, Angelfish, Triggers, Porcelain crabs, Nudibranchs and a nice Eagle Ray.  We did 14 more dives with Lumbalumba for a total of 15 dives.  Our dive guide was Maxi and he dove with just the two of us all week.  It was great to have your own guide.  Bill's mask turned into a leaking mess right away, fortunately I had my spare mask that would fit his prescription lenses, unfortunately (for him) it was bright yellow.  So, yeah, he dove the whole trip with a girly yellow mask.  But he could see.

The maps below show the locations of the sites we dove and listed below them is a summary of the rest of the dives with links to the photos from each dive.


Monday, September 15th Diving

Mandolin ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We hit the water at 10AM for this dive along a nice wall with lots of coral.  Saw a large Napoleon Wrasse right away.  Other sightings included Leaf Scorpionfish, Lionfish, Butterflyfish, Moorish Idols, Anemonefish and small Anthias and juveniles everywhere.  The shallows were like an aquarium.  A beautiful dive of one hour and 5 minutes with a maximum depth of 102 feet.

Kelapa Pendek ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We jumped in at 1:48PM near the village between Muka Kampung and Lekuan1.  There was quite a bit of current but it was a bit lighter as we moved up from the tip of the island.  Its another steep wall where we saw a couple of BIG turtles.  I didn't take my camera but Bill had his.  We also saw a nice Blue Spotted Ray, some Nudibranchs and a school of Batfish.  The Pyramid Butterflyfish, Bannerfish and Fusiliers were prevalent here as well.  Nice dive for one hour and ten minutes with a maximum depth of 81 feet.

Lumbalumba House Reef ~ Off the Mainland - After heading back to the resort, we dove from the dock at Lumbalumba for a shore dive around the jetty at 3:43PM.  Great area for diving with a rocky jetty just teaming with creatures.  Lots of Pipefish, Nudibranchs and Lionfish.  There were Juvenile Many Spotted Sweetlips, some Batfish, Trumpetfish and a nice pair of Leaf Scorpionfish.  Our dive had a maximum depth of 57 feet and lasted for one hour and 26 minutes.  We would enjoy a few more dives here before the end of our stay.

Click the album below to see the photos from September 15th.


Tuesday, September 16th Diving

Tanjung Kopi ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We started our diving day on the far side of the volcano Manado Tua, striding into the water at 10:17AM.  It was another steep wall with really nice coral, Butterflyfish, Damsels and other small fish in the shallows.  Along the wall were big schools of Giant and Oriental Sweetlips, a big school of Batfish that wouldn't come close for photos and another big Napoleon Wrasse.  There was a big Yellow Margined Triggerfish and a Clown Triggerfish as well.  The dive was one hour and 5 minutes with a maximum depth of 106 feet.

Lekuan 2 ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We moved over to Bunaken Island for the second dive at 1:38PM along the steep, vertical wall of the Lekuan sites.  We were literally swarmed by the RedLipped Triggerfish, Pyramid and Longnose Butterflyfish, Snappers and Angels.  A shark cruised by for a look at us and there were Blue Spotted Rays and Moray Eels along the wall.  We were even visited by yet another big Napoleon Wrasse.  This was an impressive site for a one hour and eleven minute dive with a maximum depth of 84 feet.

Lumbalumba House Reef ~ Off the Mainland - Back at the resort we decided to do a dusk dive at 5:27PM, to see the Mandarin fish that are near the Lumbalumba Jetty.  It was surge-y around the Staghorn coral and a bit difficult to stay still while we waited for their courting and mating rituals.  Our patience was rewarded with many sightings and some pairings of the brightly colored Dragonets.  After watching them for a while we went on to see many crabs a couple of Ornate Ghost Pipefish and some of the usual night critters such as Brittle and Basket Stars, Urchins and Lobsters.  The dive was one hour and fourteen minutes with a maximum depth of 62 feet.

Click the album below to see the photos from September 16th.


Wednesday, September 17th Diving

Mikes Point ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We headed up to Mikes point on this warm sunny morning hoping the current would allow us to dive here and at 10:08AM found it agreeable.  We had been diving with Maxi to ourselves but on this dive we had another guest join us.  He had an elaborate camera set up and somewhat monopolized the critters when we saw them.  Luckily this was the only dive we had to deal with that.  We still managed to see a nice Leaf Scorpionfish, some Anemonefish, a big Scorpionfish, and lots of Damoiselles and other small reef fish.  The dive was one hour and 3 minutes long and we went down to a maximum depth of 92 feet.

Lekuan 3 ~ Bunaken Marine Park - Our after lunch dive started at 1:03 today and we spotted a big Napoleon Wrasse near the surface.  Saw some Anemonefish and lots of Nudibranchs on this dive, but the stars were the Crocodile fish and the really pretty purple Leaf Scorpionfish.  There were swirling schools of Fringelip Mullets and Fusiliers as well.  It was a great dive and we managed to dive for one hour and 3 minutes and go to a maximum depth of 92 feet again, mimicking the last dive.

Tambala Point ~ Off the Mainland - Back at the Lumbalumba jetty, some of us decided to do a third dive just south of the resort in front of the village there.  We dove at 4:11PM from the boat to a sandy slope similar to the Circus Critters site of the first day.  There Maxi found some Pigmy Seahorses for us.  We also saw Cuttlefish, some Ringed Pipefish, some nice Nudibranchs, a Black Spotted Puffer and a couple of tiny shrimp on some whip coral.  The dive was one hour and 4 minutes and maximum depth was 60 feet.

Click the album below to see the photos from September 17th.

Or the movie camera for a video.



Thursday, September 18th Diving

Timur 1 ~ Bunaken Marine Park - Today's weather was not cooperating with us.  It was windy and rainy and the water was rough.  It was a rough ride for over an hour to get to the Bunaken area.  We went to the far side of Bunaken Island where the water was calmer.  Of course so did all the other dive op's.  The rain affected the visibility when we hit the water at 10:16AM so it wasn't such a good day for photos.  And the current was pretty ripping along this very vertical wall but we still managed an hour long dive with a maximum depth of 102 feet.  Saw some nice creatures like a big Turtle and Blue Spotted Ray.  Lots of Anemonefish, bright yellow Sea Cucumbers, schools of Fusiliers and Redlipped Triggers zipping along in the current.  There are some photos of the rain and some funny pictures on the boat included in the photo album below.

Sachiko's Point / Timur ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We moved up the coastline a bit closer to Sachiko's Point but still in the relative calmer waters for our second dive at 1:04PM.  It was again a steep vertical wall with some nice coral and lots of different Nudibranchs.  Saw another Blue Spotted Ray and a nice sized Scrawled Filefish.  There were many Butterflyfish and Surgeonfish and Triggers and a really big beautiful Emperor Angelfish that refused to pose for a picture.  The visibility was better here and we got some nice photos on this one hour and 4 minute dive with a maximum depth of 74 feet.

Click the album below to see the photos from September 18th.

Or the movie camera for a video.



Friday, September 19th Diving

Alung Banua ~ Bunaken Marine Park - We changed this mornings dive site from Cela Cela to Alung Banua due to the incredibly strong current.  It was still considerable even in this more protected area but managable.  We started at 10:15AM on a sandy slope that led to a wall drop off with lots of nice coral.  We saw another school of Batfish, lots of Angelfish and Butterflyfish, a Scorpionfish and a variety of Nudibranchs.  At the end of the one hour and 5 minute dive were three Squid zipping along together.  Our maximum depth was 101 feet on this dive.

Fukui ~ Bunaken Marine Park - This afternoons dive started at 12:57PM and this site held quite a few interesting sightings.  First were the swirling clouds of Big Eye Barracuda and then the group of Giant Clams that were truly amazing to see.  We watched a huge school of Batfish at a cleaning station and saw lots of Angels, Parrotfish and Butterflyfish.  This site has some unusual structures that were put there by a family that lost their son to these waters while diving.  They wanted to memorialize the site and put down several of these structures to help in rebuilding the reef.  The coral has seen a lot of damage here but seems to be taking to these structures well.  We dove for one hour and 7 minutes with a maximum depth of 89 feet.

Lumbalumba House Reef ~ Off the Mainland - Back at the house reef for another dusk dive we went in this evening at 5:09PM and dove all around the jetty.  There we found the Ornate Ghost Pipefish that lives among the rocky crevices along with a Red Frogfish and a very cooperative Cuttlefish.  Some Nudibranchs, a Trumpetfish, a Black Spotted Puffer, Leaf Scorpionfish and Lionfish also made appearances.  For our last dive with Lumbalumba, it was a relaxing one hour and 15 minute dive with a maximum depth of 60 feet.

Click the album below to see the photos from September 19th.

Or the movie camera for a video.



The next morning we were packed up and saying our good-byes to Roel, Juud and the staff at Lumbalumba.  We were off to Lembeh Island for the next part of our diving journey.  Back at the main page is a link to the write up and photos from the Lembeh part of our trip.