Dive Site: Bunaken Island Dive Sites, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Locality mosque and shacks in the foreground diving Bunaken Point at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Coral covered walls
Depth: Top: 5MBottom: 24M
Location: There are many corners and points to the walls around Bunaken Island. Photos are representative of a number of these sites.

Description

From the map you can see that Bunaken is quite angular and it has a number of internal corners and external corners or points. There is a shallow reef around much of Bunaken (perfect for the deco stop), and the walls fall away quite steeply to 20 or 30 metres. At the base you’ll find a variety of hard coral formations in different places, and the walls are dotted with ledges where resting turtles are often observed.

Here is a short video of what you can expect to see scuba diving around Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi.

This first shot is from (internal) corner number 3, but is very representative of the dive site overall.

Corner Number three terrain diving Lekuan 3 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

There were all manner of reef fish.  Here are a few of the stand-outs.

A Spot-nape (top) and a Klein’s Butterflyfish

Spot nape (top) and a Kleins Butterflyfish diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

A Blue Square anthias

Blue square anthias diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

The blue girdled angelfish – spotted in addition to many emperors, many regal and many bicolour angels.

Blue girdle angelfish diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

An Eclipse or Bennett’s Butterflyfish

Eclipse or Bennetts Butterflyfish diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

A clown trigger scoots through below us.

Clown trigger diving Muka Kambung at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

This shot shows how the reef wall falls away into the deep blue with pyramid butterflies commuting up and down.

Locality: pyramid butterfly in profusion diving Muka Kambung at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

As well as the fish, there are plenty of turtles, small and big.  There are little rock ‘nests’ along the walls where they rest. This is the biggest one we saw, who I believe is called Suzie by the locals.

Big Suzie having a rest diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

As well as big stuff, there’s little stuff and plenty of it.  I’m not a nudi fan, but these two specimens were very photogenic.

Nudi racecar diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

 

Nudi black and white yellow horns diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

Most of the coral along the walls is well formed over time and still in very good condition despite the numbers of divers who visit these sites.  (I suspect the divers visiting North Sulawesi are of the more experienced variety).

Beautifully formed cabbage coral diving Bunaken Point at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

Looking carefully between the corals covering the wall and you might see a moray – there are plenty about.

Undulated moray diving Lekuan 1 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

The following critters had to be pointed out to me by our excellent dive guides – I would not have found them on my own.  In fact I should confess, before I went to North Sulawesi I didn’t even know that hairy squat lobsters existed.

Red Hairy squat lobster diving Lekuan 3 at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

 

Hairy squat lobster diving Muka Kambung at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

 

Hairy blue squat lobster diving Muka Kambung at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

We had a bit of fun on one dive with this young striped remora who at first tried to attach himself to my buddy’s tank. Having failed, he next tried the BCD, then my wetsuit, and finally, because I was wearing a shorty – my thigh!

Striped remora trying to attach itself to the tank diving Muka Kambung at Bunaken at Thalassa Dive Resort North Sulawesi Indonesia by Diveplanit

At this point it ceased to be amusing and we gently tried to shoo him away.  It wasn’t discouraged easily and swam between the three of us – buddy, Thalassa dive guide and me – trying to get a purchase.  As we increased the size of the triangle between us he eventually gave up and swam vertically down to hitch, hopefully, a more sensible ride.