Water temperatures for diving in North Sulawesi are very comfortable, with temperatures between 27 and 29 degrees Celsius. Water gets coldest September to October, when temperatures in Bunaken can go down to 26. Depending on the conditions, visibility in most Manado dive sites is generally good. Lembeh Strait never had great visibility, but being a muck diving destination this is not important.
Diving Bunaken national park is well known for its excellent wall dives, but the area has a lot more to offer. The shores of the mainland, close to manado, supply some great opportunities for muck diving. The island of Bunaken is surrounded by fringing reef, before it drops off, offering good opportunities for beginner divers and night dives. Lekuan 1,2 and 3, all part of the same reef, are popular wall dives. Overgrown with hard and soft colors, this wall dive can have mild currents and attracts larger fish like the Giant Grouper. Bunaken dive site Alung Banua is a beginner-friendly site that teems with marine life. The wall and caves here are home to an array of camouflaged fish like frogfish and leaf fish, but also attracts schools of fish and an occasional white tip reef shark.
Lembeh Strait is the macro and muck diving capital of the world. Searching the sandy bottom and patches of reef growth, divers may encounter the tiny Pigmy Seahorse, leafy scorpionfish, pipfish, frogfish, nudibranchs, sanddivers and the rare mimic octopus. Dive site ‘Hairball’ was named after the algae here that resembles a cat’s hairball. This sandy slope with small areas of reef is extremely rich in marine life. Angel’s Window is another very popular dive site in lembeh Strait. This pinnacle offers a chance to see schooling fish and lots of macro life. At the deep end of the pinnacle is a swimthrough for the adventurous diver. These names are but a few of the many dive sites in Lembeh Strait. The macro diving here is world-class and an exceptional destination for underwater photographers.
The staff were wonderful, special thanks to Arfan for working so hard to maximize the fun and luxury aspects of the experience for the guests and to Laura and Tristan for babysitting the less experienced divers and ensuring they had great dive experiences as well. My experience would have been much degraded without the efforts of those individuals. With that, I wish the information available before the trip made it clearer that this experience is geared more toward seasoned divers because it was...
The price was very high compared with what we got in Phillipines. We had to identify ourselves on the tip envelope. That never happened in others liveabords that we participated. No mantas, no whale sharks and fill nudbranches.