Choosing where to go in Indonesia was a hard decision for me, but diving in Bunaken sounded tempting. I really wanted to go diving in Raja Ampat, but that quite expensive, so I settled with Sulawesi and the chance to go diving in Bunaken.
The beautiful tropical island of Bumaken with its lush green forests and white sandy beaches is a dream destination for backpackers and holiday makers alike, but the real magic of the island lies under these azure waters; shoals of shimmering fish glide through the multi-coloured wonderland of coral reefs, making diving in Bunaken a real special experience.
Bunaken is justifiably famous for its coral reefs; in fact this is one of the best spots for diving in the whole of Indonesia. the island has a wall reef that from the top appears to drop endlessly into the deep blue sea. Hovering over the edge of the drop off I had the same feeling I’d get standing at the top of a skyscraper. Images of Jaws flashed through my mind at regular intervals, so I never strayed too far from the edge of the reef while I was diving in Bunaken.
I saw plenty of things when I went diving in Bunaken, from the cute clown fish and odd shaped box fish through to the larger and much more intimidating Hammerhead shark (you have to go diving pretty deep to see them as they don’t normally come near the surface). If you’re lucky though you’ll see the occasional reef shark or turtle rising from the depths of the ocean or simply gliding slowly along the edge of the reef.
There are lots of isolate resorts dotted around the island, so accommodation is pretty easy to find. I ended up staying in a little cabin on the edge of a cliff overlooking one of the islands many beaches. My days were spent exploring the waters, while the evenings were spent over a beer chatting with the other guests and appreciating the thousands of stars in the sky.
Bunaken is just a short 30-minute boat ride away from Manado, the capital city of the province of North Sulawesi. It’s possible to fly direct to Manado from Jakarta and Bali making it easy to access for backpackers and holidaymakers on a tight schedule. If you have the time and the money it is definitely worth diving in Bunaken.