World Famous Diving in Bunaken, Manado, Bangka & Lembeh Strait Await
Murex offers diving and snorkeling in renowned Bunaken Marine Park, trips to Bangka Island off the tip of North Sulawesi, the Lembeh Strait, where curious divers can interact with the smallest and strangest critters. Scientists believe Lembeh Strait has the highest concentration of unusual marine life found anywhere on the planet, with the visibility and warm water to make exploration comfortable and exciting, making for some of the world’s best diving. Imagine exploring three distinctive dive destinations in one land-based holiday. Sound interesting? Try our Passport to Paradise package and dive them all! We’ll take care of everything you need, and with the free night offer, it’s a more affordable trip than you might expect for an exotic diving vacation in Indonesia.
Diving Bunaken National Marine Park
Bunaken National Park is a 90,000-hectare marine reserve, the park and the tiny group of islands that lay within are located just off the tip of North Sulawesi. The main island, Bunaken, lies just North of Manado Bay, directly across from Murex Manado. To the east of Bunaken lies the tiny island of Siladen and to the west is the old dormant volcano, Manado Tua. Up north we have Mantehage, Nain Besar and Nain Kecil. All of these islands are surrounded by fringing reefs with steep drop-offs and walls that are a playground for divers. Bunaken has an average temperature of 29?C (84?F) and is known for clear waters, abundant hard corals, reef fish and great marine bio-diversity. The beaches of Bunaken are turtle nesting grounds and on some sites you can see large populations of turtles. If you are lucky during a dive you’ll see Rambo, a sea turtle who is at least 250+ kg! As you can imagine, he’s hard to miss, if he’s around.
Diving Manado Bay
Manado Bay is Murex Manado’s front yard underwater playground. From the resort’s black sand beach, you can head out to our house reef for a dive. Newly marked dive trails make our reef slope easy to dive anytime, whether you’re guided or on your own. North in the bay, bask in the hard coral gardens with patch reef or dive a wreck that’s 20-40 meters. Head south towards Bethlehem, an acronym for: better than Lembeh (it’s good, but, well…go diving with our center in Lembeh and then decide), and find fabulous muck diving, where you’ll have the opportunity to find creatures and critters similar to the sites in Lembeh Strait. While you’re in Southern Manado Bay, if you’re all crittered out, maybe you can dive Tanjung Kelapa, the source of amazing wall diving.
A usual day of diving around Bunaken National Park and Manado Bay starts at 8:30am, when you board our comfortable diving boats and journey to your first dive site. Your guides always take into account many factors, including conditions and the time of day (e.g. depth, currents and sunshine). Based on this information, the dive guide will discuss your options and take you to a suitable site. During your surface interval, after your first dive you will be offered a refreshing snack (e.g. fruit and biscuit) and your choice of coffee, tea, or water. If you’d like, go for a swim; if we aren’t moving far we’ll wait. Your second dive usually starts around 11:15am and our dives usually last around 60 minutes. Lunch is served onboard or back at the resort after your second dive. If you’re still on the boat after lunch, grab your towel and stretch out on the bow, take in the sun on the roof or go for a swim. For our third dive we usually head back towards Manado Bay for a critter dive. Night dives begin around 6:30pm. You can choose to do a night dive on our house reef or by boat. Some of our best night dives are a short boat ride away, and your guide can tell you the best night dive spots to see the craziest nocturnal creatures. Our night dives by boat meet for a briefing at 6:15pm before heading out at 6:30pm.
The house reef can have strong currents, so your guide will tell you whether or not it is safe to proceed. Your guide will be happy to take you, but if you would like to go with your buddy and without a guide, you will still be briefed on the site and be assisted when you get out of the water.
Murex Manado offers 3 tank day trips to Lembeh and Bangka Island. Ask our Dive Manager for details.
Diving from Bangka Island
Bangka Island is located just north of Sulawesi. Dive sites around and nearby Bangka Island are known for their underwater topography with pinnacles, gorges and swim-throughs. The pinnacles and bommies off these sites are covered in soft corals and critters. We may not have the “weird critters” in abundance here at Bangka as we do in Lembeh, but we frequently see three different types of pygmy seahorses, a large variety of nudibranchs, blue ring octopi, boxer crabs, and frog fish, just to name a few exotic and exciting creatures. The strong currents and deep surrounding Celebes Sea bring up nutrient-rich waters to feed our coral gardens. Soft corals, sea fans, sponges, schools of Blue Striped Snapper and hard corals attached to pinnacles and bommies are a wide-angle photographer’s dream. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even see one of our elusive Dugongs.
“After spending a week crazing over the macro life off Bangka Island…” – Lia Barrett
A usual dive day in Bangka starts at 8am, and the first two dives of the day follow the same schedule as the dive schedule for Bunaken. However, after everyone is up from the second dive we’ll head back to Murex Bangka for lunch. Our third dive departs at 2:30pm; again, depending on conditions and taking your preferences into account, the dive guide will take you to a suitable site. Night dives usually begin at 6:30pm. You can choose to do a night dive on our house reef or by boat. Some of our best night dives are a short boat ride away, and your guide can tell you where the most productive night dive sites are. Our night dives by boat meet for a briefing at 6:15pm before boarding the boat and heading out at 6:30pm.
The house reef can have strong currents, so your dive guide will tell you whether or not it is safe to proceed. Your guide will be happy to take you, but if you would like to go with your buddy and without a guide, you will still be briefed on the site and be assisted when you get out of the water.
Murex Bangka offers 3-tank day trips to Lembeh. Ask our Resort Manager for details.