Explore Diving at Bunaken Island

On December 6, 2015 by Novita Karana

manadoskyDo you know Indonesia has island with K-Shaped named Sulawesi?

The reason i want to visit this K-shaped island is to discover a world famous banana-shaped island called Bunaken that lures visitors from all over the world. Yes, the world. Is it cool, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s in my country.

Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous diving and snorkeling destination, located in North Sulawesi. Some local make their living from the waters in the Bunaken National Marine Park, guide fee in Bunaken and diving tour are higher than in Java Island.

Bunaken was formally established as a national marine park in 1991. The park is famed for the clarity of its water (35m visibility is common in the summer dry season), the abundance of coral and fish, and for the precipitous “walls” at some sites and 20 diving sites.

Snorkeling is fantastic in front of many of the resorts around the island, with an incredible amount of marine life inhabiting the shallows. One of my client stayed in cottage named Lorenzo in Bunaken Island (I stayed in Manado City, Sulawesi Island and do day trip to Bunaken) and she can do snorkeling everyday and met sea turtles! And if you’re lucky, you can see dolphin. So i recommend this cottage.

MANADO-MAPTo get to Bunaken, you have to fly to capital city of North Sulawesi: Manado City, as a gate to enter Bunaken. Some flights are avaiable to take you there from Jakarta City.

Since we had limited holidays in Indonesia, the trip duration was only 3 days 2 nights.
And for the sake of quality short holiday, we chose the earliest flight and the latest flight.
Jakarta (CGK) – Manado (MDC) by Garuda Indonesia 5:30AM – 9:55AM
Manado (MDC) – Jakarta (CGK) by Garuda Indonesia 4.15PM – 6:25PM
The itinerary my last trip to Bunaken:

Day 1: Jakarta –  Manado City
At first day, we do Manado City Tour.
Basically Manado is Catholic city with some historical sites, like Ban Hin Kiong Temple (we just pass because no one interest to come in), Taman Kesatuan Bangsa Park (just public park), Gereja Masehi Injil Minahasa (GMIM) / Sentrum Church –  the oldest church in Manado, Manado Zero Point, Jesus Blessing Statue, enjoy the sunset with best sky in Indonesia at Pirates Cafe.

Day 2: Manado City – Bunaken Tour – Manado City
At second day, we do full day Bunaken with Catamaran Glass Bottom Boat.
We chose catamaran boat with glass bottom, because at one poin, the boat will stop, and we can see the sea from the glass bottom. But i think it’s not necessary when you doing a snorkeling or diving.
After that, we return back to Manado City, shopping souvenirs before return to our hotel.

Day 03: Manado – Minahasa – Manado – Jakarta
Minahasa is highland city near Manado, also a Catholic City.
The destination in Minahasa : Tinoor where we can see the Manado city in 500 mdpl, Tomohon with the craziest market (we skip this because i don’t want to see beheaded animal like dog, monkey, boar, cat, rat, phyton), continue to Lake Tondano, and my favourite Lake Linow.


Some destinations and details on my trip:00-gereja-sentrum1) Gereja Masehi Injil Minahasa (GMIM) / Sentrum Church
The Oldest Church in Manado. In the year 2016, the age of the church reached 339 years. It’s one of the religious historical sites in the city of Manado.

01-JesusBlessingStatue2) Jesus Blessing Statue in Manado.
Jesus Christ Blessing is a statue of Jesus Christ in Manado City, located at the peak of the Citra Land residential estate. The structure stands 50 meters height and consists of 20 meters of pedestal and 30 meters of statue. This statue has become a new icon of Manado and as 2010 year, it’s Asia’s second tallest and the world’s fourth tallest statue of Christ (excluding the pedestal, of course).
You can take pictures at this point, crossing the statue. It’s the best poin to take panorama picture with Manado’s big ben. In this digital era, there’s a photographer who offer to take your photo and print it. Only IDR 15.000/picture (March 2015). I made group picture together and print for souvenir and memory of this place.

004-KatamaranBoat3) Bunaken Fun Dive Tour
On the second day, it was the excited morning that i’ve ever feel. Because we will visit the highlight of the trip: The Beautiful Bunaken. After breakfast, the guide was stand by at the lobby to pick us. And we were heading to wharf marina near Pirate Cafe. After write our data, like full name, birth of date, address, phone, we jump into catamaran boat. The boat named Catamaran, can fits for 15 – 20 persons, but on that day we rent the boat only for us, 5 persons.
The journey from Manado to Bunaken is 45 minutes, with 20 minutes stopping at one spot to see beauty and diversity of fish and colorful world famous coral from glass bottom.

Next, we landed to Bunaken at dive shop. I’m still thinking. Do snorkeling or diving. And my aunt said, try diving. We’re in Bunaken National Marine Park, where the world known coral wall located. And 99 percent of all visitors to Bunaken Island come  for the amazing diving conditions. The corals are very healthy which guarantees high quality dives. And i give myself  a shot. Yes, let’s try diving! I did first diving with cost IDR 1.000.000 (March 2015) included equipment and guide.
First, we chose the size of our fin when our crew were preparing all diving gear.
Next, we’re go to boat again heading to the snorkeling and diving spot. Along the way, the guide did brief us for basic knowledge and how to use the gear.

005-Diving-at-BunakenIt’s my first time to go under. VERY EXCITED. I thought it was easy to breath underwater when i heard the theory.
But, the reality?
It’s hard, dude, especially for the first timer.
I need 20 minutes to adapt with water, adapt with ears, and to make myself calm with the waves (it’s sea, not pool baby).
I learn how to behave like a lady where i saw a cute and colourful fish.
I learn not to smile or loosen my mouth gripped on regulator where i saw cute and colourful fishes.
I learn how to manage my breath to save that goddamn oxygen in tank.

At the beginning, it’s hard not to smile when meet cute and colourful fish.
When i smile or loosen my mouth gripped the regulator, the water come inside.
I didn’t remember that i have to push one button and go up step by step. Hahaha.
So i learn not to smile or trying to speak when meet unique creatures.
We have to behave. :))) Since i didn’t have underwater camera, so my picture inside the water is very few.

And after 20 minutes, the guide show me the beautiful wall and bring me to deeper depth. It was one of my awesome moment to breath underwater. This moment also makes me want to take diving lisence in the future. Lembeh diving spot in Bunaken are waiting :D

006-lunch-bunakenAfter one hour, we sailed back to diving shop to put back all diving gear and take a bath. There’re some toilets and bath room. There’s fee for use bathroom, IDR 5000 (April 2015). Don’t forget to bring hotel towels, shampoo, soap, brush.  And our Manado lunch family style was ready in the table. After lunch, we sail back to Manado. Doing souvenir hunting, dinner and relax at the hotel.007-tinoor4) Tinoor
Actually, Tinoor is a photo spot where we can see the Manado city in 500 mdpl. We just took picture for 5 minutes and then continue to Lake Tondano.

008laketondano5) Lake Tondano
Lake Tondano located in Minahasa highland. This huge lake lies along the eastern side of a massive ancient volcanic caldera. Young active volcanoes such as Mahawu lie along the rim of this caldera. The lake, though covering a large area, is reportedly relatively shallow.  A number of simple warong can be found built out over the lake. The warongs are a common lunch stop or coffee stop on tours of the highlands around Manado. But i suggest to take lunch stop or coffee stop at Lake Linow.

009-lake-linow16) Lake Linow
We visit Lake Tondano first, and continue with Lake Linow. I think you also visit Tondano first and Linow at the end. So your day closed with beautiful moment. I really love Lake Linow for atmosphere and also its coffee shop.
Before see the lake, you will see view like picture above near the parking area, it feels like standing in Switzerland :))
Next, i did explore at the front of parking area. You can see the beautiful lake like picture above. Basically, Lake Linow is a water-filled volcanic crater. It’s a very beautiful and photogenic little lake. The lake is well maintained, very clean, without trash. The entrance fee is IDR 25.000/person (include welcome tea or coffee, better choose coffee). If i had lot of time, i can spend the whole day by sit here, looking at turqouise lake, writing, looking at turqouise lake again or reading a book. It’s so peaceful here.

009-lake-linow3There’s a nice and cozy coffee shop beside the lake. The coffee shop is a good trick to make Lake Linow become a perfect stop for an afternoon drink when touring the Minahasa highlands. The coffee shop open around 12-1PM.
There’s menu for Linow Lake coffee shop. I recommend to order fan fried banana (right pic) and goroho fried banana (left pic) in the coffee shop. All fried banana comes with Roa chili sauce. And it was a little bit surprise that sweet taste can blend well with spicy chili roa taste. OH How Amazing. Go tried the culinary dishes!

000cross7) Crosses in Street
Manado and Minahasa are majority Catholic. You can meet cross like these along the street, or in front of local house. Because i visit this city near Easter, the crosses have purple scarf, symbolize of grief and sorrow.

duren-manado8) Durian!
For Asia people, durian is heaven. When visit Manado, the durian season was come. You can see pick up cars with durians on the left side and right side. So, we tried Manado durians. Best for alcoholic durians that i’ve ever taste. Choose the durian meat with white colour, it has more alcohol!

The Expressive Cloud Pictures at Manado City
Beautiful sky on the way to Bunaken IslandManadoSky2Beautiful sea life at Bunaken Island000-sunset-from-aryaduta-roomSunset view from our room at Aryaduta Hotel, Manado City, North Sulawasi, Indonesia

pinoshirilLet’s do fun diving trip again, sister :D

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