In North Sulawesi, Indonesia there are other pretty spectacular places to dive, not just Lembeh. I have been fortunate enough to dive in the Bunaken marine reserve on both trips to the region and went to Ganga and Banga Islands on the last trip. A perfect trip would be to visit all 3 areas because the diving is diverse and the critter action non-stop at all 3. Above, are some more of the ever present nudibranchs. There is less black sand areas and much more beautiful reef in Bunaken and t Ganga/Banga Island you have pinnacles, swim throughs and stunning pristine reef. The one problem is that there has been some dynamite fishing in areas and the devastation is unbelievable. It is amazing that things are already trying to grow in those spots. Thankfully, it is not widespread and hopefully education will help. It is a sobering sight to see!
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of my favorite critters are found throughout the area. Above a tassled scorpion fish blends in and a Fimbriated Eel says good morning! On one dive at Banga Island, my dive buddy and I were constantly behind the others because we would stop to look at something and see a half dozen other things in about a 2 foot square area. You just couldn’t see it all!
The large and small of it is shown above. On the left is a cuttlefish. They are the coolest thing to watch! On the right, is a pygmy cuttlefish. I had the divemaster put a hand in the photo to show how teeny it really is. The are just like a miniature version of the bigger one. The entire North Sulawesi area is renown for its “pygmy” things. They also have pygmy frogfish, and of course, pygmy seahorses like the ones below.
I love looking for the little stuff. Believe me, I find my share but not compared to the dive masters that do this everyday. Just when I think I am doing really well at spotting stuff, they point out stuff I swam right past!
I was much improved at spotting on the second trip. The old adage of stop and smell the roses is well represented when diving. Not from the smells but the sights that are there to behold if you simply take your time, slow down and look. Any diver looking for a critter intensive trip has got to visit North Sulawesi!