Indonesia, Manado & Lembeh, 14 - 24 Apr '17
THe world’s best “MACRO” diving destination
DATES: 14 - 24th April '17 & August '17
PRICING: Starting @ R35 799 per person sharing
INCLUDES: Return international flights, transfers, 4 nights Manado 4* resort & 4 nights Lembeh Straits, full board & 16 dives
ADD-ON: Singapore 1 night / 2 day stop-over @ R2 350 pps (see details further down
BOOKINGS: R14 510 - full airfare (rate is current and will be review on day of payment)
R12 595 - payable withing 2 months of original booking.
R2 350 - in order to secure accommodation for stopover in Singapore. Balance latest 3 months prior to departure
** Rates subject to service provider changes and exchange rates
Indonesia is in the centre of, and bordering, the amazing "Coral Triangle". Here the waters hold the highest diversity of iridescent corals, fish, crustacians, molluscs and marine plant species in the world. North Sulawesi Island, and in particular - Manado, is your gateway to exploring this underwater paradise, while Lembeh Straits proves to be the ultimate muck diving destination - a haven for underwater photography enthusiasts!
The best way to get to experience Indonesia is to combine the best of both worlds – starting off at one of the many beautiful resorts and exploring the wonderful sites of the Bunaken National Park. The diving is spectacular, gliding past deep vertical walls covered in never ending hard and soft corals, swarming in schools and schools of all types of tropical fish. The currents can be swift in places and will allow you to enjoy the ultimate in drift diving. There are also very good wreck sites.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT MANADO & LEMBEH STRAIT
Surrounded by mountainous area, Manado is the capital city of the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia and is located at the Bay of Manado. It is the starting point for exploration of the Minahasa region's many attractions and boasting a nation of fun-loving, extroverted and incredbly hospitable people. The Minahasa People live in neat wood framed houses, with fences and flower gardens, giving Manado a gentle & natural feel. On the other side of the peninsula, to the east and approximately 2 hours drive, lies the Strait of Lembeh
Manado is located on the Bay of Manado, in the province of Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Although this area offers exciting land excursions it is a top destination that is highly ranked in the scuba diving industry, with the major dive destinations being easily accessed one from the other, including Bunaken, Lembeh Straits and Bangka. The dive resorts & centres of Manado are located in or close to the Bunaken National Park.
Manado is the starting point for exploration of the Minahasa region's many attractions. Inland from Manado, a trip through the Minahasa Highlands will take you to intriguing prehistoric above-ground burial sites, volcanoes, hot springs, the highland lake Tondano and breathtaking panoramas of lush mountains, coffee and coconut plantations, orchid gardens and terraced hillsides. From Manado, also be sure to visit the Dua Saudara Nature Reserve, home to birds and other wildlife unique to Sulawesi, such as the Tarsier - the smallelst monkey, cus cus, Hornbill etc. Additional excursions include: Bunaken Marine Park / Tana Toraja, Rantepao / Lembeh Strait / Tangkoko National Park / Togian Islands / Lore Lindu National Park / Wakatobi Marine Park / Tomohon & Minahasa / Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park / Lake Tondano motorbike trip. Read more . . . .
Lembeh Straits lies near Manado, Northern Sulawesi, but on the eastern part of the mainland peninsula. Lembeh Strait is a 100% diving destination. Apart from the wonders underwater, there is not much to see. However, from the city of Bitung, you could rent a car and explore the area including exploring the Tangkoko National Park. It is located about 2 hours by car from Bitung and is home of the smallest primate in the world called “Tarsius” (which you can also see at the Bitung Zoo.
SCUBA DIVING IN MANADO
Manado is among the highlights of diving in Indonesia and has earned plaudits throughout the world. When you're scuba diving in Bunaken National Park you'll witness some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with outstanding fish variety and world-class walls. The clear, warm waters contain astonishingly high numbers of species, whether corals, sponges or fish.
Northern Sulawesi - North Sulawesi is part of the island where three large bodies of water come together: the Pacific Ocean, Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea and the Indian Ocean. Together they are an important food source for numerous species. The tidal flow and variety of underwater landscapes also contribute to the richness of this treasure. The sea around North Sulawesi can be roughly divided into five different dive areas. Together they offer over 150 different dive sites, suitable for all levels.
Bunaken National Park - The park is located just outside of Manado Bay in the Sulawesi Sea, off the northern tip of Sulawesi, and features some 2 dozen diving sites spread across an area of 75,000 hectares. Explore the deep waters of Bunaken and you can see 7 times more genera of coral than Hawaii, 33 species of butterflyfish and over 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific. The most notable recent find within the park was in 1997, when the coelacanth was discovered living in the lava tubes of Manado Tua. This 'living fossil' fish brought international media attention to Bunaken Island. Unusual mammals that can be seen include dugongs, which feed on the sea grass beds in the south of the park, and sperm whales, which travel through the area on their way to calve in the Sangihe Archipelago.
SCUBA DIVING IN LEMBEH
Lembeh Straits, known as the muck diving capital of the world, lies on the east side of the peninsula. It, is covered with black sand, both under water and on the surface. Due to the large port city of Bitung many ships sail between the mainland and Lembeh Island, so do not expect a beautiful reef here. HOWEVER, it is an absolute treasure trove, a very interesting place to spend a day or two in search of macro creatures. The Banggai Cardinal Fish, Pegasus, Blue-ringed Octopus, Electric Clam Urganutan Crab, several types of frogfish & seahorses. It is one of the few places in the world where you will see the elusive hairy frog fish, pygmy sea horses, larger sea horses like the thorny seahorse, mimic octopus, wunderpus and flamboyant cuttlefish to name a few.
Lembeh also has some fascinating ship wrecks. They are covered in both corals and creatures making them fantastic to explore. Last but not least, Lembeh is also surrounded by sites with small walls and slopes full of soft corals. Lembeh diving truly does have something for everyone.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
You can go scuba diving in Manado & Lembeh all year but conditions do vary. Water temperatures hit a peak of upto 29°C between October and March. Then they fall to their lowest at 25°C in July and August, which co-incides with the greatest number of critters.
** Dry season is from April to October when the wind blows from south-east and the sea stays relatively calm.
Visibility is normally 25m and can sometimes get as good as 30m+ on some days.
** Wet season is from November to March with cooler winds from north-west which can bring heavier rains and
rougher seas. Visibility is about 15-20m but can sometimes drop to 10m for a few days.
The October to December period has the best visibility. January and February have the lowest visibility, when the water temperature in the strait is at its warmest. During the worst rainy season months of January and February some of the exposed dive sites at the far northern end of the strait may occasionally be out of bounds due to rough seas. Also from the month of June, when the south-east monsoon winds begin, to September, the surface of the strait can become a little choppy.
Malay Creole and English
Indonesian Rhupee & USD
Persons travelling on an SA Passport are not required to pre-arrange a visa. These are purchased upon arrival at the Manado airport at approximately USD30 per visa. Please ensure that you have at least 6 months validity on your passport from date of entry and at least 3 clean pages.
FLIGTHS TO MANADO
14 APR Johannesburg to Singapore, departing 13:45pm and arriving 06:10am
15 APR Singapore to Manado, departing 09:45am and arriving 13:15pm
22 APR Manado to Singapore, departing 14:00pm and arriving 17:30pm
23 APR Singapore to Johannesburg, departing 01:25am and arriving 06:10am
ACCOMMODATION IN MANADO
Resort Option # 1 - Island of Manado, North Sulawesi, 4* Dive Resort
This 4* dive resort is located at the border of Bunaken National Park, a 30 minute drive away from the international airport and only 20 minutes from Manado city. The resort borders the sea, but does not have a stretch of beach, HOWEVER, the great pool and various spots to enjoy the sunsets definitively make up for this. For both, divers and non-divers, the resort, and the greater North Sulawesi, offers perfect opportunities to have a relaxing holiday, good food and a host of beautiful natural features, both on land and under water. The resort & its 5* PADI dive center, is one of the first three dive resorts to have started operating in North Sulawesi, and opened its doors in 1988. Read more. . . .
ROOMS: Hilltop rooms with twin or double beds / air-conditioning / private bathrooms with hot-water shower / view of the sea
from a private terrace
FACILITIES: Spa (includes traditional massage) / restaurant / bar / swimming pools / on-site PADI 5* dive centre
ACTIVITIES: Highland Tours / White Water Rafting / Golf / Water Sports / Volcano Trekking Tour / Tangkoko Nature Reserve Tour
DIVING: Takes place in Sulawesi and Bunaken National Park as well as the coastal reef areas
ACCOMMODATION IN LEMBEH
Utara, Bitung, Lembeh Strait
This resort is located directly opposite Nudi Falls, a little south of Lembeh Resort. It is built at the foot of a hill and much of the natural trees and surrounding were kept in order to provide shade and a more comfortable climate. This resort is owner-operated and if they aren’t at the resort they are off on a photographic adventure or diving. The Dive Team is second-to-none, with 14 guides who between them have over 100 years of diving experience in Lembeh. The resort is expert in Nitrox, Rebreathers & Photography. Read more. . . .
The standard beachfront rooms are at ground level with 2 steps. The bungalows are up approximately a dozen steps.
ROOMS: The resort features 10 air-conditioned rooms and 5 air-conditioned wooden bungalows. There is an open air restaurant
and common area with adjacent camera room and rebreather facilities.
FACILITIES: Clubhouse / restaurant & Bbr / on-site dive centre / photography room / pool - the grassy area has sunbeds for
people to do a little tanning between dives / floating jetty to make access to the boats as dignified & comfortable as
DIVING: The divecenter features Nitrox / 3 well maintained compressors and a huge filter system to keep your air clean & dry.
There are 4 large comfortable diveboats with fast eco-friendly engines, and a large dive team offering you a 2:1 diveguide
ratio, the best ratio of any Lembeh Resort.
PHOTO CENTRE: There is a photography area, the camera room, which is spacious and well kitted out. It includes a collection
of books on photography, fish ID and Simon's old Marine Biology course books for those with a keener interest.
Depart Johannesburg / Singapore / Manado
Arrive Manado & transfer to the resort
Check in for a 4 night stay at a 4* Manado resort
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included
Days 2 - 5
Breakfast, lunch & dinners included
Package includes 8 day dives
After breakfast, check out of the resort and transfer to Lembeh Straits - approximately a 2 hour drive
Days 6 - 9
Breakfast, lunch & dinners included
Package includes 8 day dives
Day 10 / Night 10
After breakfast late morning transfer to the airport
Mid afternoon departure on flights from Manado to Singapore
Late afternoon arrival in Singapore, stay overnight
Day 11 / Night 11
Spend full day in Singapore either on tour or at leisure with late evening departure to airport for flight Singapore to Johannesburg departing 01:25am on morning of day 12
Arrive Johannesburg in the morning
* Return economy flights JNB / Manado / JNB via Singpapore
* Scheduled return transfers
* Airport taxes
* 4 Nights full board 4* resort accommodation in Manado, Hill Top rooms (upgrade options available)
* 4 Nights full board resort accommodation in Lembeh, Beachfront rooms (upgrade options available)
* Maximum 16 dives with weights & cylinders (additional dives can be booked)
* Items of a personal nature
* Meals & drinks not mentioned
* Tips, service charge and government taxes on local purchases (21%)
* Equipment rental
* National Park entrance fees (Bunaken Marine Park RP150 000.00 (+/-R150.00) and Lembeh Straits RP50 000.00 (+/-R50.00))
* Night dives, land tours
* Spa services, telephone calls, mini-bar purchases
* Visas issued on arrival (US$25.00)
* Manado Airport departure tax of +/-RP150 000.00 (+/-R150.00)
* Travel Insurance, diving and medical insurance
** Accommodation for one night at a hotel in applicable price category
** Return airport transfers on seat-in-coach basis
** Discounts on shopping, dining, sightseeing tours, tourist attractions & car rentals as listed in the SIA Boarding Pass Privileges
** 50% discount on a la carte food menu (food items only) at designated food outlet, or otherwise stated, in the passenger’s hotel
** Unlimited rides on SIA Hop-on tourist bus services
** Late check out not included
** Rates are subject to change until full payment is made
** SQ packages can change at any time
DIVING MANADO & BUNAKEN
DIVING NORTH SULAWESI - North Sulawesi is almost exclusively visited by divers. It has one of the richest and most varied underwater landscapes on earth. North Sulawesi is part of the island where three large bodies of water come together: the Pacific Ocean, Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea and the Indian Ocean. Together they are an important food source for numerous species. The tidal flow and variety of underwater landscapes also contribute to the richness of this treasure under the sea. The sea around North Sulawesi can be roughly divided into five different dive areas. Together they offer over 150 different dive sites, suitable for all levels.
DIVING BUNAKEN NATIONAL PARK - Bunaken National Park yields excellent visibility and is a favorite location for some excellent drift dives where you can watch schools of coral fish in all shapes and sizes and colours, as you glide by the huge sea fans and impressive sponges. Schools of barracudas and jacks, green sea turtles and reef sharks, sea snakes and napoleon wrasses are among the resident inhabitants of these steep coral walls fringing the Islands. Diving in and around Bunaken is mostly, but not only, wall diving and drift diving, it includes several beautiful coral slopes.
Bunaken offers superb opportunities for both macro and wide angle photography, as well as underwater videography. Manado Tua, the fascinating cone-shapeId volcanic island, features steep slopes on land covered with coconut palms and even steeper vertical drop-offs under water. Siladen Islands offers huge fields of hard coral in addition to their classic wall dives. Here you find the prettiest and most pristine coral, as well as many nudibranches and other macro life. The impressive overhanging walls are a breathtaking experience to dive, packed as they are with life, whilst the shallows provide some of the best snorkelling. In the many indents, caves and outcroppings of the walls, you often find reef sharks and other big fish, making this a preferred area for deep diving.
North Side - The north side of Bunaken National Park offers several steep walls of 80 to 200 feet deep. The walls are covered with huge sponges, hard and soft corals, fan corals, whip corals and other spectacular growth.
South Side - The south side of the Bunaken National Park is completely different than the north. Here you’ll find sandy slopes covered with sea grass. Sea cows grazing with their young are often seen. Underwater you will find a macro-environment: seahorses, scorpionfish (Rhinopias), beautiful nudibranchs, sea slugs and octopuses are some of the special animals that live in this shallow area.
Coastal Reef - The sloping reefs along the coast near Thalassa dive center offer a wide variety of nudibranchs, many species of the seahorse family, the scorpion fish family and the octopus family. And these are just a few of the more than 2,000 species that live there. Did you know that we can offer you great “muck” diving along the coastline? Mating Mandarin Fish, Mimic Octopus, Flying Gunnar, the Hairy frogfish and Scorpionfish are only a few of the critters you can encounter.Most of the reefs of the Bunaken National Marine Park are rich and unspoilt, with pristine and abundant soft coral and fish life in huge concentration. Diving in and around Bunaken is mostly wall diving and drift diving, but also includes several beautiful coral slopes. We dive more than 50 different dive sites, most of them within the park. The variety of both fish and soft coral is outstanding, making this area one of the top places in the world with regards to biodiversity.
Night diving on the mainland dive sites is a thrilling adventure with a whole new array of creatures rarely seen during daytime and beautiful colours when the tentacles of the coral are out at night to catch plankton – yet another world to explore!
SOME OF THE DIVES SITES OF MANADO / BUNAKEN NATIONAL PARK
Black Rock - Dropping in over the slope of Batu Hitam near Manado you can be forgiven for thinking that not much lies in store. But you would be so wrong as this excellent site, also know as DJ Point, promises plenty of entertainment. If you or your dive guide have keen eyes you will encounter one critter after another. Commensal shrimps, emperor shrimps, decorator crabs and candy crabs can all reveal themselves after a little investigation.
Celah Celah - Located on the south side of Bunaken Island, this site lies just outside Liang Bay, which is a favoured spot for the local villagers to relax and entertain themselves. The curve of island protects the dive sites on the south side of the island, therefore the sea is usually calm above the surface. Below sea level, however, there is often a strong current running parallel to the reef setting you up for stunning drift dives.
Depan Kampung - Located in the south east section of the island and literally meaning "In front of the village", Depan Kampung offers quite a variety in underwater terrains.
Fukui Point - This site, on the west coast of Bunaken Island, always features highly on people's favourites list and is named, not as an insult to a visitor called Hughie, but after its Japanese discoverer who dived this spot some 20 years ago. Here, unlike most of the Bunaken diving locations, you will find not a wall but more of a slope with a few short, steep drops.
Lekuan I, II & III - Whether a beginner or experienced diver, in daytime or at night, you will drop down here through calm and crystal clear water to the coral wall in front of Lekuan Beach on the south side of Bunaken Island, facing the city of Manado. The wall has 3 prongs imaginatively named I, II and III and is a very popular site for all levels due to the conditions and the variety of fish and turtles present.
Mandolin Point - The origin of the name of this site in the south west of the island is unknown but some have suggested it is a reference to the number of 'strings' present here in the form of whip corals.
Sachiko's Point - Sachiko's Point is located on the north-east side of Bunaken Island. This is the favourite dive of a Japanese tour agent, who was lucky enough to have the site named after her.
Tanjung Kopi - Located on the east coast foothills of the spectacular volcanic island of Manado Tua, Tanjung Kopi is literally translated as "Coffee Point" but the reason for the name remains a mystery. However, one thing is for sure, the site is superb for the photographer. Both wide angle and macro lens can be used, so bring both along.
Bunaken Timur - Timur means 'East', and this is a very long reef - so long in fact you'll need to dive here more than once if you want to see it all.
** click on the map to enlarge**
DIVING LEMBEH - THE MECCA OF UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHERS
World famous for its macro life, this is most probably simply the best place in the world for macro photography, with a host of weird and wonderful creatures to be found. ooring over shallow black sandy slopes, the ocean lends itself to seahorses, nudibranchs, inimicus devilfish, pegasus sea moths, frogfish, flying gurnards, wonderpus, mimic, blue ring and coconut octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, hairy frogfish, Ambon scorpion fish, ornate ghost pipefish, ribbon eels and many other species. Truly a one-off opportunity for all photographers and anyone looking for the unusual and unseen. You are sure to see something that you have never seen before, no matter how experienced you are.
Night Dives allow you to see nocturnal critters and are full of fascinating surprises! You could see a starry night octopus, a stargazer, a bobbit worm (which inspired the sandworm from Star Wars movie) and more amazing are the Mandarin dives - where these little beautiful fishes perform the most amazing courtship dance, culminating in the full spawning - every day at dusk.
SOME OF THE DIVE SITES OF LEMBEH
Aer Perang - The formation of this dive site was influenced by a World War II warship that blasted through the rocks in order to reach fresh water. The name literally means 'War Water'.
Angel's Window - If, during your stay, you are growing tired of black sand, among some of the most amazing and bizarre, rare creatures on the planet, Angel's window gives you the chance to do a bit of reef diving. More than just a change of scene, however, this site is in fact a beautifully decorated pinnacle whose tip lies just below the surface, off Lembeh Island.
Hairball - As you listen to the dive briefing and look at the site map you may feel a sense of déjà vu. The muck diving sites all sound the same - gentle slope, black sand, patches of activity, a few sunken logs. Hairball however, often emerges as a king among kings in the Lembeh Strait.
Jahir - Jahir is one of the newest dive sites discovered in the strait and was named after the guide who first found it. Jahir is a site that in many ways typifies Lembeh, with black volcanic sand that you will slowly cruise over with your nose close to the sea-bed.
Makawide - This spot is situated between 2 large boulders rising out of the ocean which offer amazing scuba diving opportunities over coral patches as the gradual slopes descend beneath the waves of the Lembeh Strait. Despite being right in the middle of the channel, currents are generally calm.
Mawali Wreck - This Japanese World War II steel cargo ship wreck lies completely on its side on the strait's seabed in water ranging from 15 to 30 metres. As the sight of the wreck begins to take shape beneath your fins you will marvel at just how beautifully encrusted it is with crinoids, black coral trees and soft corals.
Nudi Falls - Your diving boat will tie itself to both a low impact anchor as well as some over hanging trees at this site near the water's edge. The sheltered nature of the bay and the proximity to the land makes it feel like a lake dive. You will notice, as you roll over the edge, that the water is normally a degree or two cooler than at Bunaken.
Nudi Retreat - This is yet another great site featuring a gentle reef slope that starts from a sheltered cove on the Sulawesi coast and descends gradually to a depth of 28 metres. Offering more coral than many of the dive locations you will find on the Lembeh Island side of the strait, healthy soft coral and anemones abound, playing host to probably the world's most popular fish, the anemone fish.
Pantai Parigi - Pantai Parigi is actually the only white sand muck dive site that you will find in the Lembeh Strait, an area dominated by black sand. This bay, on Lembeh Island itself, has exceptionally healthy and dense coral cover in the shallows, then a gentle white sand slope. This site is named after the fresh water well in the village and the nearby beach: "Pantai" means 'beach' and "Parigi" means 'well'.
Police Pier - If you scuba dive here it is likely to be at night. Nighttime and muck share the promise of discovery, so to do a night dive in a place like the Lembeh Strait should be something special, and it is. Police Pier may be an odd name but there is every chance of a 'Sting' coming your way as scorpionfish and lionfish lurk all around. The bottom composition is a dull grey mass, at first glance lifeless but on closer inspection, teeming with activity.
Teluk Kambahu (TK 1) - A manageable name for a site which translates as the name of the local Lembeh village bay. Another entry off the boat into shallow water will see you descend over a dark sandy bottom, sloping gently down to 25 metres. To dive here is to snoop through the rubble and in and around sunken bit of wood and nets. Your possible discoveries could run into ridiculous numbers.
** click on the map to enlarge**
Indonesia is a photographer’s dream come true, above and particularly below the water surface, and to put a cherry on top of the cake, all your photography and videography requirements are looked after by Scubazoo. Eco Divers has managed a major coup here, as they have set up north Sulawesi’s first and only Digital Photo Centre. As South East Asia's leading underwater filming and photography company, Scubazoo has strong credentials in this speciality having been involved in underwater filming for the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, CNN, and ITV.
Photos compliments of Hayden Simpson - and yes, that is a Blue Ringed Octopus!
* Prices are based on current exchange rates and will be revised on the date of final payment.
* Prices are subject to change in exchange rates, flights and airport taxes, accommodation and diving rates.
* Airport taxes will be finalised on the day that final payment is due.
* Inclusions and exclusions are subject to change
* Deposit is non-refundable if suppliers have aleady been paid.
* Balances are due 90 days prior to departure