Liveaboard Diving in North Sulawesi with Manado based Murex Liveaboard Diving in North Sulawesi
- Sangihe Islands, Lembeh Strait, Togian Islands -
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What To Expect:

  • There is a limited supply of fresh water on board, so we ask that you kindly conserve water during your trip. The shower heads are fitted with a shut off valve that allows soaping and shampooing without water flowing.

  • Towels are changed every two days, bed linens every three.

  • Depending on which liveaboard vessel you are on, there may be 1 or 2 gears areas on board. These include an area for storing and putting on your wet suits and booties and a separate area for putting on the remainder of your gear by the dive platform at stern of boat.

  • Your BCD, tank, and regulator will be set up for you by the crew members (unless you state otherwise). The crew will assist you with putting on your gear as well as entering the water.

  • You should check your gear and as always, perform a buddy check with your buddy.

  • There will be a dive briefing by dive guides - describing the dive orientation, conditions, direction, depth and time limits, currents, types of life you'll see, etc.

  • We recommend the use of a dive computer while on the liveaboard because of the varied terrain and depth of attractions, number of dives over short period, and because your dive profile will be much more accurate with a computer. All your guides use computers and we have them available for rental.

  • There is a roster system to account for all divers.

  • Guides may also review emergency procedures at this time suck as signal to surface (revving of engines 3 times, repeated) and lost buddy procedures (STOP, listen, ascend a few feet, look around for bubbles, retrace previous route for one (1) minute, then surface).

  • Many of the dives from the liveaboard are more open ocean or exposed. Because of this, the conditions underwater can be more difficult, especially with currents so you will need to be aware of your buddy and the guide's instructions-sometimes the direction of the dive may need to change because a current has changed depending on depth. Many times there may a strong current at shallower depth on top of the reef but it will be dissipate as you swim through to reach the wall and descend to deeper depth. Inflatable signal tubes (sausages) can be issued to buddy pairs to assist in signaling boat after surfacing in case of larger swells or current.

  • You may be requested to descend more quickly than usual because of surface or shallow currents so please discuss this with the guides if you have concerns or questions.

A vast majority of island beauty lies within the delicate formation beneath the water. These corals have taken thousands of years to mature and provide divers with a wonderful view of nature of its finest. With a little foresight, this beauty will be available for divers in the future to enjoy, both through the efforts already in process at Bunaken National Marine Reserve and through our own actions as divers here.

Together let's:
  • Get the lead out! Over-weighting leads to over-exertion and increased air consumption. Try taking 1 kilo off each day during your dive vacation. Relax in the water, use your BCD sparingly, and breathe normally, and rhythmically.
  • Watch your buoyancy: Be aware of where your fins are at all times. By knowing where your fins are you can minimize "lunar landings" on descent and stirring up silt. If you must land somewhere, use your fin tips on a sandy bottom area. When neutrally buoyant, divers do not need to make contact with any part of the reef.
  • Please don't touch: Leaning on corals, and other marine animals with camera extensions, underwater lights, or dive knives gives you no tactile info. And can cause great harm.
  • Don't kick up sand! Sponges and corals are filter feeders. Clouds of sand prevent these animals from filtering the water and they can starve to death.
  • Don't grab animals! Ask yourself, "If I let this animal go would it come back?" If it wouldn't, don't stress the animal. Look, enjoy, but don't touch.
North Sulawesi Watersports Association Guidelines:

Take only pictures and memories,
leave only bubbles,

  • Liveaboards have 1 or 2 Zodiac-type rubber boats on board to use for picking up and dropping off the divers: or for trips to shore. Most dives begin by entering from the liveaboard and end being picked up by the rubber boat. (Remember to swim away from shallow reef or shore after you surface it too close.) If you are picked up by the liveaboard-there is a large metal ladder submerged at the back off the boat, you can remove gear and hand it to crew members (weight belt first), or remove fins and climb up ladder.

  • Pay attention to the divemaster's briefing-this will be helpful in navigating your way to various sites offshore and to the do's and don'ts of the area
  • You may want to take a compass reading with reference to shore.
  • Attention should be given to previous dives, and buddy teams should agree on maximum depth, bottom time, air supply limits, and general course direction after listening to the briefing.
  • Maintain good neutral buoyancy control.
  • All dives must be within the no-decompression limits using computer or tables.
  • Turn around for the beach at 100 psi.
  • Check reference to beach at 700-800 psi.
  • Allow for 300-500 psi at the end of the dive.

  • Listen carefully to the dive master's briefing, do not hesitate to ask question.
  • In these clear, calm waters where visibility often exceeds 100 ft. (30 meters), it's easy to forget how deep you really are. Give extra attention to your depth gauge, air supply and bottom time.
  • Maintain good buoyancy control throughout the dive (neutral)
  • Stay within no-decompression limits using tables or computer.
  • Ascend slowly and always include a safety stop at 15 feet (5 meters) for 3-5 minutes. Making safety stops at 3 depths will automatically slow your ascend rate. Take 1 minute at 20 feet (7-8 meters), and 3 minutes at 15 ft. (5 meters).

  • Listen carefully to the dive master's briefing, especially regarding the direction in which to start your dive.
  • Prior to entry, streamline your equipment and secure it properly (fins, mask, and hoses).
  • Upon entry, immediately descend and wait for your buddy near the depth limit agreed upon or, at the surface hold onto the boat until your buddy is also in the water, then descend together. Reserve adjustments to gear (straps and camera) for the bottom, where the currents begin to dissipate.
  • Never hesitate to ask the dive masters for assistance: whether it is to take your camera down for you, clarify instructions; point out unique marine life you will encounter.
  • Save some extra air to make a 3-5 minute safety stop at 20-25 ft. (8-10 meters). Currents sometimes strengthen near the surface, making a stop at 10-15 ft. (5 meters) difficult.
  • Be aware of your dive masters during the dive as he may signal to change direction of dive to drift with current instead of fighting against it, or to surface and have boat bring you to another site or location to take advantage of the current.
  • Dives will usually end by surfacing, establishing positive buoyancy, relaxing in the sun, and waiting for the boat to pick you up. If you are quite near the shore or shallows, it is best to swim away to deeper water for the boat to pick you up.
    Before entry:
  • Organize your equipment. Take advantage of hose attachments and octopus holders so nothing dangles.
  • Agree on hand and light signals; maximum depth, air and time limits. Decide who will lead, discuss navigational procedures, and procedure for buddy separation. *
  • It is usually easier to locate your buddy at night by momentarily turning off your light and looking for the glow of your buddy's light. If, after 1 minute of searching, you are not successful, surface, inflate your B.C. and wait.
  • Each buddy should have a dive light (or 2) as well as cyalume light stick attached to snorkel or first stage.
  • Make a pre-dive safety check and turn on dive lights before entering the water.

    During the night dive:
  • Make sure you can find your way. As you explore your dive site during the day, note compass bearings between major landmarks and your exit point. Notice also what natural navigation features can guide you to this point.
  • Always descend and ascend slowly.
  • Cover less ground than you would during a day dive.
  • Stay closer than usual to your buddy.
  • Monitor air consumption, time, and depth more closely.
  • Maintain good buoyancy control. Proper buoyancy is essential in remaining comfortably off the bottom, thus avoiding stirring up silt. Proper buoyancy control exercised during your descent will also allow you to avoid items such as large, sharp coral.
  • When using hand signals, shine your light on your hand at chest level. To gain your buddy's attention, wave your light from side to side in his direction. Large, rapid, up and down motions with your light indicate something is wrong, while large circular motions indicate everything is O.K.
  • Avoid shining your light in your buddy's eyes.

    Ending your night dive:
  • Ascend slowly; shine light up to avoid obstructions.
  • Inflate B.C. at the surface, swim slowly towards the exit.
  • Lanyard light to wrists to free hands while exiting.
  • Secure your gear away immediately.
  • At Murex house reef, red and green lights on the shore should be lined up on top of each other for guidance back to exit point.

  • Water filters out colors. In 15 feet reds disappear. In 60 feet only blues and greens remain. A dive light will restore the vibrant colors of the reef day and night and let you better explore the small canyons and overhanging shelves. Lights are available for rental.

  • Anyone with diving anxieties, questions, or any problems should ask their dive master about their concerns. The key to overcoming pre-dive jitters is to not to keep them to yourself. The dive masters at the resorts are there to ensure you have an enjoyable vacation. When informed, they can help you go at your own place and develop your skills and confidence - and that's what dive vacation is all about.