Liveaboard Diving in North Sulawesi with Manado based Murex Liveaboard Diving in North Sulawesi
- Sangihe Islands, Lembeh Strait, Togian Islands -
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Selected liveaboard Dive Sites Of the Sangihe Islands

The following provides a brief description of the area that the Murex liveaboard cruises visit. This is a selection of some of our favorite dive sites at these islands. Each liveaboard trip is unique. Your itinerary and the dive sites chosen are based on numerous factors including weather, currents, trip length, and diver experience.


BANGKA ISLAND

Bangka Island is located just north of the tip of Sulawesi. Bangka Island is recognizable for its large expanse of grasslands along the hilltops of the central past of the island. In addition to copra, which is harvested from almost all inhabited islands in Indonesia, Bangka produces a large quantity of Cashew nuts. Fishing, of course, is a staple occupation for the villagers. One can still find deer roaming the grassland, though access to these highlands is limited. There are 4 villages around the island located along the shore. There are several fine dive sites around Bangka Island. Bangka is close enough to Murex to be accessed for day dives in addition being a favorite stop for liveaboard trips. A summary of our favorite dive follows:

Batu Gasoh
Batu Gasoh consits of a series of steep pinnacles rising up from the ocean. There are two drift dives in this area, starting at opposite ends of pinnacles, around and through coral covered pinnacles with moderate slope beneath them. As you approach the site, waves can be seen crashing against the pinnacles sending the whitewater everywhere. The dive ranges from 5-35m and there can be strong current present. There is enough topography to allow divers to 'eddy out' of currents and watch the abundance of marine life around them. Highlights include:
  • White Tip & Black Tip Sharks,
  • Turtles & Groupers
  • Yellow, green and red soft corals.
Sahaung
Sahaung also consists of a series of underwater boulders that barely break the surface of the ocean. There are also two dives in this area on separate pinnacles. These pinnacles consists of a continuously sloping bottom with several shelves as you descend. The dives range from 5 - 35 m. There can be strong currents and surge at shallower depths. Highlights include:
  • Big table coral, often with sharks resting under them,
  • An abundance of green and purple soft coral,
  • A multitude of fish including Jack, Dog Tooth Tuna, Barracuda, midnight blue triggerfish, and manta rays.
Batu Mandi
This dive is located just opposite of Bangka Island off the northern tip of Sulawesi, off the shore of Pulisan, where Murex has a scheduled private beach chalet. This dive is also a series of underwater pinnacles rising from a sandy bottom. This is a shallower dive ranging from 5 to 25m. Besides the abundance of hard and soft corals and numerous reef fish, some of the highlights are:
  • Pigmy sea horses
  • Cuttle fish (mimic)
  • Frog fish (if you are fortunate)
Batu Pendeta
Located east of Batu Mandi, with vegetation similar to Sahaung. Consists of several large submerged rocks with one pinnacle up out of water, situated on a reef plateau- 50 feet deep. There is a drop off with canyons where you can eddy out off the current and observe many sweetlips, dogtooth tuna, jacks, and sharks.

Fish Cave
Located between Sahaung and Batu Gosoh at approximately 30m. Fish Cave is a dive with excellent soft and hard corals with lots of fish life at the mouth of the cave and throughout.

Plane Wreck
Located on the northeast edge of the island on a relatively flat sandy bottom at approximately 27m. This dive is the remains of U.S. B-21 bomber. The wings have been covered by sand, but the propellers are visible as well as much of the fuselage.


BIARO ISLAND

Biaro Island is the first southern most island in the Sangihe chain. This island can be recognized by the stunning 200m cliff located on the southern side. The west side of the island is home to the prominent village for the island. On this site of the island there is also a large flooded caldera open to the sea that provides a beautiful, sheltered area to anchor for the evening. On the northeast side of the island, near Zaccharias Rock, are some well-sheltered white sandy beaches for a little walk and swim after lunch. There are several dives around the island from the cliffs at the south, around the west side past the caldera, to the northeast end of the island, including:

Lamango
This is not particularly special during the day, but it provides an excellent night dive. It is shallow at 5-10m with a gently sloping bottom. Highlights including:
  • A large population of Snake eels,
  • Hermit crabs and Sea Anemones,
  • Sleeping Sting Rays and Parrot fish that provide excellent photo opportunities.
The Labyrinth
This site is particularly well known for its amazing landscape and topography. It is approximately 15m deep and consists of a series of volcanic flows with about 2m of relief that form a labyrinth of channels between them. Often this dive has a strong currents. The highlights are:
  • Moral eels,
  • Large Sea whips and Sea Fans,
  • Jack fish and Tuna
Sweet Lip City
This dive is a reef at the depth of about 15-20m. Aptly name, besides numerous hard and soft corals, this dive is known for the large abundance of Sweet Lips that are in the area.

Bomb Rock & Zaccharias Rock
These two dives are near each other on the north side of the island. They are both underwater pinnacles with sloping bottoms interspersed with shelves. Both of these dives are a paradise for underwater photographers. Mild surge at shallower depths. Highlights include:
  • Magnificent corals, varied hard corals,
  • Turtles, scorpion fish, sea cucumbers, large oysters, nudibranchs,
  • Humphead parrot fish, lizard fish, map and seal pufferfish,
  • Zaccharias Rock has large table corals with sharks often resting beneath them.
Kalokoki
Sloping reef off small barrier island, just off shore of sandy beach and anchorage in bay. Lots of varied corals and smaller fish; leafy and fan corals waving in currents like they're in a parade. Highlights include:
  • Lionfish, stingrays, schooling butterfly fish and Moorish idols,
  • Lobsters, large sea cucumbers, grate wide angle views
  • May see dolphins and pilot whales while cruising between islands.

TAGULANDANG ISLAND AND RUANG ISLAND

These next two neighboring islands in the Sangihe chain also have great dive sites. Ruang is an obvious volcano with the striking remains of a lava flow that the jungle has failed to overtake yet.

Serenade's Secret Point
Sloping bottom dive that then drops off to a wall; current is variable and changes with the tides. Extremely well preserved reef with varied colors, type of life and corals- almost too much to look at! Mixed currents bring together unlikely groups of fish- barracudas, dog tooth tuna, striped sweetlips, bronze and golden trumpetfish. Highlights:
  • Hard & soft corals, lots of variety in great condition!
  • Oysters / clams, schools of batfish, barracudas
  • Excellent for wide angle photo
  • Cuttle fish, abundance of crinoids
  • Crocodile and lizard fish.
Lava Flow
Quite interesting sloping bottom dive over old lava flow just off the shore of Ruang Island. Same as above but with an amazing amount of schooling reef fish. The contrast between barren black lava rock and the abundance of life underwater is striking. Our Australian guests said it was their favorite dive. Highlights:
  • Manta and eagle rays,
  • Schooling banner fish,
  • Large Bumphead or Napoleon wrasses.

SIAU ISLAND

Another volcanic island further north in Sangihe island chat that is active enough that at night can be see a rosy glow from the volcano crater. This island is the main producer of nutmeg in this area. This is a good island to do a land tour on if you want a break from diving.

Eddy Point:
  • Great deep dive as deep as 50 - 60m
  • Big grouper at 40m 3m long
  • Wall with leaf fish, frog fish
  • Both wide and macro photo.
Batu Lehi
Wall dive like Bunaken along reed ending with protruding rock. This dive has a volcanic hot spring on the beach!
  • Great to see white tips
  • Abundance of reef fish and coral
  • Great night dive.

BAWONKEKE ISLAND

Between Siau and Kahakitang. Great dive around rocky island with lots of hard corals. Highlights of moray eels, white tip sharks, turtles.


KAHAKITANG & MAHENGETANG ISLANDS AREA

Underwater volcano
  • Schools of fish everywhere
  • Magnificent corals
  • See shape of volcano
  • Bubbles and hot water from volcano
  • Parrot, scorpion, fish, sharks, jack
  • Macro and wide photo.
Sange Lorang
Flat from at 10 - 15m, large meadow of magnificent leaf coral like a cabbage patch! Many varieties of small reef fish.
 
Liveaboard Route Sangihe Islands
For a large version of this map please click here (192 KB)



© Peter Lange

Red lined flabellina
© F&M Czeslik


© Peter Lange


© Peter Lange


© Peter Lange

Dive Sites Lembeh Strait
For a large version of this map please click here (269 KB)


Ribbon Eel
© F&M Czeslik


© Peter Lange

Porcupinefish
© F&M Czeslik

Nembrotha cristata
© F&M Czeslik


© Peter Lange

Flame file shell
© F&M Czeslik


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