The Bangka Archipelago in North Sulawesi is an area well known for spectacular diving and marine life. This group of islands includes Bangka, Kinabohutan, Gangga, Talisei and Tindila. Located at the meeting point of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there are more than 30 dive sites all within reach of Gangga Island Resort & Spa, one of the highest rated dive resorts in the archipelago.
For divers this area is heaven on Earth, so in this article we’ll be telling you a little more about what dive sites in North Sulawesi you won’t want to miss!
Gangga Island House Reef
Gangga Island Resort’s house reef is a volcanic slope covered in soft corals, table corals and sponges. You can dive here in the day and at night if you are staying in the resort. There are also bioreefs off the resort’s beach, which are home to a multitude of corals, critters, and reef fish. You can also expect to see shrimps, lobsters, cuttlefish octopus and several species of scorpion fish.
Soft coral gardens are the feature of this site. Up to 30 metres in depth with sometimes strong currents, this dive can be challenging but very much worth it for the underwater life found there. You’ll most likely see Napoleons wrasse, scorpion fish and moray eels. On the sea bed sea snakes, and many colourful and rare sea slugs.
Also called Tanjung Arus or Cape Current, this dive site is at the northernmost tip of Talisei Island. A variety of soft and hard corals cover this site with a 30+ metre drop off and beautiful underwater cave. Large and small fish live or visit here – from leaf scorpionfish to Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, sharks and tuna.
North Talisei Pinnacles
The pinnacles of this area attract a lot of fishes and are covered with soft corals, sea fans, and feather stars. The maximum depth at North Talisei Pinnacles is around 30 metres and currents can be very strong. However visibility is around 20 metres and you can avoid the current by staying on the lee side of the pinnacles. There are plenty of nudibranchs here and many colourful fish.
To the west of Talisei Island is a nice big drop-off with penty of colourful coral coverage, gorgonian fans and large sponges. Swaying sea grasses hide fish of all types and the green halimeda ghostpipefish has even been spotted here. This site is good in the day but also ideal for night dives.
Lihaga Island is famous for its population of mandarin fish. The males of this fish species come out around 5.30pm to woo females with their unique courtship dance. The males display their dorsal fins to attract the female and when the female chooses her mate they rise together, side by side to head for open water to release their spawn and eggs.
Busa Bora is a mid-depth wall dive with an average depth of 17 metres off the west coast of Bangka Island. Visibility is around 5-10 metres and there is an amazing range of marine life here. Crocodilefish, stonefish and frogfish all camouflague themselves and patiently wait for tasty eats to swim by.
Tanjung Husi is also located off the west coast of Bangka Island. This is a nice slope, great for drift diving. Keep your eyes open for giant frogfish and blue ribbon eels as well as many other unique creatures. Pelagics pass by here, so you have a good chance of spotting white tip reef sharks if you’re looking for a thrill.
Also in the same area, within easy reach of Gangga Island Resort, there is the wreck of a B-21 bomber at around 28 meters. The plane rests on the sandy bottom where you’ll find plenty of critters burying themselves. It’s nice for history buffs and to have a change of scenery from all the coral gardens and pinnacles in the area.
Tanjung Tarabitan (Torowitan)
Just off the north coast of Sulawesi there are many dive sites. Tanjung Tarabitan is one of the closest to Gangga Island Resort. This is a steep wall with lots of overhangs and cuts to swim through. Hard and soft corals cover much of the site although there is some sandy bottom uncovered as well. Napoleon wrasse and plenty of colourful reef fish can be spotted here.
Diving in the Bangka Archipelago is truly a wonderful experience. With so many incredible marine creatures to search out and incredible pristine corals, you will never want to surface again. Is there a particular species you would like to see in Sulawesi? Write a comment below to let us know.