North Sulawesi is best known for Bunaken National Marine Park. However, the smaller islands to the north of Bunaken are also spectacular for divers. Here at Gangga Island Resort & Spa we have some favorite dive sites that we’d love to share with you. Here are our top 6 must visit dive sites around the islands of Lihaga, Gangga, and Talise.
1. Gangga House Reef
Just off Gangga Island Resort & Spa is the resort’s gentle house reef. The volcanic slope here is covered with soft corals, table corals and sponges. There are lots of smaller critters at this site. If you stay at the resort, a night dive is possible and this is the best time to see shrimps, lobsters, cuttlefish, octopus and lots of different scorpion fish.
Lihaga is the tiny island just off the south west side of Gangga Island. It is famous for evening dives to watch Mandarin fish doing their amazing mating dance. The males display their dorsal fins and dance for the females before they come out of their hiding places and release spawn and eggs together. This happens every evening about 5:30pm so make sure it’s part of your diving schedule in Manado.
3. North Talise Pinnacles
Talise is one of the larger islands in the Bangka group and is surrounded by a number of great dive sites. One of the most spectacular is North Talise Pinnacles dropping to 30 metres. The large pinnacles are surrounded by beautiful coral gardens where many colourful nudibranch species can be found. Sea snakes are also common.
4. Goa Tanjung Arus
A goa is a cave in Indonesian language and this large underwater cave is one of the most impressive in the area. You don’t need a special cave diving certificate for this dive as it can be entered from 3 different openings at around 20 metres. This is an interesting dive with lots to see in the walls of the cave.
5. Aer Banua
Aer Banua is a really impressive site with tons of colourful soft corals, huge gorgonian fans, and big sponges. Rare green Halimeda Ghostpipefish have been found here hiding in the seagrass at around 20 meters deep. At night this is a good spot for Napoleon wrasse, eagle rays, sharks, and bumphead parrotfish.
6. Tanjung Tarabitan
Not strictly around the islands of Gangga, Lihaga, or Talise, but this dive is close enough to mention here. One of the best walls in the area, this is a site covered in hard and soft corals. You can swim through the cuts in the wall and explore overhangs. Lots of colourful reef fish and larger pelagics too can be spotted here.
These dives are not only some of the closest to Gangga, Talise, and Lihaga, but also some of the best in the area. The varied terrain, masses of fish, and healthy corals are a huge draw to the area. Gangga Divers at Gangga Island Resort & Spa are ready to show you the best of the area.
Have you been to North Sulawesi to dive or is it a dream of yours? We’d love to hear about your experiences or plans so leave us a message in the comments box below!