Diving Manado Tua, North Sulawesi
Manado Tua is an extinct volcanic cone peeking out of the sea off the west coast of North Sulawesi. This island is located just next to Bunaken Island and close to Siladen, Mantehage and Nain Islands. Together they make up the Bunaken – Manado Tua Marine Park covering almost 90,000 hectares.
This area was designated a marine park in 1989 and the diving in this area is spectacular. Although it’s a little further from Gangga Island Resort & Spa than other dive sites, the trip is definitely worth it. Read on to find out more about spending a day diving at Manado Tua.
Manado Tua, meaning Old Manado in Bahasa Indonesia, is the remnant of a long extinct volcano. In fact there are no records of ever having been an eruption and some even say it’s only a piece of another volcano thrown into the sea. However it got there, it now towers 800 metres out of the sea making for a dramatic tropical landscape.
The islands of the Bunaken – Manado Tua Marine Park are separated from the mainland by a submarine trench that is up to 1,200 metres in some areas. Coral reefs can start from 3 metres all the way down to the sea floor over a thousand metres below.
Thanks to this trench and the conservation rules of the reserve, there is an abundance of healthy reef and marine life. The clean waters, healthy reefs, and lack of pollution from the Manado mainland are a testament to this.
If you get the chance to follow the hiking trail to the summit of Manado Tua in between dives you can also see the often-smoking cone of Gunung Soputan 60 kilometers away.
What you might see at Manado Tua
Thanks to the depths of the trenches around Manado Tua you may see a number of large pelagics like giant travelly, snapper, grouper, Napoleon wrasse, and even eagle rays and hammerhead sharks. White and black tipped reef sharks are common sights as well.
In amongst the overhangs, drops and walls of coral you might also find strange and wonderful species like scorpionfish, leaf scorpionfish, a wide variety of nudibranchs, shrimps of every size, flatworms and Christmas tree worms.
Off the east coast of the island there is a lovely plateau of reef that is home to large schools of colourful fish and black tailed barracuda. This is around the Tanjung Kopi site where hundreds of sea turtles come to lay their eggs during the full moon.
Limitations to diving Manado Tua
If you would like to dive at Manado Tua, you can talk to your dive guides at Gangga Divers to arrange the best day for it. Currents can be strong in some areas around the island so your guides will have to assess your diving skills and certification level in accordance with the conditions on the day. However, some areas of the island allow for easier dives and snorkeling opportunities.
The drama of the island itself and the variety of topography and marine life are well worth the journey to get there. If you would like more information about diving Manado Tua, leave us a message in the comments box below. We’re always happy to hear from you!