When visiting Manado, I purposely set aside one day to answer my curiosity about the beautiful underwater scenery of Bunaken National Park. Bunaken is an island located in the north of Sulawesi. The area is about 8 sq km, which is part of Manado, North Sulawesi Province. I was with several friends, deliberately leaving early in the morning after breakfast at the inn to go there. Dozens of fast boats lined up neatly on the port dock of Manado city, ready to take tourists who will see up close the colorful sea fish in the waters of Bunaken National Park. Our adventure in Bunaken begins.
My intention and some friends to enjoy the natural beauty of the underwater area of 75 hectares is non-negotiable. We departed by chartering a fast boat. At the Manado pier, there are several fast boat rental rates. If you go up from Bersehati Market, the rental rate is around IDR 400,000. Meanwhile, if you go up from the Marina, the fare is more expensive, it can be doubled. Usually, backpackers choose to ride from Pasar Bersehati and join other tourists on a traditional boat at a rate of IDR 50 thousand / person. However, the departure schedule depends on the fullness of the ship.
Given the short time, my friend and I did not want to linger on a trip to Bunaken by traditional boat. We also rented a ‘middle’ class boat to shorten the crossing to 30 minutes. Because if you take a traditional boat, the time is unpredictable.
Surrounding the waters, we were presented with the blue seawater that was so clear. As if waving a hand to invite the people who were on board the ship immediately get off. Our curiosity began to stir. On the way, the crew explained several points of diving locations in Bunaken Marine Park.
The Underwater View of Bunaken
We chose to go to Bunaken Island. “It’s not enough if only half a day to the Marine Park,” said the crew who accompanied us during the trip. Because to enjoy the beauty of the sea on each of the small islands, it would be more complete if it was done for a few days. On the way, we saw the underwater garden through the bottom glass (glass mounted on the hull). While looking at the mirror, the crew told us about the myths that the public has believed until now. It is said that anyone who could see a passing Napoleon fish will get luck in his life.
I can’t believe the 30 minutes went by so fast. We headed to Bunaken Island. The tourists seemed to fill the Bunaken pier area. While on the beachside, there are several diving equipment rental stalls. They were starting from a professional diver rental place in a showroom to street vendor rentals.
Bunaken marine park has 20 dive spots with varying depths of up to 1,344 meters. Of the 20 diving points, 12 of them are around Bunaken Island. These twelve dive points are the most frequently visited by divers and lovers of the beauty of the underwater scenery. Most of the 12 dive points on Bunaken Island are lined up from the southeast to the northwest.
By renting diving equipment, we prepare for snorkeling, exploring the underwater scenery. With the rented boat earlier, we were invited to the middle. We only see from the surface. Just entering the water, rows of colorful and visual fish flocked to greet us. Seaweed was not to be outdone, snaking rocked by seawater waving our hands inviting us to get closer to a more beautiful direction, the coral reefs of Bunaken.
There are about 390 species of coral reefs that exude their charm. The shape ranges from a unique groove, forming a gap to a shape like a cave or a tiny tunnel under the sea. Of the various types of coral reefs, the most are marine coral reefs. Again a school of fish lined up neatly past in front of us. Suddenly we were silent for a moment watching the sensation of the beautiful underwater scenery of Bunaken while holding up our thumbs.
If we have a lot of time, actually we want to dive. But there are rules that drivers must obey. That is, there must be a pause of 48 hours before making a flight. Due to limited time, we decided just to snorkel. By late afternoon, we ended our underwater adventure. Our stomachs started to feel hungry, so we didn’t waste our Bunaken Seafood, drinking coconut and fried bananas with dipping sauce. Don’t forget before returning home to give some souvenirs to friends. Don’t forget, because souvenirs from various T-shirts in Bunaken are relatively cheaper than buying in Manado.
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