Diving with Bastianos at Bunaken National Marine Park

Bunaken Travel Blog

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The widest television screen ever.
Scuba diving has changed my life. Since becoming OW certified in 2006, I spend my energy and focus on looking for awesome places to dive. Diving, much like traveling, opens up new worlds. It has brought me to places I previously never thought I would visit, it has shown me things, creatures and corals, of unbelievable beauty and scale, and it has given me a renewed purpose behind my travels other than aimlessly vagabonding or drunken party-searching.

Indonesia is a land of remarkable beauty, flying east from Jakarta to Manado is a visual testament to that. Cruising through plush doughy clouds over verdant tropical islands outlined by white sandy beaches with nearby coral reefs exposed through the clarity of turquoise/green ocean waters made me drool against the airplane's cabin window.
Bastianos beach bungalows


The destination was to be Raja Ampat in Papua, but we could not make timely lodging arrangements, so we made a last minute dash to Bunaken National Marine Park, off the coast of port city Manado. From the harbour, we embarked on a half-hour boatride to Bunaken Island, wedged in between a beautifully dramatic volcano called Manado Tua and a small flat idyllic tropical island called Siladen Island. We reached Bastianos Resort & Diving Center to spend 5 wonderful days of our lives.

We arranged some dives for the following day, 4 dives to be exact, then headed into the village to grub on some fresh barracuda and relax with some ice-cold Bintangs. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we met our divemaster Rando and completed 3 dives and a twilight dive.
Bintang, best served ice cold.
We covered the Lekuan (Cove) reef walls, Muka Kampung (Front of Village), and a twilight dive to search for that elusively unique Mandarin fish. The reefs were vibrant and alive, hard and soft corals offering shelter to a variety of fish, crustaceans, worms, and slugs. Even witnessed a school of dolphins graciously waving through the waters.

The day was to be celebrated at night with ice-cold Bintang and a local distill called Chaptikoos (Rat Brand). Together with the awesome Bastianos staff and some of the other visitors we drank and sang deep into the night on guitar strings, sharing laughs and making new friends, taking pictures and memorializing moments.

The next day, 3 more dives, including to Fukui and Cela Cela. Fukui is home to 5 giant clams. Although 2 have died, the sheer size of these clams are amazing.
Off into the distance, underwater life!
Also at Fukui met a Crocodilefish who was great to take pictures with since it didn't seem to be bothered. Again, the day was to be celebrated at night over cold beers and the serenading voices of Rey and Sylvie. They said they've never sang together over the guitar since the first night although the pitch-perfect melodic harmony they produced may suggest otherwise. The 2nd night of singing brought out more of the usually reclusive guests, all sitting in a big circle, enjoying the laughs, again the night was magical.

Woke up on the last full day in sadness. Just when you build something special, it was time to go. Knocked off 2 more relaxing dives in the beautifully tranquil coral garden slopes of Bualo and Fukui. The dives were so visually relaxing and soothing that I maintain a powerful mental picture of the rich coral slopes that graced our last dives.
Firepit for the BBQ on our last night.
It was so relaxing, not even the Garden Eels felt threatened by the proximity of our presence.

The night that followed was set up to be something special. The crew had requested the man in charge, Bapak, to hold a special BBQ/Bonfire to commemorate our stay, to which Bapak happily obliged. After the food, the fluid started flowing, the fire started burning, the party was alive and kicking. We made music on anything that made sound, we danced in a trance around the fire, we succumbed to the positive energy that encompassed the aura. We celebrated each other, new friends from around the world, new facebook contacts, new experiences, new places, and new memories.

We killed nothing but time, took nothing but pictures, left nothing but footprints.

BOLEH MOGOSOH!!!






livelovelaugh87 says:
Ah you're making me miss Indonesia so much! Great blogs btw :)
Posted on: Jun 27, 2011
inirr says:
After Bunaken, you should go to Lembeh strait. It's home to the weirdest creature on earth! Very good for underwater photography
Posted on: Apr 23, 2009
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The widest television screen ever.
The widest television screen ever.
Bastianos beach bungalows
Bastianos beach bungalows
Bintang, best served ice cold.
Bintang, best served ice cold.
Off into the distance, underwater …
Off into the distance, underwater…
Firepit for the BBQ on our last ni…
Firepit for the BBQ on our last n…
Flying into Manado on Lion Air.
Flying into Manado on Lion Air.
Construction in Manado
Construction in Manado
Manado Port
Manado Port
Bastianos beach bungalows
Bastianos beach bungalows
Rain approaching Manado Tua.
Rain approaching Manado Tua.
BK pondering...
BK pondering...
Night looms behind the volcano.
Night looms behind the volcano.
Divemaster Rando leading the way t…
Divemaster Rando leading the way …
Mirko and Nadya, the Italians.
Mirko and Nadya, the Italians.
Bapak and Nikton.
Bapak and Nikton.
BK, Rando, Gina.
BK, Rando, Gina.
Mirko, the pastaman on the drums.
Mirko, the pastaman on the drums.
Dives are set. Gina is happy.
Dives are set. Gina is happy.
Mario, BK, Rando.
Mario, BK, Rando.
Fish greet our arrival to the dive…
Fish greet our arrival to the div…
Mario, Me, Rando.
Mario, Me, Rando.
Dolphins show us their grace.
Dolphins show us their grace.
Bapak feeling good.
Bapak feeling good.
Tanks for all day diving
Tanks for all day diving
Rey and Sylvie.
Rey and Sylvie.
Dive Map & Sites of Bunaken Nation…
Dive Map & Sites of Bunaken Natio…
Mirko feeling good.
Mirko feeling good.
Where the reef wall meets the open…
Where the reef wall meets the ope…
BK and Sylvie.
BK and Sylvie.
With this kind of sun, I got dark …
With this kind of sun, I got dark…
Shawn, BK, Helen, Rey, and Nikton.
Shawn, BK, Helen, Rey, and Nikton.
Sunset over Manado Tua.
Sunset over Manado Tua.
Roland and Gina.
Roland and Gina.
Bapak on the strings, bottle of wh…
Bapak on the strings, bottle of w…
Segaran Sari by the box.
Segaran Sari by the box.
Our first party night with the cre…
Our first party night with the cr…
the girls
the girls
The final circle.
The final circle.
Gina goggling
Gina goggling
Moray Eel
Moray Eel
Moray is mad
Moray is mad
Big blue fish
Big blue fish
Christmas Tree Worms
Christmas Tree Worms
Giant Clams
Giant Clams
Cabbage corals
Cabbage corals
More cabbage corrals
More cabbage corrals
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Lion Fish
Lion Fish
Soft coral
Soft coral
Soft coral
Soft coral
Scorpion Fish
Scorpion Fish
Sponges
Sponges
16,042 km (9,968 miles) traveled
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photo by: bernard69