"Let's dive!" my dive guide Kennedy exclaimed the moment we set foot on Bunaken Island, an underwater mecca just off the coast of Manado in North Sulawesi.
It seemed he did not want to waste any time. Plunging into the deep, we were soon welcomed by thousands of small fish, from Butterflyfish to Angelfish and Triggerfish, swimming around us in every direction.
You can't always find such a diverse range of fish species at just one dive site. Lekuan II and Lekuan III are two of the best sites in the vast Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, which is widely regarded as one of the best tropical dive regions in the world. One of the most memorable moments during my first visit to Bunaken four and a half years ago was having my dive mask "kissed" by hundreds of little fish.
Near the surface, the clear, calm conditions allowed me to see the stark contrast between the bodies of water surrounding Bunaken Island. On one side of the "Great Wall", a steep volcanic structure teeming with marine life, the dark blue waters plunge off into nothingness while on the other side, the crystal turquoise shallows indicate the presence of soft and hard corals.
The wall has long been considered a top dive site due to the abundance of corals and sea critters but also because it remains quite a challenge. At most dive sites, one must get close to the sea bed to get a good look at the coral gardens and creatures, but Bunaken's vertical wall diving offers something entirely unique.
Full article by Arief Suhardiman