After his time in the Banda Sea, our "roving reporter" Tim Simond has been in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, and sends this report.

mandarin fish bunaken sulawesi

Incredible macro diving in Northern Sulawesi

How about a change from all the big stuff; mantas, sharks and whale sharks and the like, and a look at some of the most beautiful, smaller, and even downright weird marine life that exists, some of it only found here in Northern Indonesia?

Yes, there are all the usual suspects, occasional shark, many turtles etc., but it is what is termed 'macro' or smaller life that is so outrageous here, indeed it is accepted that Indonesia is the world capital of macro diving where pygmy seahorses, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish and blue ringed octopus are almost commonplace. And that is just the hors d'oeuvre, some marine life found here, exists nowhere else in the world.

But where to stay?

But how to approach such a remote destination in any sort of style or comfort? After a lot of poking around I think I have found a gem and it lies on a small island called Siladen, here in Northern Sulawesi.

As to the resort, reopened after a very recent update, 15 stylish air conditioned rooms with outdoor bathrooms and waxed timber floors, set on a white sand beach (northern Sulawesi being volcanic is primarily black sand beaches), with delicious food, an immaculate dive centre, wonderful spa, and all very much toes in the sand. With private dinners on the beach, home-made chocolate, locally made spa oils, this is a lovely little place.

Dining is fantastic, the manager Daniele is seemingly a frustrated chef (his brother is a chef) but the results of his heritage is perfectly cooked pasta and a superb chocolate lava pudding served with your toes in the sand looking across at a real volcano backlit by the setting sun. This is the by far the best food we have found so far on this trip.

Back to the macro diving

The macro diving. Guess what, Daniele used to run that when the resort first opened and as a consequence, with nearly 5,000 dives under his weight belt here alone, the experienced team know exactly where to find all those most exotic and elusive of creatures, set against some of the most prolific, vibrant and healthy coral you could imagine. With up to four dives a day including an optional mandarin fish dive and night dive, a weekly excursion to Lembeh for even more weird life, albeit without the coral, this is simply a must go.

And should you tire of the diving, then visit the local Tangkoko Batuangus National Park and see the Black Macaque monkey and the beautiful Hornbills, and as dusk settles be amazed by the worlds smallest primate, the Tarsius, the size of a pack of cards, again, only found here.

In short, this is a real gem and we are coming back on holiday next time. It is also relatively easy to get to.

You should go now and if you were to go between the 20th and 30th of June this year, then you could be involved in the islands turtle hatching and release scheme where they protect, allow to mature 60 days for a better chance of survival, and then release back to nature hundreds of baby turtles every year.

If I could find the time I would see you there.

Want to know more about macro diving in Indonesia? Get in touch to find out more.