Shore Diving in Sulawesi

While Sulawesi is renowned in Indonesia for its fantastic diving, meccas like Bunaken National Park and the Lembeh Strait are generally known for their boat dives and you’ll be hard-pressed to find shore dives in this region. However, there are a great few spots in Sulawesi that can be accessed from the shore (although this will depend on the dive operator and conditions on the day), so we’ve rounded up three dive sites in the Lembeh Strait that are accessible from the beach for the next time you’re looking to go shore diving in Sulawesi.


Hairball is a generally sandy muck site with a longshore current. The average depth of the dive is ten metres, with a maximum depth of 25 metres and average horizontal visibility of ten metres.

The dive is a mixture of a flat and sandy slope between five and eight metres deep, with a sponge colony at around 18 metres. Divers can expect to see a range of creatures, from colourful reef fish like sweetlips and damselfish to ostentatious nudibranchs and wonderpus octopuses.

Lembeh Resort House Reef

Lembeh Resort House Reef is a muck site with a patchwork of sand, rock, rubble and coral reef. There's an interesting coral plantation at the centre of the site, sitting at a depth of roughly 12 metres, as well as Reef Balls on the far left of the site at eight metres. The average depth of the dive is 12 metres with a maximum depth of 25 metres.

Although the visibility is a meagre three metres on average, we still recommend the Lembeh Resort House Reef for shore diving in Sulawesi, particularly for macro photographers. The site is host to a wide variety of interesting creatures, including harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish and several species of octopus (blue-ringed, longarm, hairy and wonderpus). Extremely lucky divers might even encounter the Lembeh Sea Dragon, a minuscule creature belonging to the seahorse and pipefish family, which was first discovered in 2006 and is endemic to the area.

Retak Larry

Retak Larry is another Lembeh Strait muck site with relatively poor visibility (three metres on average), home to myriad weird and wonderful creatures. The sand and rubble site is an average of 18 metres deep with a maximum of 24 metres.

During the dive, look out for mimic octopuses, painted frogfish and spiny seahorses, as well as robust and ornate ghost pipefishes.

As you can see, opportunities for shore diving in Sulawesi are few and far between, however, combined with some choice boat dives, Sulawesi makes for an incredible diving destination filled with interesting marine life. If you're considering Sulawesi for your next diving holiday, get in contact with a member of our expert team who can put together a tailor-made itinerary to suit your needs.

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Emily C and Eleanor are our 'Shore Diving in Sulawesi' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on 1-800-652-1972