North Sulawesi, 2006






Trip dates:

5-16 September 2006

Boat / resort:

Gangga Island Resort and Spa

Dive centre:

Gangga Divers


Very. The resort is dive and photosub dedicated. Great camera room and good facilities on board the dive boats. Full Nitrox facility.

Number of dives:

21 dives over 8 full days of diving

Diving conditions:

Occasional downpours, but very hot weather and many sunny spells. 28°C water temperature, except when we went down to Lembeh. There we had 25-26°C. Visibility was around 10m around Bangka and Talisei islands, and the Sulawesi mainland sites, below 10m in Lembeh, very good in Bunaken sites. No currents worth mentioning, save in the Bunaken sites, where the full moon made them quite strong.


I was very lucky on this trip. I travelled alone (I enjoy that, occasionally), and found the hotel in Gangga almost empty… save that there was a passing dive travel agent on a business trip, a nice German girl named Myriam. The resort manager, Hanne, offered her the VIP treatment – as it is the custom in the business – and I got to be allowed to join. They took us to Bunaken and Lembeh on their speed boats. It’s in their offer (at extra charge), but I guess they would not have done it with just two divers on board if it weren’t for Myriam. I also got to dive with the best divemaster in the shop, surely. His name is Inyo and he was a quiet but sharp spotter. He knew perfectly well what a photographer needs and offered it with a shy smile.

To get there, once you land in Manado, you are picked up by the resort and driven about 2 hours north to a tiny pier. From there, it is about a 30 minutes boat trip to the Island. The resort is very beautiful, with lovely rooms, a great spa and an excellent service, including “a la carte” dining every night. The rooms, however, are all oriented west, and when I went back to my cottage it was a roasting oven, air conditioning and all. Also, even at busy times, this is surely no place for nightlife lovers. Nevertheless, I loved the place and think the money was well spent. Gaspare and Hanne are really friendly and experienced. They run a tight ship indeed.

The diving is very good. Sites were mainly around Bangka Island, I did not dive any site in Gangga itself, although a couple are charted. One of them is a mandarin dive in a small islet just accross a narrow strait from Gangga. The best site was probably Paradise, on the mainland coast. The name is taken from a resort they built here but seemingly abandoned. There is small jetty with lots of life on the pillars… and a hot well spurts out right in the middle of it. Spectacular muck diving, better than many Lembeh sites.

I got good shots of the new pygmy seahorse species, and of many other new critters, especially nudibranchs. No big life worth mentioning, but surely good opportunities for wide angle on the walls around Bangka and Talisei. I only shot macro, though. I had twin strobes for the first time, my old D2000 and a brand new Z240. The last days, I dove with a honeymooning couple from Switzerland and I ended up selling the D2000 strobe to the groom. I got a second Z240 later on.


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