The depths of the marine park are quite astounding with
some places in Manado Bay exceeding 1,500 m.
But the bio diversity doesn’t come any richer than here. And it doesn’t
matter whether we’re talking fishes, corals or sponges. Some 70 different
species of coral live here compared to perhaps ten or twelve in the
Caribbean and more than 2,500 fishes – that’s almost 70% of all coral reef
fishes in the Pacific Ocean.
Marine biologists believe that especially the northeast currents are the
cause for this high bio diversity. The currents are met by lively counter
currents and eddies that trap pelagic larvae and fry.
The great proliferation of hard corals (the architects of the coral reefs)
should be one of the keys. Apparently the waters are so full of nutrients
that a given coral in Bunaken only needs a year to regenerate as compared to
six years in the Red Sea. Visibility was usually about 30-40 m but often
“impurities” made it difficult to look far ahead.
After quite a few dives we logged minimum temperatures on our dive computers
of an astounding 30oC at depths of 25-30 m. According to science
such a temperature ought to be a bit too much for hard corals but we very
rarely encountered dead or bleached corals. On the contrary, we were usually
met by incredible formations and colours.
Critters and Welding Rods
Never before had we seen scorpionfish in so many different sizes and
variations. But most impressive were the small and hidden stuff.
Our dive guides were nothing short of brilliant, and they always knew where
to find fun and exciting stuff. Equipped with his or her own favourite
pointer (table knife, welding rod, wrench, etc.) they effortlessly pointed
out tiny shrimps, crabs and odd fish hiding in the strangest of places.
Not least the brilliantly camouflaged cockatoo waspfish, stonefish,
scorpionfish, cuttlefish and squids. Most of these believing so strongly in
their camouflage that we could quiet easily sneak up on them for a closer