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Diving Buyat Bay | Sulawesi, Indonesia

There is always a new diving destination cropping up in Indonesia. That's not surprising when you consider all those beautiful islands surrounded by prolific coral reefs. As transport and island infrastructures improve, dive operators spread out to find potential locations for new resorts.

One of the most recent discoveries is Buyat Bay, just a few hours by speed boat from the famed Lembeh Straits. This charming area was first noted by a mining company, which operated in the nearby mountains. The mine is now closed but they left behind a staff complex on the coast with some simple bungalows that are being renovated as a dive lodge.

There are a dozen or so small islands scattered along this stretch of sea and each one is surrounded by pristine hard corals. Unusual topography with enormous boulders and pinnacles creates channels and coral-clad swim-throughs. The diving is fairly shallow, the fish life varied and there are many interesting critters nestled on the reefs.

Buyat Bay dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Crocodilefish
Bluespotted rays
Soft and hard corals
Top dive site Pulau Hugow
Seasons September to June
Visibility 12 – 30 metres
Water temperature 23 – 29º C
Deco chambers Manado
Flights to Manado then 3 hours transfer by car
Dive operators and accommodation
Just Critters at Lembeh, which is currently based at the Lakban Bungalow complex a simple affair but with all the necessary mod-cons.
INFORMATION EXPLORE more Indonesian diving
PROS and CONS For people who love Indonesia and the Lembeh Straits, this is a logical addition to diving the top end of Sulawesi. With well-trodden transport routes via Manado, the area is easy to reach. Accommodation is simple but pretty and dive sites are still in the exploratory stage, making it highly appealing for those who don't like crowds. The surrounding area is extremely beautiful.
SCUBA DIVING The dramatic underwater topography here adds another dimension to a dive trip if you started in – or have been – to the Lembeh Straits. The sands are much paler and the reefs far richer in corals. Visibility was low while we were there but didn't spoil the diving. Currents could be strong around the pinnacle dives but the water movement was principally surge, which was easy enough to cope with. We were particularly impressed with the amount and variety of nudibranchs and juvenile fish. We also saw the unusual and very handsome black crocodile fish for the first time (image 3 above).
OPINION We first dived the Lembeh Straits and Manado region well over a decade ago when it was an unknown dive destination. The area (and the great Larry Smith) inspired our interest in marine biology so seeing the differences that are found only short distance from the other Sulawesi diving areas continues to amaze us. More research needs to be done on seasons and dive sites but Buyat Bay is an ideal combination with Lembeh.
Diving video This video runs for 1:36 minutes – watch the full version here.
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Complete reports on this area are in Diving Southeast Asia.

The digital edition is on iTunes.

Buy the print edition direct from SeaFocus here.