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Bunaken National Park, It’s Not All About the Wide!

February 1, 2014

Manado09MV-422Are you planning a trip to Bunaken soon?   A Lembeh and Bunaken combination trip is a popular one for divers and photographers and is always a rewarding trip.  However, there is a misconception about the area that should be known before preparing for your trip.  Popular opinion is that Lembeh is strictly about macro photography and Bunaken is all about the wide angle; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  The critters of Lembeh are well known and don’t need an introduction, but what isn’t as well known is the fantastic macro and critter photography opportunities that the Bunaken area offers.

Manado09MV-1232The Bunaken area is a multi-faceted bonanza of bio-diversity that rivals any other area in Indonesia for the variety of photographic subjects.  True, a regular day will begin with a couple of morning dives on the steep walls of Bunaken, Manado Tua, or Siladen, however, in the afternoon it’s critter time!   A typical afternoon dive will often take place at one of the sites on the mainland: Black Rock, Tanjung Pisok, Tiwoho, Bolung, or Wori Bay are a few examples.  All of these sites have nice coral cover in the shallows but they are known more as critter dives than for wide angle.  Ribbon eels, frogfish, pygmy seahorses, and several species of octopus are just a few of the animals encountered on a typical dive to these sites.  Further afield of the Bunaken area are some of the best muck sites in North Sulawesi.  Behind the big malls of Manado city and the areas further south are long fields of black sand that host a large variety of critters that rival the encounters of Lembeh Strait.  Hairy frogfish, wonderpus, blue ring octopus, nudis of all kinds, seahorses, and bizarre looking pipefish are a few of the attractions that inhabit these shallow and easy sites.

Manado09MV-303If you are one of those macro fanatics who can only shoot wide for a day or two,  don’t just stuff your macro lenses in your bags after Lembeh.  Keep the close up lenses at hand when diving in Bunaken and you will be pleasantly surprised with the critters you will encounter!

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Underwater Tribe - Diving, Underwater Photography, and Adventure Travel in Bali and Beyond

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