The Bunaken Marine Park promises many awesome marine life encounters. It’s hard to “guarantee” what you will see but we often lose count of the number of turtles we spot while diving, our staggering coral walls are a given and the vibrancy and health of our reefs flourishes year on year.
When diving in Bunaken it’s definitely a case of “expect the unexpected”, everything and anything is possible in the waters around our island! Our walls drop down to incredible depths and the channel that separates Bunaken from the mainland of Sulawesi is over a kilometer deep in places. These phenomenal ocean trenches result in up currents which bring to shallower depths marine species that would otherwise remain deep. The waters are also part of the migratory path of some species which we see seasonally. Here are some of our favorite “unexpected” but relatively frequently seen marine species:
Bunaken sits on the migratory path of these whales (Physeter macrocephalus). We are extremely fortunate to see family groups of sperm whales basking at the surface! The best months for sightings are November and April.
These are a frequent sighting around the island where there are large resident pods. The best time to see spinner dolphins is early in the morning when they are breaching the surface, we often see them jumping alongside the boat as we travel to and from the mainland.
This is a relatively small species of whale which is often misidentified as a dolphin. It’s most distinct characteristic is its hook-shaped dorsal fin and dark body coloration. Pilot whales live in pods and there is a large resident population in the marine park.
Also known as “sea cows”, dugongs are often seen in the shallow water where they come to feed on the seagrass. Dugongs pull the seagrass out from the root and leave behind sandy “paths” where they have eaten the grass away. Dugongs are an exceptionally shy species and will move to a different area if they sense divers – so a sighting is extra special!
It’s true! We have spotted orcas in the Bunaken Marine Park – these black and white whales pass through the park while migrating.
These are just a handful of the special species which we see here. While sightings of whales cannot be guaranteed they are incredibly special moments when we get to share them with our guests.
Would you like to visit us in Bunaken? Did you know that Lembeh is just an easy transfer away from our Bunaken Island Resort? Why not combine incredible reefs with muck diving in one trip? No flights, no long journeys and no hassle! Lembeh is known as the critter capital of the world and we see rare and unusual marine species on a daily basis – check out our favourite critters here.
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