Mandarin fish are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and colourful fish found throughout the pacific and we are lucky to see many of them at our Two Fish Divers locations in Indonesia. Taking a Mandarin Dive gives the best opportunity to see these beautifully coloured fish which have a personality all of their own. Last week we did a magical mandarin dive in Bunaken.
Heading out at 16:45, we had a beautiful view of the island as the afternoon sun starts to dip towards the western horizon over the distinctive cone shape of the neighbouring, dormant volcano, Manado Tua. This is the likeliest time to spot the mandarin fish starting to brave the fringes of their branching coral fortress, where they spend most of the day hiding from predators. As we sit at 7meters on a sandy bottom and relax into the nightly show, the mandarin fish begin to follow each other around the coral, sizing each other up and finding the right partner for a dance. After waiting patiently for 10 or 15 minutes we are usually treated to the first performances by these curious little fish, sometimes we see dozens of them, as they court with a mate, rise up out of the coral for the final spins of a pirouette before darting back into the reef to do it all again.
Synchiropus splendidus is the latin name for the mandarin fish and they are a type of dragonet fish but look similar to a goby. Mandarin fish are reef dwellers, preferring sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs. While they are slow-moving and fairly common within their range, they are not easily seen due to their bottom-feeding habit and their small size (3-6 cm). They feed primarily on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
So, if you aren’t lucky enough to have spotted these little guys on any of your previous dives, let us make it easy for you when you stay at Two Fish Divers Bunaken.
That is what Tobias did with us last week and was lucky enough to see 6 mating couples right in front of his eyes, and plenty more individuals scurrying through the branching coral. Tian, his guide, loves taking the guests on their first mandarin dive at Two Fish Divers Bunaken. PADI Divemaster Trainee Alex has been working hard organising Project AWARE cleanups, on land and sea, and treated himself to a cheeky Mandarin Dive too. Brice and Mila have enjoyed helping to clear the mangroves of rope and plastic debris while they were here on their diving holiday, thanks for the effort guys. Simon brought his girlfriend, Milda, all the way from Denmark to learn to dive with the PADI Open Water Course in Bunaken and she did great! Simon was glad to do some fundiving with Geraldo while Milda learnt, and then they buddied up for a few dives after the course.
Also this week we have had some guest discovering scuba diving for the first time, and even going from PADI Discover Scuba Diving to PADI Scuba Diver having never dived before. It is an easy place to fall in love with diving and, if you have the time, doing a 4 day Open Water Course or even the 2 day Scuba Diver Course like Eileen and Niel is a great way to take those first fin kicks into a potentially life changing new hobby. Benny from Hong Kong come to discover Bunaken’s diving having tried a couple of times already and avid snorkelers Mel and Cathy came to see what they could do with us too and while Mel supervised from the surface, Cathy took her first breaths underwater and was amazed! Next trip 2 new PADI Open Water divers? Fins Crossed! Our guest Rhonwyn leaves today after 12 days of diving with Kres and being absolutely blown away by the incredible walls of Bunaken and Adam and Bozena say goodbye to their guide Jecky after nearly 2 weeks today too. Thanks for coming guys and see you next time!
As Project AWARE week comes to an end we would like to thank all of our guests, staff and trainees/interns who have made an amazing effort cleaning the beach every day, researching different types of waste that we have in our mangroves and beaches and finding ways to effectively remove this waste from the environment. With an underwater clean up too, the awareness of the problem is as key to solving it as just picking it up. Look out for a blog on the weeks activities soon.
Would you like to join us in Bunaken for a mandarin dive? Are you planning your next diving trip and want to see phenomenal marine life or take your next level of PADI Course? It’s all possible in Bunaken!
For more information or to make a reservation, please fill in the contact form below and we will get right back to you.