Buzz’s comments on his Sulawesi trip


I had concerns about Going to Indonesia.  It was on the state department’s do not go list, but after reading the detailed reports, the information on northern Sulawesi was not as alarming as most of the rest of the country.  Fortunately, I was able to get a direct flight to Manado from Singapore so I did have to worry about being stranded in some part of the country that is full of anti-American sentiment.  I had heard the diving was exceptional and wanted to go.


I had a choice of a land based Dive resort, Aggressor, or Ocean Rover.  I had been on the Ocean Rover before and found it to be a very comfortable live aboard.  The Ocean Rover offered a 10 day itinerary, the Aggressor was only 7.  I prefer the convenience of a live aboard.  If I was going to spend 2+ days getting there, I wanted a longer itinerary, so I picked the Ocean Rover.  (The Ocean Rover does not travel to Sulawesi anymore).


I had frequent flyer tickets on Cathay Pacific to Singapore.  I needed to spend a night in Singapore and then caught my Silk Air flight to Manado.  I stayed at the Grand Mercure Roxy hotel because it was near the airport, had airport transfers and was reasonably priced.  It is not near the center of town, but since I was going to be jet lagged, I only wanted a comfortable place that would minimize the effort to get back and forth to the airport.


I selected Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) as the place to stay a couple of days in Sulawesi before getting on the Ocean Rover.  After traveling half way around the world, I always spend a few days in the local time zone before diving.  KBR picked us up at the Manado airport and transported us over to the resort on LemBeh Strait. KBR was comfortable and the food was good.  The divers there were happy.  If I go back to Sulawesi, I would seriously consider staying at the KBR.  All of my favorite dive sites except the town pier were very close to that hotel, so I might stay some of the time at another land based operator over near the town pier.


The ocean Rover picked us up at KBR and we had a great 10 day trip.  Some of the guests were disappointed that the Ocean Rover was not traveling to some of the northern sites listed on the Ocean Rover web site.  The captain did not want to go because of security concerns with some of the local tribes.  As it turned out the weather would have made diving there impossible anyway. 


The diving was exceptional and I am glad I went.  Enjoy the streaming pictures, there are lots of critters that I had never seen before.  For individual pictures click here.


Before you choose to go, be very careful about the security situation in Indonesia.  After I returned the situation has gotten worse – Rumor has reported that even the secret service had a close call when they were preparing for a presidential trip. 


Also I would seriously consider a private dive guide.  They are not too expensive and they are very good at finding the really neat critters.  I could see the critters when we were diving in a group but unfortunately too many times the area around the critters was disturbed due to the poor buoyancy control of some of the group members.  The resulting silt in the water ruined many pictures.  (I tried cleaning my pictures up the best I could but the silt has reduced their quality substantially). A local dive guide, Nelson Uada, that I would recommend can be reached at:


More information on KBR click here.

Click for map for Sulawesi