Scuba Diving in Bunaken and Manado – Octopi, pygmy seashorses and harlequin crabs

In Indonesia, Scuba Diving by Jaclynn Seah2 Comments

Diving in Manado is great for anyone who loves underwater photography – check out my dive logs in Bunaken as well as Lembeh Straits. We were back diving Manado and Bunaken after our Lembeh dives, which gave us an extra hour to sleep in =) Perhaps after the plethora of macro life in Lembeh we were a little spoiled, but there were still some great discoveries here, including the pretty harlequin crab, and how we almost came across a mimic octopus!

Dive 12/16 (#71)
14th Nov 2012
9.45am (58 mins)
Bunaken – Mandolin

This is a shallow reef which drops off into a steep wall dive. Lots of nudibranches here, though the highlight would be the turtle and large school of jacks that we saw here!

M saw a turtle go by while descending and managed some close-up shots!

This pretty purple thing is a hairy squat lobster. super cute!

Spot-face moray baring its teeth in disdain at my intrusion. Kept my distance nonetheless, didn’t want to lose a finger

I like this nudi shot – the focus on its backside flower (my term for its external gills)

School of Jacks

shallow reef where we did our safety stop, shallow enough that there was really great sun lighting

The volcano of Manado Tua in the distance. It was a lovely sunny day

Dive 13/16 (#72)
14th Nov 2012
12.18am (67 mins)
Manado – Garden Point

A similar type of dive to the first site where a shallow reef dropped into a steep wall. Mild currents so we could drift right along.

This Randall’s Shrimp Goby apparently is very skittish – it was under and overhang and I used my zoom for this so it wouldn’t disappear

More nudi backsides. Not too many things here so had time to practice on lots of nudis

Bubble Coral Shrimp so transparent you can see right through it… are those guts or eggs?

Spider crab, more spider than crab

Another view of the spider crab

unusually coloured nudis. I like this framing, like train carriages in the station

balding orang utan crab is rather patchy

Broadclub Cuttlefish we chanced upon!

This is a shot without any zoom – the cuttlefish was avoiding my fellow divers that I don’t think it saw me behind it!

Slightly hairier orang utan crab, check out its beady red eyes

how many nudis can you see?

I like this unusual looking nudi, not very common at all

Dive 14/16 (#73)
14th Nov 2012
3.33pm (79 mins)
Manado – Open Sea Point

This is a sandy sloping reef, a spot in the open water away from the land. Not too much here either, but the most significant thing here was the harlequin crab that we found, and that I got stung once again by fire coral, surrounding the area where the harlequin shrimp chose to hide.

Don’t know what this is but it’s pretty =)

This nudi is also funny, kinda like orange peel. Perhaps my favourite nudi!

Not a nudi but a flatworm

More transparent shrimp

Hermit crab! I like its beady eyes

The elusive harlequin shrimp! Love its colouring. There was a smaller mate about half its size that hid too well, this was the bigger one which is female

Front view! observe its paddle like front legs and the petal like mouth area

sun rays shining through the surface

Sunset at the end of Day 5

Dive 15/16 (#74)
15th Nov 2012
8.58am (55 mins)
Manado – Aba Point

Last day of diving! Sadness. We would only do 2 dives, stopping around lunch time so we had enough rest time before our flight the next day. Aba Point is a shallow reef with a sandy bottom and a short wall area. I managed to catch 3 eagle rays in the distance, but they were too far for me to get a picture, and I was pretty out of breath by the time I swam over and saw them! Other than that, more macro for practice… i managed decent pygmy seahorse pictures this time around on my own!

Sandy sloping bottom

The xeno crab, perched on wire coral

Spotted hermit crab was quite large

Pygmy seahorse! This one was pregnant so a little larger than usual

yay i like this shot!

very close-up shot of pygmy seahorse

snake eel with goofy looking protrusions at its mouth hiding in the sand

Dive 16/16 (#75)
15th Nov 2012
11.15am (101 mins)
Manado – Posi Posi 1

We did our night dive here previously, sandy bottom with dead coral but we weren’t looking for mandarin fish this time around. Some creatures here, and apparently a mimic octopus that refused to resurface sadly, which would have been a really great way to cap off the dive. Despite no mimics, we did run into 3-4 other octopi and little cuttlefish so that was fun.

Very hairy orangutan crab

i call this nudibranch the ‘tron’ nudi

Napolean snake eel has really pretty skin colouring and texture

This little cuttlefish was about the size of your palm!

starting to turn yellow when it got a bit nervous

It turned white almost instantly when it came across an octopus emerging from the sand! See the octopus on the left side?

Octopus on the sand

Floating octopus descending onto the sand

bottom view

making a run for it!

Tumbling in the surf



  1. Great pictures! Manado is probably one of the more underrated places to visit but it looks so beautiful 🙂

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