I usually keep physical dive logs that record where I’ve been, how I dived and what I saw on the dive trip as well, which is arguably the most important thing for me to remember. On this particular dive trip to Manado in November 2012, I ended up with some pretty amazing photos, partly because it’s a well-known macro heaven of weird wonderful creatures, and also because I was diving with a whole bunch of underwater photography enthusiasts and experts so you can’t not level up, even if yours is the dinkiest camera in the bunch!
We spent about 4 days diving around Bunaken Island and off the west coast of Manado where our dive resort Cocotinos was located. These dive logs come from Days 1 and 2 – you can see the other 2 days in Bunaken/Manado, or check out the awesome macro shots I got in the famous Lembeh Straits!
Manado Mainland – Posi Posi 2
This was a sandy bottomed site – visibility wasn’t the highest and it got a little dark towards the end of the dive. We did manage to encounter a number of interesting creatures on our check out dive, which was definitely a good way to start this trip.
Bunaken – Fukui
Day 2 of diving started of fantastic as we came across a huge pod of dolphins en route to Bunaken! There were at least 50 of them in the water, swimming around, behind and under the boat.
The water was very calm at this site, almost flat and the terrain was sandy with coral. The highlight perhaps was the rather big giant clams that we saw here, but other than that, nothing particularly outstanding in terms of fish – usual schools of fish, nudibranches and a weird stone fish thing that hopped at me.
Bunaken – Lekuan 1
This was a wall dive – clear blue waters and we saw a total of 3 of turtles on this dive, including a really big one that was resting on a rock. Eventually after it had enough of us taking pictures of it, it swam away. Lots of sea fans and coral and nudibranches on the wall.
Manado Mainland – Gabet Point
This was a sandy bottomed area with pockets of coral scattered around the area. Mostly nudibranches on this dive, but we did see quite a pygmy sea horse that swam around.
Manado Mainland – Posi Posi 1
We did a night dive to check out the mandarin fish specifically. From pix you’d imagine they would be larger, but they were really only about the length of your thumb perhaps? We were told not to shine our torches at first as it would scare them away, so we had to rely on the guides and their expertise and timing in showing us the mandarin fish. I managed to see them do a bit of the mating dance but didn’t get any pictures. They can be found in dead coral, and spent most of their time crawling around inside so taking pictures was not easy.
here’s a video from youtube that shows you the mating dance (from around :20)
Didn’t see that much else, though we spotted a giant mantis shrimp hiding in the sand. It didn’t seem like much, but we were warned against getting too close as their giant claws are so strong they can crack camera casing or injure you!
Check out this BBC video that shows you what lies beneath the sand!