The Indonesian town of Gorontalo is a one hour flight away from Manado city in Tomini Bay, Sulawesi. You may pass through Gorontalo on their way to the Togian Islands. However if you stop over for a few days and dive Gorantalo you’ll discover some splendid diving that is only now beginning to receive international attention.
If you want to get away from the diving crowds, this is the place to go. There are over a dozen dive sites charted so far. Healthy reefs have impressive marine life, including several newly identified species and wonderful macro critters. Dolphins are often seen in the bay on the way to and from dive sites.
Visibility is good and conditions are normally calm with mild currents. The diving season is November to April.
Gorontalo dive sites
Sentinels. A series of pinnacles along a sloping reef with impressive table corals, soft corals and sea fans. Reef fish include triggerfish, snapper, fusilier and angelfish. Look out for lyre tail grouper, orange back wrasse and solar wrasse which are endemic to the area. Look on coral ledges for red fire gobies and purple fire gobies plus the rare pink eyed goby.
Honeycomb. A deep wall dive covered with soft corals, gorgonian seafans, sponges and crinoids. Napoleon wrasse are seen here as can long nose emperors and schools of triggerfish. There is a tunnel 15m and a cavern at 20m that is home to scorpionfish, lionfish, moray eels and much more.
Traffic Jam is another very fishy wall dive. Healthy soft and hard corals plus sponges and seafans are home to masses of juvenile fish as well as nudibranchs and crustaceans. This is a good place to spot the tiny Coleman’s coral shrimp.
Japanese Cargo Wreck. Sank in 1942 after catching fire and then hitting the reef when the captain tried to run her aground. The 50 metre long wreck now lies in 47m of water with the propeller at the stern the shallowest part in 25m. The wreck is covered with encrusting sponge, seawhips and seafans. Grouper, scorpionfish and lionfish have all made their home on the wreck. On the sloping reef you’ll see more scattered wreck debris plus patches of hard coral and anemones with their resident anemone fish. Reef fish include wrasse, sweetlips, cardinalfish and fusliers.