Divers may choose not to stay on one of the islands within the marine park but instead to stay at a Manado city dive resort.
There are several local dive sites close by. Visibility is not as good as Bunaken and litter in the water can be off putting. But these dive sites offer some amazing macro diving. They have more in common with Lembeh Strait dive sites than Bunaken diving. They are often dived as the last dive of a day trip on the return from Bunaken back to the resort. They make a nice change from the wall diving in the marine park. Several of the Manado resorts have good house reefs like Murex and Celebes.
Manado dive sites
Black Rock (also known as DJ Point) is one of the most popular dives in the area. The reef consists of rock and sand patches a long way removed from the beautiful corals of Bunaken. But searching around the rocks will reveal a wonderful array of critters. Ribbon eels can be seen poking up out of rubble holes. Scorpion leaf fish sway gently back and forth in the current. Frogfish are also brilliantly disguised, so are ornate ghost pipefish. A keen eye will be able to find many different types of shrimp including Coleman’s shrimp and Emperor shrimp.
Pygmy seahorse can even be seen here. Crocodile fish can be found in the sand as can flounder. Maximum depth is 25m. Currents are weak. This dive site is suitable for all levels of diver.
At Critter Point coral reef balls have been placed to promote coral growth. Frogfish and leaffish are common as are mandarin fish and pipefish.
The nearby house reefs of Tasik Ria and Lumba Lumba have good hard coral and fish life.Ornate ghost pipefish can be found.
Further south is Poopoh dive site that is excellent for critter hunting. It’s a black sand slope similar to Lembeh Strait dive sites. There is very little coral. Hairy frogfish, scorpionfish and even Rhinopias can be found here. Maximum depth is 25m.
The Molas Wreck sits in 39m of water with it’s shallowest part at 25m. It was a Dutch cargo ship that sank in 1942. Groupers have made their home in the hull. Trevally school over the wreck. Moray eels, lion fish and scorpionfish can be found over the wreck.