Posted by: Siladen Resort & Spa | July 27, 2012

The Cheetahs of the deep

Normal sunny day in Siladen, a mirror-shaped ocean, light blue sky and the guests´faith on our guides and captains to spot dolphins. That´s why  they joined our Dolphin Tour!

And then…something in the water, black, slim like a dolphin, but bigger, robust like a Killer whale, but smaller, for sure something different moving in the deep blue.WHALES!!

Hundreds of Globicephala Macrorynchus Gray!

From Latin´ Globus´ (= globe) and Greek ´Kephalos` (= head), ´Macro ( =large) and ´Rynchos´(= snout) these cetaceans are better known as Short-Fin Pilot Whale  or ‘Cheetahs of the Deep’  for the high speed pursuits of giant squids at depths of hundreds of metres. ( The longest dive recorded is 15´range 610m).

It´s not only squids they feed on, but also octopuses and fishes, especially tunas.

Pilot whales use mysterious hunting techniques. In general, seems they do everything together in groups. They  practically feed, rest, wander and breathe synchronically and while hunting they form parallel swimming lines till up to 4km, the so-called “Chorus Lines”, from the sound they emit.

The animals take several breaths before sounding and, like dolphins, it´s possible to hear them properly in the water when they are close.

The temptetion to go close to these marvellous cetaceans was too strong for our guest to content themself on observing from the boat only.

So we slided into the water, followed the sound of the famous “Chorus Line” and we were so lucky we could spent an amazing hour swimming in that crystalline ocean’s piece with them!

Class: Mammalia

Order: Cetacea

Family : Delphinidae

Length: 3.5 to 6.5m

Weight: 1- 1,4 t

Peculiary: bulbous head

Distribution: open and deep temperate to tropical oceans’ waters.



Posted by: Heini | January 28, 2012

Lekuan 3, perfect hiding place for bobtail squid

Bobtail squid, tiny night time creature is close relative to cuttle fish and they also look alike very much. Microscopic bobtail squid changes color from blue to green and then back to camouflage brown like the sandy areas in Lekuan 3.

Bobtail squid is seen in Lekuan 3 and sometimes on the Sulawesi mainland mainly on night dives. Siladen’s excellent dive guides can find this miniature creature so divers can take pictures and just cherish it’s beauty.

During day time bobtail squids are hidden in the sand or mud and in the night time they come out to hunt. They have light-emitting organs so they actually glow in the dark. Wow.

Picture from Wikipedia.

Posted by: Heini | January 16, 2012

Incredible Raymond’s!

Couple of days ago dive at Raymond’s point, Bunaken, was stunning. We started the dive with my Open Water student and with the great visibility the dive just felt good from the beginning.

During the dive we had couple of white tips in quite shallow depths, one huge eagle ray on top of the reef and another smaller one next to the wall. So many turtles we lost count. Incredible views and not too bad current.

My student had doubts about diving because she never felt comfortable in the water before. We took our time to work on the basics little longer than usually until she felt safe and comfortable in the water. And what a reward it was for her when we went down and all these amazing fish came to tell her that the dive course was definitely worth it!

You should have seen her eyes after this wonderful dive. That she made the right decision to fight her fears and do something out of the comfort zone. I felt so happy also. One more happy diver in the world to spread the word about the underwater world.


Posted by: Heini | January 10, 2012

Siladen resort staff enjoying the reefs

Many staff members of Siladen Resort and Spa are interested of diving and we have been out on the reefs lately doing dive courses with them. Many if not all of these amazing people have been living on the islands whole their life but diving wasn’t an option before.

But now the dream has come true! It has been so nice to see the local people to be able to enjoy the amazing reefs around the islands like the visitors who come all around the world.

Indonesia has it’s fare share of coral reefs and Bunaken National Park is one of the most amazing place to go diving. It makes me so happy to see how the local residents are enjoying the underwater world like we are.

Think about if you had the opportunity to go diving in Siladen house reef on your day off? What a lucky people they are:). Well, maybe on your next holiday….?

Have you planned any diving holidays for the year 2012?

Posted by: Heini | December 29, 2011

What a year 2011!

This year here in Bunaken National Marine Park has been wonderful. We have had visits of whale shark, many eagle rays, thresher sharks, had great visibility, visitors from far away, dugongs, blue-ringed octopus and other special marine creatures.

And don’t forget the beautiful macro video Domenico shot here relier this year. Take a look at the video one more time and go back to the underwater memories of year 2011…

Many divers around the world came to Siladen island in year 2011 to explore underwater paradise. We miss all of you guys and hope to see you again in the future! Who knows what the year 2012 will bring with it.

Thank you all for making this year unforgettable!

Happy New Year 2012!

From Siladen diving center staff:

Heini, Simone, Arter, Danny, Delli, Jemmy, Jimbris, Robby, Kress, Patriot, Sakty, Vence,   Gaspar, Hengki, Jendri, Jemy, Jhony, Yoppi and Noldy

Posted by: Heini | December 22, 2011

Schools of spadefish

Spadefish at Molas Ship Wreck

Huge spadefish, also called batfish, are seen almost every dive site in Siladen, Bunaken and Manado Tua dive sites. In Fukui and Tanjung Kopi massive schools of spadefish are gathered together like a one organism, moving around as one. Manado Ship Wreck also has many big white batfish guarding the sunken ship. And in the walls spadefish are often seen alone or in a group of two or three.

Yesterday we saw couple of big batfish in Bunaken Mandolin while doing a deep dive in Advanced Open Water Course. In the depth of 28 meters these beautiful fish were sharing the reef with pump head parrot fish and thousands of butterflyfish. But it is not uncommon to see spadefish in the deep depth because spadefish is known to swim to depths of 500 meters! The morning was beautiful and the we had absolutely wonderrful visibility. Some of the divers saw an eagle ray as well, our group missed that one.

Juvenile batfish are amazingly beautiful little fish which have excellent camouflage. They can mimic leaves, crinoids and even flatworms. Juveniles float on the surface with the current. They settle in lagoons or along beaches on sand in small schools.

Juveniles are seen here mainly in the mainland dive sites such as Kampung Baru, but sometimes a lucky diver can spot them in the reefs like in dive site Alung Banua Lagoon. Juvenile batfish are very common in the aquarium trade because their beauty, but this fish grows to an adult very fast. The adult batfish can grow to 50 cm length!

If you google spadefish and look at the pictures, it’s sad to realize that almost every other picture is some sport fisher taking the picture with his or her catch. Spadefish are popular catch to many sport fishers because it fights back when you try to pull it to the boat. It’s the challenge.

But here in Bunaken National Marine Park spadefish can be in peace because sport fishing and catching fish for aquariums are not allowed in the marine park.

Source of information Helmut Debelius: Asia Pacific Reef Guide and Wikipedia.

Picture: Heini H.


Posted by: Heini | December 16, 2011

The coconut octopus and other muck dive creatures

Coconut octopus at Bolung

I love watching Coconut octopus making his nest in coconut shell, collecting sea shells and other marine stuff when decorating his home. This marine creature is very intelligent, this octopus knows how to use tools and his way of carrying his portable home everywhere is amazing.

Little time ago I was diving in dive site called Bolung, which is excellent muck diving site in Sulawesi mainland. Many frogfish are often seen there, hairy, juveniles, painted… you name it! Bolung is a white sand slope where you can find many rare and interesting critters. But only if your eyes are good, because many of these animals have excellent ability of camouflage. Good thing is that Siladen diving center’s dive guides have excellent eyes and no animal can hide from them!

Many people who come to Siladen Resort and Spa for a diving holiday they travel to this part of the world to see the amazing coral reefs around the islands. But what is usually a big surprise for visitors, that in very close distance (15 minutes by dive boat) there is excellent, world class muck diving as well.

Sea horses, cuttle fish, sea moths, mimic octopus etc. in Kampung Baru, coconut octopus, glass shrimps, frog fish etc. in Bolung, pygmy sea horses, nudibranches, ghost pipe fish etc. in Budo. The list goes on and on.

Muck dives are also excellent if you dive with camera. Specially macro lenses are excellent is this are like Domenico showed us earlier. Link to the macro video here.

Read more about coconut octopus here.


Posted by: Heini | December 9, 2011

The End Of The Line


Over fishing is a major world wide problem which is going to have an impact to all our lives. Some scientists say the oceans will be empty before year 2050.

Our responsibility as divers is to spread the word about over fishing. See this film, buy it on dvd, spread the word in internet, Facebook. Tell people what is going on. Select your seafood wisely. Maybe become a vegetarian. Vote for the people who are interested in environment and sustainable fishing.

The End Of The Line web page has listed some ways how to spread the word and what other things we can do to save the oceans.

Check the web page here. We can make a difference, it’s not too late. Yet.

Posted by: Heini | November 27, 2011

Rainy season? I don’t think so!

It is supposed to be rainy season here in North Sulawesi but the weather past weeks has been absolutely great! Sun is shining almost every day, some afternoons we have little bit of rain to make the nature happy. If you are planning your holiday, the good thing about Bunaken National Park is that you can travel here all around the year!

Every day Siladen Diving Center’s dive boat goes out to the Marine Park. This week we have had amazing dives around the islands. Couple of days ago one group saw manta ray in Fukui, yesterday we were spoiled with sharks, eagle rays and barracudas.

I have been here in Bunaken National Marine Park now over a year. Still I get excited on every dive, there is always possibility to find something new. Like yesterday in Sachiko dive guide Danny found a nudibranch we have never seen before.

I was doing Advanced Open Water so I didn’t have my camera with me. The nudibranch was pregnant, huge (about 12 cm) and green. Some thing had happened to it like it happens to frog fish when they grow very big: it is hard to see the edges anymore, the whole animal becomes blurred and unfocused. Very strange and still fascinating.

Look in National Geographic web page some amazing pictures of nudibranches.

Do you have some great underwater pictures? Share them with us in our Flikr group.

Posted by: Heini | November 19, 2011

Diving with Dugong!

Dugong, picture Wikipedia

Yesterday Siladen dive boat left to Ron’s point, Bunaken, to see some big fish. But the divers didn’t expect to see a dugong, beautiful sea mammal.

Ron’s point and Fukui in Bunaken are the best dive sites to spot dugong, this amazingly beautiful, little funny-looking, smiling mammal. I have also seen dugong while snorkeling couple of times in dive site Pangalisan, east side of Bunaken island. These amazing relatives of sea cows come to the sea grass area to eat on high tide. Sometimes people are lucky to see this animal from the boat too.

This rare, almost extinct animal finds Bunaken National Marine Park as a peaceful home. Dugong means mermaid in Bahasa Indonesia and it’s closest relative, Steller’s sea cow, is already hunted to extinction. Dugongs can live up to 70 years or more and because of it’s slow rate of reproductions dugongs are also very vulnerable to extinction.

My best experience here in Siladen was when I saw dugong-mom with her calf. The most unbelievable sight I have ever seen.

Picture of the dugong from Wikipedia.


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