Manado Tua, or Old Manado in English, is an island that forms the Bunaken-Manado Tua Marine National Park together with the islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Mantehage and Nain. This approximately 89,065 acre national park is located not far from the city of Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi province. Waters in this region has spectacular underwater panorama, so it is no wonder that this place hosted the first World Ocean Conference ever in May 2009 and diving in Bunaken is every diver’s dream.
The island of Manado Tua is different compared with other islands in Bunaken-Manado Marine National Park. It stands out quite literally as it is a magnificent extinct volcano with an imposing crater that towers over the bay. The majestic perfect cone of the extinct volcano that formed the island is capped with a rainforest on its summit, offering a panoramic view. Around the island are underwater plateaus sloping from 5 meters to 30 meters, fringed by vertical coral walls plunging at 25 to 50 meters down, and large caves with hanging coral reefs. The local community of Manado Tua has been actively preserving damaged reefs that became a haven for varieties of small fishes with the help of the local government.
To get to Manado Tua Island, you could order a flight from various airlines such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Batavia Air or some other domestic airlines that operate flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali to Manado and Makassar. From the city of Manado, you can continue the journey by boat for an hour to Manado Tua Island.
Being Indonesia’s first marine park in 1989, fishing and coral collection in Manado Tua is punishable by law. This in turn has made its undersea vista truly a sight to behold and diving in Manado Tua is one dive that must be done while being in the area. Manado Tua has several dive sites such as Panggulingan, Muka Gereja, Negri and Tanjung Kopi. The dive sites around Manado Tua have steep vertical winding walls with many cracks, canyons and small caves.
Located in the Eastern part of Manado Tua Island, Panggulingan dive site starts off with a slope going down to 30 meters and then continues to a vertical wall with a large reef flat rising to about 5 meters. Large Schools of big sized Barracudas, Batfish Napoleon Wrasse, schooling Banner fish and Butterfly fish can easily be found in this area.
Muka Gereja site is exactly in front of a Manado Tua Church. The waters around Muka Gereja are generally calm and offer excellent visibility with moderate to strong currents. It features an interesting, beautifully covered wall, with big barrel sponges, some of which are almost 1 meter in diameter.
Negeri site is situated towards the east of Muka Gereja. The currents are very much depending on the direction and the strength of the wind. With the same great visibility, there is the possibility to see Silvertip Sharks, on its sandy slopes around the 30 meters mark. Around the wall, which is decorated with a huge variety of beautiful soft corals, resident habitants like the Banded Pipe Fish, Angelfish and other Schooling fish are almost certain to be seen.
Often has strong current, a depth of 15-25 meters and average visibility of 30 meters, Tanjung Kopi site is the place where many types of Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Triggerfish, and sometimes Blacktip and Hammerhead sharks are seen. There is also an abundance of beautiful soft coral, Gorgonians and Whip Corals.