Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
Join Undercurrent on Facebook
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of Celebes Divers/Mapia Resort in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

May, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Carl Scott, TX, USA
Contributor   (16 reports)
Report Number 499
Subscribers: Submit Your Reader Report Here
Subscribe Now Questions?
Subscribers can send this reviewer an email directly from here.
Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Thailand, Belize, Cozumel, Cayman Islands, St. Croix, Costa Rica,
Gulf of Mexico
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Celebes allowed us to dive our own profiles, with the only guidelines being
that we follow the general plan of the dive (swim in the right direction). 
They were quite flexible, essentially allowing us to determine how deep we
dived, how long we stayed down, etc.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Let me make this clear - the subject matter was endless!  I shot over 600
frames in 5 days of diving (16 dives).  However, the boats did not have a
rinse tank or bucket, even though one was requested after the first day. 
Given the light crowd on board (3 divers and crew), there was plenty of
room for gear, and they encouraged the use of bottled water (there was
always plenty on board) to give equipment a quick rinse.  The owners are
avid photographers, and, in fact, one of them brought his camera along 2
days to dive with us.  Apparently, they don't value an immediate rinse in
fresh water after a dive. There are equipment rinse tanks on shore, but not
in proximity of the dock.  Given the general level of service, however, I'm
sure that a rinse bucket would have been provided, had one been requested
prior to boarding (I never remembered, either!).
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
Let me say this again - subject matter for photography was endless.  The
marine life here is amazingly abundant, far exceeding numbers that I've
seen at any Caribbean destination I've visited.  Bunaken Marine Park is
protected from the trade winds by the high (3,000+ feet) mountains of North
Sulawesi, so the seas are glassy smooth each morning, not much different in
the afternoons.  While a decent current was encountered on one dive, all
others were nearly absent of any noticable current, making diving a breeze.
 All but a couple of the dive sites are walls, with the edge of the reef at
about 20' and sloping gently upward towards shore - perfect for a very long
safety stop among thousands of tropicals at the end of each dive.  These
reefs were as healthy as I've seen anywhere.

Celebes Divers is owned in partnership with Mapia Resort, and one of the
partners is a practicing marine biologist (not just a former biologist, but
one who currently works with Italian universities), who really knows his
stuff.  Not only can this guy not be stumped on the scientific names of any
local species, but he provides as much detail as you want to hear about
their histories, habits, etc.

They offer day trips across the island to Lembeh Strait, which is worth the
hour and a half van ride to the dock for anyone who is interested in seeing
creatures that are very rare, or absent, in other destinations, including
the pygmy seahorse, ghost pipefish, beautiful nudibranchs, etc.

Mapia is a rather simple resort, with cottages made of wood and furniture
made of bamboo.  Nothing fancy, but certainly adequate and comfortable.  I
have only a couple of beefs.  The bathrooms are not air conditioned, and
there always seems to be one or two mosquitoes in there.  The provide
insect spray, if you want to use it, though.  Also, they don't pick up the
trash that washes ashore on the beach.  This seems to be an endemic
practice, judging from the surrounding areas.  The restaurant is open air,
but always a comfortable seaside atmosphere.  The food wouldn't quite rate
gourmet, but it was always a good home-cooked meal, and there was plenty of
it.  Breakfast is toast and fruit, with cofee and juices, but the cook was
quick to accommodate me with an omelet each morning, upon request.  The
typical dinner consisted of a combination of Italian and Indonesian dishes,
with a choice between two different main courses.  Nothing I ate was a
throwback.  Dinner is served family style in 4 courses, providing a nice
atmosphere for sharing stories, etc.

Service was second to none.  All staff were eager to accommodate any
request to the best of their abilities, and smiles were plentiful.  One
thing that I enjoyed was the constant singing of the staff while working,
resting, etc.  They love song, and they never sing out of key.  Of course,
English isn't spoken very well by most, so the words are a bit incomplete
when they sing popular American songs (their favorite).

Incidentally, if you want to pack a little lighter, they offer prompt and
good laundry service, so you can bring just enough clothes to get you there
and through a couple of days at the resort.  All laundry left in the basket
will be washed and delivered back to your room before you return from the
day's diving.

In closing, it amazes me that more Americans don't make the journey to
visit this diving paradise.  The price is right, and it's definitely worth
the trip.
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 856 dive reviews of Indonesia and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Bookmark and Share

Other dive reports on Celebes Divers

All Indonesia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Indonesia
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

Featured Links from Our Sponsors
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Island Dreams Travel
Island Dreams Travel
Island Dreams specializes in dive travel to Indonesia. We've dived it many times ourselves, and stand ready to customize your Indonesia scuba diving adventure.
Reef & Rainforest, Let our experience be your guide -- Reef and Rainforest
Reef & Rainforest
is an agency for travelers that scuba dive. Looking for Biodiversity, critters, Komodo, Raja Ampat, temples? We specialize in adventures to Indonesia.

Want to assemble your own collection of Indonesia reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

Want to get more articles like these and
other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email?
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get our free monthly Online Update, and a sample issue!

NEW! Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account |
| Travel Index | Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Forums | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues | Login | Join | Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2016 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.