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Dive Review of Eco Divers/Minahasa Lagoon in
Indonesia/Manado

Eco Divers/Minahasa Lagoon , Oct, 2012,

by James Castanino, DC, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 6741.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Philippines, Fiji, all over Caribbean, Florida, Northeast US.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minute time limit on dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments First, the bottom line: Minahasa Resort is very nice, and the diving at Bunaken Island is excellent. I do not, however, recommend Eco Divers and was disappointed repeatedly with the (lack of) service and attitude on the boat, as well as the boat itself.

Good to know: There are two dive operators currently working out of Minahasa Resort, which is located about one hour west of Manado by car. The resort has its own dive operation in addition to Eco Divers. These operations book divers separately; it is also possible to book via Minahasa Resort directly but you may have to specify which operation you want. This is the first time I have ever seen this arrangement and it was not apparent to me until I arrived. (Incidentally, I heard positive reviews from other guests of Minahasa's own dive operation).

Also good to know, Bunaken Island is a 90-minute boat ride from Minahasa. This is partially attributable to the incredibly slow dive boats utilized by these guys. But, it is an all-day trip (worth it!) and I recommend making 3 dives there if you are out there.

The diving at Bunaken, which offers wall dives, sea mounts, and traditional coral reefs, is very different from the muck diving around the resort. I preferred Bunaken, but it is nice to be able to both. That said, you probably want to check out Lembeh for the best muck diving. You can combine Minahasa and partner resort into one trip, as many do (I didn't have time, unfortunately).

Why do I dive Eco Divers a low rating?
1) I found the crew to be lazy, lethargic and generally disinterested in their jobs. They did not seem to enjoy what they were doing and it showed. One of our divemasters was especially sullen.

Example: We saw pilot whales on our way to and from Bunaken. We had to literally beg the captain to drive the boat closer so we could get a better look (literally less than 1 min away, they were close). When he did, he never even slowed down and ran the boat right at the whales, scaring them away and causing them to dive. On the return trip the captain couldn't be bothered to approach the whales, despite our requests (again, very close). Pathetic. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was sleeping on the sundeck or checking their blackberries. One of the other divers on the boat commented that "At Lembeh, we would have been in the water snorkeling with the whales and everyone having a good time." Not here, apparently...

2) The engines on the large, spacious boat operated by Eco Divers are in poor repair and much too small the demands placed on them. The engines stalled repeatedly on our way to and from Bunaken on both days that we made the trip. Eco Divers actually employs one guy as a mechanic. This guy literally sits by the engines for the entire day, apparently just to keep them running (with decidedly mixed success). After a halting initial passage from the resort, we came up from our dive and he had one of the engines partially taken apart. This happened more than once.

3) Our departure from the resort was delayed by two hours because the captain got the boat stuck in the lagoon (ostensibly the lagoon where he parks the boat every day). After this delay, the crew was in a foul mood and proceeded to take us only to the 3 dive sites closest to the resort. One never escaped the feeling that these guys just waned to get home as quickly as possible.

To his credit, the manager Andrea was apologetic about the delay situation and did not charge for one of the dives that day (he was not at the resort that day and also apologized for this). He stated that this did not represent the type of service typically provided. However, this experience was still a detraction.

Thankfully, the diving at Bunaken was excellent and made the trip worthwhile. The coral is very healthy, tons of turtles (including several very large green turtles) and tropical fish everywhere, stunning wall dives (Lekuan, Mandolin) and excellent conditions. I highly recommend checking it out.

We saw some cool stuff (frogish, seahorses, nudibranchs) at the sites in front of the resort but I would have preferred another day at Bunaken as I prefer that type of diving.

Minahasa Resort itself is great. Very nice rooms, friendly and helpful staff, good food. Jimmy at the bar and the women in restaurant were standouts. Make sure to try the Jungle Restaurant on the hill. I stayed in a Garden Room but the beach bungalows looked amazing. All rooms have partially open showers and are nicely appointed.

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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.

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