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Dive Review of Eco Divers/Minahasa Lagoon in

October, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by James Castanino, DC, US
Reviewer   (6 reports)
Report Number 6741
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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

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
80   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 minute time limit on dives.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
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,

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

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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