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Dive Review of Living Colours in
Indonesia/Bunaken

Living Colours, May, 2011,

by Frederick R. Turoff, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 6101.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving BVI, USVI, Saba, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Costa Rica, Coco Island, Revillagigedos, Sea of Cortez, Palau, Yap, Red Sea, Sipadan, PNG, Indonesia, Philippines
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 83 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions deepest point of 18 dives was 92 feet. most 60 feet and above. dive times usually about an hour, except when current made us work. dive guides trusted us once they saw we were competent and safe divers.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments boats had fresh water rinse container that fit 2 large and several small cameras. no photo room on shore but fresh water hose to rinse cameras and gear. cameras kept in personal rooms, which were accessed by a 60 step stairway up the side of the hill then a bit more climbing/walking. staff offered to carry my camera, but I used this as a form of exercise. when tide is out, there is a long walk to and from boat along beach to path through mangroves that leads to shallow boat areas. when tide is in, boats are right by resort.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Living Colours was built and is run by a Finnish couple, Jaako and Mia, who are friendly and run a nice operation. I noticed a number of guests were Finnish, but guests were from a good variety of countries. This is a resort for those who wish to spend less but have some terrific dives. Meals are in the dining hall up the hill from the office, dive shop and beach bar. Food is served family style, with several choices of main meal always. Food was quite adequate with fresh seafood at most meals. Rooms are on the upper area as well. It is a 60 step climb from the beach to the dining room and beyond for the rooms, so be prepared for this. My room had ceiling and floor fans but no AC, and this was adequate. The hot water in the shower used a gas burner that ignited when the water flowed, but it was inconsistent and sometimes turned off in mid-shower.

When the tide is in, boats come right to the resort. However, when it is out, there is a walk along the beach for a good ways to get to the path through the mangroves that leads to the boat loading/unloading area. All gear is left on the boats until they can dock at the resort for unloading bu the staff.

The boats usually carry 4-8 divers with 1-3 divemasters, who learn your name quickly and constantly point out the uw life for which this area is known. They have no Nitrox, so keep that in mind. Heavy gear is always on the boat for your first dive, and is washed and hung at day's end. Gear that isn't hung is kept in baskets overnight. The diving is mainly wall diving, with beautiful corals and lots of fish. We had numerous turtles as well, with the largest green turtle I've ever seen lounging on a table coral that jutted from a wall. It seemed unconcerned about us divers looking and taking photos. Although others saw more, I saw only two sharks, both white tip, with one cruising a wall and the other, a small one, hiding under a table coral head. We visited several sandy areas for muck diving as well, where I found neat critters. Several dives had strong current, moving us along a wall quickly and easily, while most other dives had little to no current. Three night dives (two at the house reef) produced lots of crabs, squat lobsters in corals, shrimp, several cephalopods, plus a honeydew-melon-sized stonefish looking like a fuzzy rock at which an artist threw random gobs of bright paint. One of my friends did several snorkel trips on front of the resort at low tide and saw sea snakes, rays, lion and scorpionfish and other interesting uw life. We saw a good variety of nudibranchs but only one pygmy seahorse was found in 5 dive days, which didn't bother me as I've seen plenty of them on previous trips to Lembeh and Raja Ampat.

A sidebar: one of the Finnish guests was a man who runs a dive operation in Thailand. He was leading a group and on an island when the tsunami of 2004 hit. His story of surviving the wave and doing three days of search and rescue afterward was riveting and an encouraging tale of human effort.

Bunaken offers excellent and varied diving and is easily reached from Manado in northeast Sulawesi. After an interesting ride from the airport through crowded Manado to the waterfront, it's maybe a half-hour boat ride to the island. Those on a budget should consider Living Colours as a fine place to see neat uw life and meet interesting folks from around the world.
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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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