Due to the lack of an airport in the region, the Togian island dive sites are still off the beaten track. Only now are a handful of liveaboard dive cruises starting to explore the Togian paradise. Consequently, scuba diving in the Togians is a superb.
But the charm of the place extends beyond the impressive sites: peaceful, pristine sandy beaches shaded by palm trees, crystal clear waters in every shade of blue, quiet fishing villages under blue skies. If you were looking for an idyllic tropical setting with great diving, then you just found it.
DIVING IN TOGIAN ISLANDS
Sheltered by the protective arms of central and north Sulawesi, Tomini Bay is reputedly the calmest deep water bay in the world. There's an awesome array of reefs in exceptional conditions, stunning underwater topography and fish diversity that some of the world's better known dive destinations could only dream of. It is the only place in the world where barrier reefs, atolls and fringing reefs are found together.
Around the volcanic island of Una-una, there is an amazing array of sponges of all size and shape diversity, probably among the biggest in the world. The fish life is very dense: schools of Jack and barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, numerous Napoleon wrasses, snappers, fusiliers, etc. Other dive sites include beautiful drop offs with crevasses and overhangs, canyons, rocks formations, pinnacles, all offering a great variety of spectacular underwater scenery. The good visibility here means you can spot huge schools of barracudas forming vast shimmering whirlpool walls. Blue marlins have beenseen dashing through the water, and if you see one of those you certainly will never forget this place!
Wreck diving at South Togians: The B24 Liberator
The wreck, an American B24 bomber from the Second World War, lies almost intact on an 18 meters bottom. The plane was on its way back to its base on Morotai Island (north Moluccas) when an engine went on fire. The pilot managed to alight on the waters of this calm bay. All the crew was safe and went to the land where the local people rescued them. A large school of jacks is always on the spot, shrimps, glass fishes, crocodile fish. Another good place to dive in South Togian is a pinnacle coming up from a bottom of more than 200 meters, which culminates at 27 meters, is visited by numerous pelagic fishes: tunas, white tips and grey reef sharks, schools of jacks. There is a beautiful coverage of soft corals.
Pasir Tengah Atoll
You dive straight down along an absolutely vertical wall that goes down to abyssal depth. The deep and transparent blue of the water - the visibility is generally excellent - gives to this dive a special fantasy ambient. This the archetype of the "wall", where hang huge tubes and barrel sponges, black corals, where are cruising tunas, eagle rays, ascending and descending schools of Platax and Trevally. The wall also presents beautiful overhangs and crevasses. This is also a typical dive profile of the tropics where you slowly get up along the wall and finish your tanks at the top of the reef looking at the aquarium.
There is another wall, with a lot of overhangs and horizontal faults. It’s a very good site for photographers, with a good coverage of soft corals. There is a large swim through at 40 feet deep, with walls and ceiling covered by bright yellow siphonogorgias. The wall between 6 and 3 meters is colonized by an amazing quantity of various kinds of nudibranchs.
It is a rocky formation outside the barrier reef (the barrier reef runs along almost all the north coast of Togian Islands). We leave the bottom of the reef wall at a depth of 55 feet and follow the sandy bottom in between massive rocks, where we frequently spot giant groupers. The last rock, at 100 feet depth, makes a wall on its outside part falling in the deep blue, from where are coming up tunas and schools of Jacks. We then follow the top of this rock that forms a flat platform covered with colorful soft corals, sponges and splendid huge gorgonians.
It’s a special spot for pelagics outside the barrier reef of Kadidiri. It’s a reef with a top at 27m on a sandy bottom of about 70m. When the currents are strong at certain periods of the tide, the fish life is very dense: schools of jacks, barracudas, white tips, grey reef sharks and sometime hammerheads. Due to the strong currents, this dive is only offered to experienced divers.
Useful Information to Togean Islands
Diving season: March to December is the best time to dive Togian Islands since it is the dry season, but is possible to dive it all year round in a good time conditions.
Rainy season: From January to February.
Water temperature: 27-30°C. A 3mm shorty should be more than sufficient.
Depths: 5- >50m.
Surface conditions: Calm.
Experience level: Beginner – intermediate – advanced.
Dive sites: >30.
Length of stay: Recommended 7-11 days on liveaboard cruise.
Airport: Manado. International flight to Manado.
Weather: 27-30°C. Indonesia has two seasons: wet and dry. In most of Indonesia the wet season is from October to April and the dry from May to September. Central Sulawesi rainy season runs from December to March, but being in the tropics, the rain is only intermittent rather than torrential.
Time zone: Sulawesi GMT +8.
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