The stunningly clear waters and sheer abundance of marine life living within Bunaken Marine Park makes it a world renowned scuba diving hotspot. The vast majority of our guests are scuba divers, and they visit Siladen Resort & Spa specifically to explore as much of the underwater world as possible.
But, scuba diving is not the only way to explore the pristine waters of Bunaken Marine Park.
We frequently receive emails from potential guests asking about the snorkelling in the area. Is it possible to snorkel in Bunaken Marine Park? And perhaps more importantly, as snorkellers, do we get the same attention as divers?
Â Well, the answer to both of these questions is YES!
Â Snorkelling with Siladen Resort & Spa
Â We know that not everyone who wants to explore the amazing underwater world is a diver.
Â Some people cannot dive for medical reasons, some donât like the feeling of scuba diving, and some people simply prefer snorkelling over diving.
Â We often hear stories from some guests about their previous snorkelling experiences with other resorts. Sometimes they donât get the same attention as the divers, or they are seen as an after thought and are taken to sites that the divers want to visit, but these sites are often not suitable for snorkellers.
Â That is why at Siladen Resort & Spa, we try to be different. We want both divers and snorkellers to have equally amazing experiences of Bunaken Marine Park.
Â When you join one of our snorkelling trips, you can rest assured that your needs will be taken into consideration. We will plan sites that are suitable for both snorkellers and divers, and you will be given a snorkelling guides at a ratio of four guests to one guide â the same group sizes as the divers.
Â Sometimes strong surface currents and boat traffic means that snorkellers might have to deal additional risks that do not necessarily effect the divers. The guide is there to keep you safe, and the boat will stay close so you can get out the water whenever you want.
Â Our snorkelling guides are trained in spotting marine life, just as the dive guides are. They can help you find the amazing marine life on the reefs, and explain what you are seeing.
Â Snorkelling in Bunaken Marine Park
Â To visit all of the amazing snorkelling spots in the area, you will need to join one of our boat trips. Our boat trips depart three times a day â in the morning, afternoon, and night.
Â The reefs around the islands of Bunaken Marine Park are all characterised by a shallow reef top, followed by either a steep slope or a vertical wall.
Â Upon arrival at your destination, you will jump or climb off the boat with your guide over the deep, sapphire blue water, before heading towards to shallow reef. Over the shallow water, you find see pristine coral gardens bursting with schooling reef fish.
Â Most snorkelling sites have many colourful anemones complete with anemone fish dotted throughout the corals, and it is possible to find crustaceans such as lobsters, octopus, cuttlefish, and nudibranchs hiding among the crevices.
Â The shallow water is also where some larger animals hang out. Crocodile needlefish gather in large numbers in the shallows, and if you see all the reef fish disappear, have a look for giant trevally looking for an easy meal.
Â We usually swim parallel to the wall so you can see both the shallow sections of the reef and the deep blue waters. Looking over the blue, you might catch a glimpse of reef sharks, tuna, or enormous schools of snapper. When snorkelling around Bunaken island, you are almost guaranteed to see turtles coming up for air from the deeper waters. In fact, itâs not unusual to see as many as 20 turtles in an hour while snorkelling around Bunaken!
Â Snorkelling from Siladen Island
Â One great thing about snorkelling is how easy it is to go whenever you want. All you need is your mask, snorkel, fins, some water, and off you can go!
Â We think that the coral reef surrounding Siladen is easily some of the best in Bunaken Marine Park. There is nowhere else where we can find as many species of anemones concentrated into such a small area, and the reef top is absolutely pristine.
Â Like the other islands in Bunaken Marine Park, Siladen is surrounded by large areas of seagrass before the reef begins.
Directly in front of Siladen Resort & Spa, the seagrass meadow extends nearly 500 metres before the reef begins. For this reason, if you want to snorkel over the reef, we recommend snorkelling from the main jetty in the village where the reef begins around 20 metres from the beach. It takes around five minutes to walk there, or if you prefer, we can drive you down in our Siladen Wagen.
Â That doesnât mean you should ignore the seagrass meadow in front of Siladen Resort & Spa.
Â Seagrass meadows are extremely important ecosystems to juvenile and smaller species of fish, who hide among the seagrass blades from potential predators.
Â Spending an afternoon snorkelling over a seagrass meadow, you can find moray eels, sting rays, anemonefish, scorpionfish, and even octopus, squid, or cuttlefish. If you are extremely lucky, during high time you may catch a glimpse of a dugong as it feeds of the seagrass (an adult dugong can eat up to 28kg of seagrass in a day!).
Â If you would like to snorkel from the beach, we ask that you let someone from the dive centre know of your plans â where you will be going and how long you intend to stay out for. The dive centre team can inform you of tidal movements, currents, and they can keep an eye on you.
Â What to bring on your snorkelling adventure
Â Our dive centre has all snorkelling equipment available for rent, including children sizes, however if you have your own equipment, we recommend that your bring it for comfort reasons.
Â We recommend wearing either a rash vest or wetsuit when snorkelling. As North Sulawesi is almost on the equator, the sun can be extremely powerful â especially at the surface. If you would rather not cover, you should think about using sun screen to protect yourself from the sunâs harmful rays.
Â If you are using sunscreen, we ask that you read our blog about environmentally friendly sunscreen, as many varieties are toxic to coral reef. Reef friendly sunscreen is becoming more available worldwide, and if you cannot find any before your departure, we also sell it in our boutique.