Sulawesi, Gorontalo, miguels diving

Written by on June 6, 2012 in Sulawesi Dive Centers with 0 Comments

Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Miguels diving

Dive Gorontalo, a unique Sulawesi diving environment


Named Indonesia’s best kept secret by prestigious Asian Diver magazine, Gorontalo’s equatorial waters provide a new dive destination on Sulawesi Island. Recently separated from North Sulawesi Province, Gorontalo Province lies along the northern coastline of the huge Tomini Bay. In much of eastern Gorontalo, towering limestone cliffs plunge directly into the sea. These cliffs were once ancient reefs and patterns of coral growth are clearly evident in the rock. A narrow, shallow coral shelf rims the coastline. Often this shelf is only a few meters wide and bottoms out within a few meters of the surface where the wall begins. The coral walls of Gorontalo provide diving at par with other locations in North Sulawesi.

Because of its limestone base, the wall is highly eroded by natural forces. This makes for some of the most complex underwater rock formations found anywhere. Clusters of dramatic buttresses flanked by deep chutes are common here. The wall itself is chocked full of holes, crevasses, fissures, and caverns. The first wall bottoms out in the 30 to 40 meter range. Often below this is a short slope or shelf before another vertical drop. The waters then fall to 120 meters before plunging again. While traveling to a dive site, divers pass over seas between 500 and 1,000 meters deep.

Tomini Bay itself is over 4,000 meters deep. Because of the extreme depth right off Gorontalo’s coastline, cetaceans pass just off the wall, including whale sharks, whales, and pods of ghostly Risso’s dolphin.

Even well-traveled divers love diving the walls of Gorontalo for their amazing and diverse sponges. Divers are sure to marvel at the tangled tapestry of hanging blue rope sponges at several sites. Near the bottom of the first wall, vase, barrel and trumpet sponges easily outsize the diver. But the clear favorite is what we at Miguel’s Diving call the Salvador Dali sponge (Petrosia lignosa) for its surrealistically carved surface. Although this sponge is only known from vertical walls in Indonesia, including those in North Sulawesi, the intricately swirled surface is only found in Gorontalo, where it is quite common and grows to incredible size. That means that divers wanting to see its weird beauty first hand should come to Gorontalo and dive with Miguel’s.

Dive sites pioneered by Miguel’s Diving in Gorontalo offer muck diving, wall diving, wreck diving, and multiple pinnacle diving. Numerous caverns and towering overhangs give divers an eerie but safe alternative. Dive sites often used during the 2010-2011 season are listed below. We have been too busy diving to add all of these to the web site.

  • Cavern / Overhangs: Jinn Caves, Sand Channels, Sponge Wall, Shadowlands
  • Muck Diving: Mystic Point, Sand Castle, Old Port, Tambo’o Fish House
  • Pinnacles: Mirabella, Sentinels, Sunken Island
  • Submerged Points: Buffalo Head Point, Honeycomb, Swirling Steps, White Point
  • Wall Diving: Cliffs, Fallen Rock, Kurenai Beach, Three Corners, Traffic Circle, Traffic Jam, Silvertip Grounds, West Point
  • Wreck Diving: Japanese Cargo Wreck, Tjenderawashi Barge Wreck

Divers looking for dramatic diving in a brand new location will be pleased with the diving now available in Gorontalo. Because of local ocean conditions, dive season for Miguel’s Diving in Gorontalo runs from November to April.

Latest Weblog update posted 23 May 2012!

Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo
Office at Gorontalo Oasis Hotel: Jl. Agus Salim No 29

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