• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Category Archives: Sulawesi Diving

MIDE 2019 features Gorontalo Marine Environments

MIDE 2019, the Malaysia International Dive Expo, featured a presentation on Gorontalo’s marine environments. Staff from Miguel’s Diving delivered this full-color session from the stage of the Indonesia Pavilion.

MIDE 2019: the Malaysia International Dive Expo

The 14th Malaysia International Dive Expo took place 3 – 5 May 2019. It is also called MIDE 2019. Malaysia’s famous Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC provided the venue. The Exhibition opened daily to the public at 10 a.m. It closed nightly at 7 p.m.

Gorontalo’s Marine Environments

On Saturday, 4 May, Miguel’s Diving accepted the invitation from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism to deliver a presentation about Gorontalo. We selected the topic of Gorontalo’s marine environments. Much variety in environments means much variety in diving. After introducing the team of Miguel’s Diving, our staff explained the nature of Gorontalo’s geography. Ancient coral uplifts form the rocky northern coastline of Tomini Bay. Moreover, the soft limestone erodes over time and forms dramatic underwater scenery. This also creates multiple environments within a short distance.

Gorontalo Marine Environments explained at MIDE 2019
Gorontalo Marine Environments explained at MIDE 2019

Gorontalo’s pristine coral walls actually form part of the continental wall of Sulawesi. On these deep walls, our famous Salvador Dali sponges grow in surreal shapes and super sizes. Each is unique in profile. Moreover, they come in a variety of colors. A top the coral walls lies a shallow ledge, sometimes measuring only a meter wide. Different marine life live here, giving divers another type of environment to experience in the same dive.

Another characteristic of Gorontalo’s geography is submerged points. These are frequent features found along the coastline. The bay’s longshore currents hits theses points, creating a swirl of activity. Schooling pelagic fish and strange creatures of the deep ocean can be seen in these locations.

In other places in the world, having a single coral pinnacle is considered special. However, in Gorontalo, multiple pinnacles compose several dive sites. Gorontalo’s famous whale shark sightings most often occur along a row of coral pinnacles.

Caverns also occur in Gorontalo. However, none of these are underwater caves. Cave diving requires technical skills, certification and preparation. Caverns offer a safe alternative, since the way out is always clearly visible.

Muck basins alternate with other marine environments. Like all of Gorontalo’s marine environments, these are actually quite small. As a result, this means that marine life is more crowded than in locations where muck diving is found in a large area.

Gorontalo even has a couple of artificial reefs. Specifically, these are historical wrecks.

Gorontalo for Malaysian Divers

MIDE presentation
Fans of Miguel’s Diving at MIDE presentation

Gorontalo is an excellent destination for Malaysian divers. Pristine dive destinations are often difficult to reach. Not so Gorontalo! Air Asia offers daily flights from Kuala Lumper’s KLIA2 airport to Makassar (UPG) four times weekly. The connecting flight to Gorontalo (GTO) lasts about one hour ten minutes. This is the route we recommend for Kuala Lumpur based divers.  

Additionally, Gorontalo’s diving season is the opposite of most peninsular Malaysian destinations. Our season runs mid October to mid May. Officially it is November to April. Now there is no reason to cry during monsoon-lah. Come dive in Gorontalo! For many Malaysians food can be an issue. Food in Gorontalo is halal.

Even if you missed our presentation at MIDE 2019, you can still book your dive trip with us.

ADEX 2019 Welcomes Back Miguel’s Diving

ADEX 2019 welcomes back Miguel’s Diving after an eleven year absence. Believe it or not, Miguel’s Diving last participated in this regional dive exhibition in 2008.

ADEX 2019 – Bigger by Far

This year’s Asia Dive Expo actually marked the event’s twenty-fifth outing. Back in the earlier years, the expo was much smaller. When Miguel’s Diving last participated, the square footage was under 2,500 with visitors totaling under 20,000. ADEX 2019 filled over 10,000 square feet at Suntec City Convention Center in Singapore. Last year’s expo gathered over 40,000 consumer visitors. About half that number of trade visitors came. In 2006, Miguel’s Diving sponsored a Lucky Draw.

As in previous years, Miguel’s Diving filled a regular three by three meter booth. This year’s location was K16. The booth included photos of Singapore-based divers who have dived with us in Gorontalo. Also, one panel of the booth displayed beautiful underwater photos. One of our Singaporean divers took these photos during his third trip to Gorontalo last December. 

Friends Old and New

One of the highlights of this and any exhibition is too meet many enthusiastic divers from around the world. Not only did Singapore divers visit the Miguel’s Diving booth. So did divers from Dubai to Taiwan.

Fadel Muhammad ADEX 2019
Member of Parliament Fadel Muhammad visits

Another great benefit of dive expos such as ADEX is the chance for reunion. Many who had previously dived Gorontalo with us, stopped by to say hello and catch up on the latest news. This included dive buddies from Malaysia and Indonesia.

We felt especially honored that Minister of Parliament from Gorontalo Prof. Dr. Ir. Fadel Muhammad attended two days of the expo.

Campaign against Single-Use Plastics

Each year ADEX highlights an important aspect of marine environment. ADEX 2019 launched a campaign against single-use plastics. Too many of these often end up in the world’s oceans.  In fact, people dump eight millions tons of plastics into the ocean annually. According to the World Bank, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam discard the most plastic into the ocean.

Singapore, the host of ADEX 2019, consumes 1.76 billion kilograms of plastics each year. This statistic comes from the Singapore Environment Council. Unfortunately, less than twenty per cent of that is recycled.

Anne the plastic queen
Plastic as Fashion

Indonesian ocean artist Anne K. Adijuwono staged a fashion show featuring 25 endangered species. She also created a mural using plastic waste. Mermaid Dewa designed outrageous costumes for a traveling troupe leading the cry against single-use-plastics. 

Miguel’s Diving has long had a plastics policy in place. It involves four actions. They are refuse, reduce, recycle and reclaim. For your chance to participate in our efforts to reduce single-used plastics bound for the ocean, please book your dive trip with us.

Whether or not you had a chance to see us at ADEX, we would love to have you show you the hidden paradise of Gorontalo. Please book your dive trip with us.

Deep Extreme Indonesia 2019 Features Miguel’s Diving Staff

Deep Extreme Indonesia 2019
Underwater Talks

Deep Extreme Indonesia 2019 features one of Miguel’s Diving staff as guest speaker. Our senior dive master and marketing assistant Yunis Amu participated in UW Talks. These talks featured various Indonesians well known in the dive industry. We are very proud that he received this invitation.

Manual UW Settings for Beginners

In his UW talk, Yunis targeted divers who use only automatic settings when photographing underwater. He challenged them to advance their skills and use manual settings. This would give much better results in underwater photography.

After introducing himself, he divided his UW Talk into several sections. First was Aperture or F-Stop, then Speed and then ISO. He included a section on Strobes and ended with cautions about Buoyancy. To support his UW Talk, he shot a variety of marine life common in Gorontalo. That included Salvador Dali sponge, red sea whips, Thorny seahorse, lionfish, Harlequin ghostpipefish and sea fan. These he shot at various settings to illustrate the impact a change of settings would have on a particular photo.

Yunis Amu in action

He completed this UW Talk for Deep Extreme Indonesia 2019 with several dramatic and excellent photos. These included a rare bell jellyfish, nemo and nemo eggs, whale shark in sunburst and seahorse shot with black background and bokeh style. All underwater photographs presented were original and without any computer editing.

DEEP Extreme Indonesia 2019

Miguel’s Diving has participated in this annual dive expo since its inception. Deep Extreme Indonesia certainly maintained its reputation as a well-run, regional dive expo this year. The variety of exhibitors is one of its hallmarks.

Two of Miguel’s Diving staff attended the expo and promoted diving in Gorontalo.

Meanwhile back in Gorontalo, our staff hosted international divers, providing great service and great diving. This included five whale sharks and 35 meter visibility!

For your chance to study underwater photography in Gorontalo with our staff, please book your dive trip with us!

Dogtooth Tuna Video

Dogtooth tuna video recently shot in Gorontalo is now available for viewing.

Tuna on the Reef Edge

Although Gorontalo is famous for its Yellowfin tuna, the tuna that divers will most likely see here is Dogtooth. This tuna is one of the apex predators like Giant trevally and large groupers.  They eat smaller schooling fish that thrive off Gorontalo’s coral walls. These include fusiliers, fairy wrasses, scads and rainbow runners. As evidenced in the Dogtooth tuna video, these fish are curious about divers. As a result, they will often make several passes, giving time for visitors to get cameras ready.

Lucky Dogtooth Tuna Video

A prime dive site for viewing larger schooling fish is Buffalo Head Point.  It numbers among Gorontalo’s many submerged points. These points jut away from the cliff above water and away from the underwater coral wall. Moreover, this position interrupts the smooth flow of the area’s longshore current. When a strong current is running, schooling fishes will congregate off these submerged points.

On the day this Dogtooth tuna video was shot, the current was moderately strong. Also, the plankton count was high. Notice all the backscatter in the video. That is living plankton. As a result, schooling fish that feed on plankton gathered in abundance. Notice the Blue-and-yellow fusiliers in the video. This is the kind of fish that fast swimming Dogtooth tuna love to eat.

Although dive staff often see large fish in these conditions, everyone was surprised with the close encounter with schooling Dogfish tuna.

Tuna without Scales

The scientific name for Dogtooth tuna is Gymnosarda unicolor. Unlike other sarda, this one lacks scales. Hence its official name, since gymno means “naked” in Greek. This silvery fish is considered unicolor, in contrast to other tunas like Yellowfin or Bluefin. It sports a single, undulating lateral line.

dogtooth tuna video
A Dogtooth tuna cruises in Gorontalo

Divers can easily recognize this streamlined fish. It has white tips on its upper and lower back fins. The caudal peduncle also shows a white area. These white markings are clearly visible in the Dogtooth tuna video. Also, notice that the fish’s upper jaw extends even with its eye. This fish swims with its mouth open, showing its many conical teeth.  

The average size of Dogtooth tuna that divers see swimming along Gorontalo’s coral walls is between 40 to 120 centimeters. Mature fish can measure up to two meters in length and weigh up to 120 kilograms. These swim in depths as deep as 300 meters. Miguel’s Diving staff estimate the larger ones seen in the Dogfish tuna video weighed about 50 kilos!

This tuna species lives in tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region.

For your chance to see Dogtooth tuna in Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us!

Drone Videos of Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

Drone videos made in Gorontalo make for excellent memories.

Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

The best locations for brilliant drone videos are in place with steep profiles and good color. That makes Gorontalo’s southern coastline an excellent choice. Steep mountains and cliffs plunge directly into the deep blue waters of Tomini Bay. Divers with drones get the best opportunities to visit coastal sites where land access is nearly impossible.

Drone Videos: The Latest Trend

Actually, a drone is a class of unmanned aerial vehicles. By the definition, clearly the human pilot is not on board. Someone on the ground – or on a dive boat – controls the craft. Sometimes, UAVs operate autonomously via computer programing. Clearly, there is a communication system between the hovering UAV and its remote controller.

Although initially made for military purposes, nowadays most UAVs are civilian owned. The name “drone” comes from the craft’s resemblance to a male bee. Listen to its sound and wing movements.

Classic Aerial Shots

Aerial shots have long been part of major films. With the emergence of commercially available UAVs, ordinary people can now make this type of video. In the three videos shot from a Miguel’s Diving speed boat, you can see classic aerial shots.

Pan shots are great for capturing dramatic scenery, such as the cliffs along Gorontalo’s coastline. The pan shot can be from left to right or right to left while the drone is hovering in a stationary position. Sometimes, this is called an aerial or high pan. For a more exciting shot, the pan can be done while the drone is in motion.

Skilled UAV users can also make an orbit shot. Notice how the camera makes a 360 degree spin above the dive boat in the Tjenderawashi Wreck video.

Flyer over shots bring a focus object into view while giving a clear context. Notice the flyer over shot of a Miguel’s Diving speed boat.

The Fly by shot is actually a bit different than the fly over. The focus object is parallel to the camera rather than below it. One shot of the dive boat on the Olele Marine Park video represents this type of shot.

Another great technique is the reverse shot. The drone pulls the camera in reverse and away from the focus object. This shot makes a great finish to the Buffalo Head Point video.

Additionally, Pedestal shots are great for capturing a towering object, such as a mountain. The shot usually moves from bottom to top. To achieve this effect, the drone rises in elevation.

Want to make your own drone video along Gorontalo’s coastline? Bring your UAV and have some fun above water during your dive surface intervals. To make arrangements, please book your dive trip with us.

Unterwasser Magazine Discovers Gorontalo

Unterwasser magazine discovers a new dive destination in its March 2017 edition.

Unknown Diving Locations of Sulawesi

The leading dive destinations in Sulawesi have long been located in the Manado area. The Indonesian government established Bunaken National Marine Park in 1991. Muck diving was born in 1994 with the exposure of Lembeh Strait. These two locations have become international hot spots for divers in the know.

Unterwasser Magazine double page
Imran Ahmad’s double-page spread

Although Miguel’s Diving opened diving here in 2003, many international divers have yet to hear of Gorontalo. To many, it remains a hidden paradise. Now is the time for Gorontalo’s wider exposure. Hence, the article in Unterwasser magazine by Imran Ahmad in its March 2017 edition.

The editor of Unterwasser magazine mentions, “Our author has set off for the unknown places in North Sulawesi’s diving paradise and still found untouched underwater worlds.” Gorontalo has gained fame among Indonesian and Asian divers for its surreal Salvador Dali sponges, incredibly dense hard corals and, more recently, whale sharks.

Imran Ahmad, World-Class Photographer

unterwasser magazine with Imran
Imran Ahmad with his annual calendar

The author of the article in Unterwasser magazine is Imran Ahmad. His first, rushed visit to Gorontalo was over a decade ago. He is much sought after as an underwater photographer and journalist. His work assignments range from Asia to Mauritius to Iceland. Recently, his busy schedule allowed for several weeks in Gorontalo. Some of his many photos from Gorontalo appear in the eight-page spread in Unterwasser magazine.

In his article, he writes, “The underwater world in Gorontalo impresses you with its unique sponges, sometimes in surreal forms. Colors appear before your mask and add to them soft corals, overhangs and countless marine life forms – impressive.”

Unterwasser Magazine

This magazine has long been a leading voice in marine sports for the German-speaking market. It has been published monthly since 1995. Its typical length is about 170 pages. Articles in it feature underwater photographs and travel reports on international dive destinations.

Miguel’s Diving provides a web page for German speakers. Any diver can book your dive trip to Gorontalo with us. Please contact with us for a dive package booking.

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 marks its 11th anniversary this year. Miguel’s Diving will be there to help celebrate! We remember the first DEEP expo. We have been operating for 14 years now.

Booth C27

DEEP Extreme Indonesia 2017
Miss Scuba Indonesia 2017 visits Miguel’s Diving

Gorontalo Province has invited Miguel’s Diving to join its booth. The booth location is C27. This year’s theme is “Gorontalo Luar Biasa.” That is Indonesian for “extraordinary.” Two of Miguel’s Diving staff attended this year’s expo. They are Yunis Amu and Ispan “Boka” Habuge. Other dive staff remained in Gorontalo to take guests diving.

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017

As in many previous years, DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 will be held at the Jakarta Convention Center. The dates are 30 March to 2 April. The expo combines scuba diving with EXTREME sports, such as rock climbing. It is now the largest expo of its kind in Southeast Asia. At DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017, we are offering discount dive packages. Drop by to see us!

Friends Old & New

Imran Ahmad
Mr. Imran Ahmad with his whale shark photo

The Gorontalo booth for DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 contains a dramatic whale shark photo from Gorontalo. It is courtesy of Mr. Imran Ahmad. He will give a special presentation of his photograph work from Gorontalo on 1 April at the Mini Stage. His whale shark photo, called “Destiny,” received over 11, 000 likes on our Facebook page. Gorontalo is a great place for underwater photos, whether wide angle or macro.

Also part of the Gorontalo booth is the wall of friends. Over 40 photographs of some of our Indonesian guests are featured. Some international divers also joined. Finding your photo or those of friends makes great fun.

If you could not meet us in person, please book your dive trip with us.

Schooling Bigeye Scad in Gorontalo

Bigeye scad can form large schools in quiet inshore areas of Gorontalo.

Thousands in Synchronized Motion

For several weeks in October 2016 a large school of Bigeye scad called Olele Bay home. Actually, this is a typical pattern for this fish. Since they hunt for food mostly at night, they gather in large schools during the day. During daylight hours they do not travel much. This was certainly true of the scad found in Olele.

With undetectable communication, the fish school moved and changed directions all at once. Their movements and direction showed astounding synchronization. Watch for yourself in the video below. At one point, they swam into the sunlight. Notice how the sunbeams danced around the school of fish.

Bigeye Scad

The scientific name of this oceanic fish is Selar crumenophthalmus. It is found in tropical regions worldwide, including equatorial Gorontalo. The local name of the fish in Gorontalo language is “oci.” It is a fast reproducing species and plays an important part in the local diet. One fish is the right size for one person. Other common names in English include Purse-eye or Goggle-eyed scad.

Bigeye scad schooling
Schooling Bigeye scad

The Bigeye scad is considered pelagic since it is associated with the open ocean rather than the reef. In Gorontalo, ocean depths plunge several kilometers just off the beach. That is why pelagic species including whale sharks swim right over the coral slopes of Gorontalo.

Inshore or Offshore

When they are swimming close to shore, Bigeye scad eat small shrimps, invertebrates and forams. When they are in open ocean conditions, these scad will eat zooplankton and fish larvae. Perhaps you notice them eating in the video. Clearly, they were plucking planktonic morsels from the water.
For your chance to see a school of Bigeye scad, please contact with us for a dive package booking.

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet Magazine Features Gorontalo Whale Sharks

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine recently featured the whale sharks of Gorontalo.

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet Magazine Featured Destination

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet Magazine photo spread
Double page magazine photo spread

Gorontalo’s new whale shark reserve at Botubarani Village became a featured destination in Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine. “Gorontalo Botubarani” encompasses four pages. This includes a dramatic double page photo of a whale shark swimming above a diver. In the foreground of that photo lies some of Gorontalo’s beautiful coral. Noteably, Mr. Arief Yudo Wibowo took this and other photos for the feature. He is the managing editor of Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine.

Research from Indonesia Whale Shark Team

The accompanying article features research from the Indonesia Whale Shark Team. Its members lived in Botubarani village while conducting their study. They lived there from April 12 to April 30, 2016. As a result, they recorded a total of 17 individual whale sharks. All were males. Worldwide, females rarely appear. Furthermore, the lengths of Botubarani whale sharks measured three to seven meters. That means all of them are juveniles. Since whale sharks are migratory, the researches expect that total to rise.

Indonesian Minister of Marine Fisheries directive 16/2013 designated the whale shark as a protected species.

Ocean Characteristics of Botubarani Village

The Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine article on Gorontalo explains the characteristics of Botubarani Village. It sits on the edge of deep ocean waters. Near the shoreline there is a rocky shelf. This shelf is at most four meters deep. A steep slope falls to 15 meters. Then comes a deeper inlet about 30 meters deep. Consequently, this inlet provides direct access to deep ocean water.

No net or fence blocks access to deep water. As a result, whale sharks are free to come and go. The reason they frequent this particular underwater inlet is simple. A shrimp factory is located there. For years now, workers have thrown the unused shrimp heads and skins into the water. The whale shark like these snacks! These snacks do not provide enough nutrition. So, the whale sharks still must forage for plankton and minnows on their own.

Scuba Diver Ocean Planet Magazine advert
Become a happy diver with Miguel’s Diving

Miguel’s Diving placed a half page advertisement in Scuba Diver Ocean Planet magazine. We want responsible divers to know that we follow the procedures recommended by Indonesia Whale Shark Team. That includes keeping an appropriate distance. For your chance to dive with whale sharks in Gorontalo, please contact with us.

Gymnodoris ceylonica nudibranchs in Gorontalo

Gymnodoris ceylonica were everywhere! Pearly white nudibranchs with orange spots were crawling along the ocean floor. What was going on?

Watching a Rare Event

The dive site was Tambo’o Fish House. It is a favorite muck diving site in Gorontalo. No nudibranchs were seen the previous day. Then suddenly one day in November, there were dozens and dozens of Gymnodoris ceylonica nudibranchs. Most were about five centimeters in length.

Gymnodoris ceylonica laying eggs
Gymnodoris ceylonica laying eggs

Upon closer inspection, those Gymnodoris ceylonica nudibranchs were mating. Then they were laying eggs on various kinds of algae. A few were laying eggs on the sand. Miguel’s Diving staff had never seen this happen. So, we came back on the two following days to film this rare event. By the third day, all the nudibranchs had disappeared. Only their eggs were left.

Watch this amazing video, shot by Mr Yunis Amu of Miguel’s Diving. Notice the translucent body of this nudibranch. Sometimes, the yellow eggs still inside the nudibranch are visible from the outside!

The Ceylonese Nudibranch

The common name for Gymnodoris ceylonica is Ceylonese nudibranch. It was first discovered in 1858 off the coast of Sri Lanka. That island was a British Crown colony at the time marine researchers were working there. The British called their colony Ceylon, hence the name of this nudibranch.

The Life of Gymnodoris ceylonica

Ceylonese nudibranch eggs on algae
Eggs of Ceylonese nudibranch on algae

This lovely nudibranch prefers open grass beds. Plenty of algae live in that marine environment. Ceylonese nudibranchs are not vegetarian, however. They are carnivores. They eat other nudibranchs. Pictures of one eating a sea hare are available here.

Mr. Bill Rudman of Sea Slug Forum has several observations about the eggs of Gymnodoris ceylonica. Most noticeably, the eggs are not in the classic, smooth ribbon like other nudibranchs. These egg masses are almost messy in comparison. Missing are the pretty spirals that divers expect to see. Johnson & Boucher studied the eggs of this nudibranch in 1983. They discovered that the eggs are arranged in clusters of 20 to 40 eggs. Each yellow dot visible in the video and photo is actually a cluster of eggs.

Divers never know what to expect here because of the incredible variety of marine life. For your chance to watch Gorontalo marine life, please book your dive trip with us.

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