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Sulawesi Diving Advice from Miguel’s Diving
Many dive sites in Gorontalo face deep ocean waters. The pristine coral walls are complex and intriguing. There is so so much to see! Because of the extreme depths and good visibility, divers can be easily tempted to dive deeper than intended. First establish neutral buoyancy. Enjoy the amazing diversity here. Keep a look at your depth gauge. Our Sulawesi diving advice includes a notice about the nearest decompression chamber. It is located in Manado in North Sulawesi. The overland trip takes about nine hours. We ask divers to stay within safe diving limits.
Ocean temperatures among Sulawesi dive locations vary. Waters in Gorontalo are quite warm. Typical temperatures measure between 28 – 30 degrees Celsius (82 – 86 F). Shorty wet suits are available for your comfort. Some divers here wear board shorts.
Sulawesi Diving Advice for Boat Traffic
Hazards of boat traffic differ throughout Sulawesi. In Gorontalo local people in small outrigger canoes travel along the shallow reef crest. Make sure you understand safe surfacing procedures. This includes listening for a boat motor and ascending with your gauge held high above your head. We ask you to ascend with staff provided by Miguel’s Diving.
Sulawesi Diving Advice for Currents
Many Sulawesi diving locations require some understanding of current diving. This is especially true in North Sulawesi’s Bunaken Marine Park. We have some tips for current diving. Maintain neutral buoyancy, relax and go with the flow. Notice the fish. They will all face into the current. In a down current, they will swim upwards. In an upwelling, they will be swimming downwards. Down currents are sometimes strongest close to the coral wall. Usually a dive master will enter the water while other divers are suiting up. He will check on the direction and strength of the current. In some Sulawesi diving locations, currents will vary during a dive. This is also true in Gorontalo. Just remember: the stronger the current, the more fish come out to play!
Almost always divers in Gorontalo will be drift diving. That basically means that you don’t have to return to a certain location to get back into the boat. Instead, the boat will pick you and your buddy up where you surface.
Although we cannot promise sightings, large marine life is part of the environment here. This includes sharks, pygmy mantas, whale sharks, dolphins and whales. Consider all of them wild. They not used to humans, so approach or pass with caution.
Medical & Health Issues
Here is some general medical and health information for those visiting Sulawesi diving locations.
Bring insect repellent, antihistamine ointment for insect bites and antibiotic ointment for cuts. Bring seasickness tablets if you are likely to encounter this problem. Divers are advised not to use the scopolamine patch, which has been reported to cause narcosis at shallow depths. Antibiotics are available in Gorontalo and throughout Sulawesi without a prescription.
Diving with a cold or sinus trouble is not advised. Some divers with mild allergy symptoms might consider bringing sinus decongestants. Make sure they are non-drowsy. Brands include Sinutab, Triogesic or Sudafed.
Sometimes divers encounter some stinging plankton or fire coral. The best remedy is hot compresses. A cloth soaked in hot water can be pressed onto the affected area. Heat from a hair dryer can be useful. Even heat from the hot metal on the boat engine can help. Take as much heat as you can. If you are still itching several hours later, try another round of heat. Many types of marine venom break down with heat. This treatment will also help for stings from lionfish and scorpionfish.
The two health problems you are most likely to face are dehydration and sunburn. Both of these can lead to serious medical complications. You should plan to drink ten glasses of water daily. That is about two and a half (2.5) liters. Dehydration packs are available in Gorontalo and throughout Sulawesi. Brands are Pharolit, Oralit or Pocari. You can bring something like Gatorade from home. One dehydration pack mixed in water every day is a good strategy. This will help resupply body salts lost in sweating. Please bring sun block of SPF 30 or higher. Apply prior to going outside.
Divers are advised to complete the PADI Medical Form with your doctor. Rarely will a Sulawesi diving operator require this.
The areas where Miguel’s Diving takes guests diving in Gorontalo is not known to have malaria. However, your doctor may advise taking anti-malaria medication. Experts recommend scuba diver not to take Mefloquine (known as Lariam). Chloroquine and Paludrine are recommended instead. Typically, you need to begin taking your prophylaxis a week prior to departure. Mosquitoes carrying this disease bite around dusk. The best strategy is to avoid getting bitten.
Dengue fever can be common during the rainy season in certain areas of Sulawesi. There is no drug to take for this disease. Mosquitoes carrying this disease bite in the afternoon hours. Make sure your room has been sprayed before you take a nap. Mosquito nets are rarely available. A good strategy do avoid dengue fever is to dive in the afternoon!
Vaccinations recommended for Indonesia include Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Polio.