North Sulawesi Indonesia

The Ring of Fire is a large fault line which begins in the southern Pacific Ocean near New Zealand, and winds its way north passing through Vanuatu, up around Papua New Guinea, heads west through Indonesia, before zipping north through the Philippines, Japan and Siberia.

The Ring of Fire is so known for the large number of volcanoes along its length and the number of earth tremors that can be felt each time there is a shift in the tectonic plates. Because of that volcanic activity causing a change to the land, much of the scenery along the Ring of Fire is utterly spectacular.

North Sulawesi occupies one of the far reaches of Eastern Indonesia, and it too boasts heaving volcanoes and shallow coastal waters that are very popular with divers.

Once known as the Celebes, when it was under Portuguese administration, which pre-dates the Dutch occupation, it is the result of a quite violent collision between two large islands which bashed together about three million years ago. Some of the coastal waters here are so spectacular that they have been preserved as a marine park where the richness of the marine life makes diving a marvellous experience.

There are a few good resorts in North Sulawesi which cater almost exclusively for the diving fraternity, but there are other things to do there as well.

The largest city in North Sulawesi is called Manado, which was established as a trading port in the 16th Century. Today, Manado is quite modern, a result of it being almost completely destroyed during World War II. It differs, also, from most Indonesian cities as there is a strong Christian community there. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, but Manado has a largely Protestant population which harks back to its long term Dutch administration.

Close to Manado is an area called Bunaken which has a reputation for being one of the best places for diving in the world; as well as being regarded by many as the best dive site in Indonesia.

Part of the reason for its popularity with divers is because of its clear waters. During the summer it is often easy to see underwater for up to 35 metres. It has a wonderful variety of marine life, including many different corals, sea turtles, dugongs and about 70% of all the species of fish which occupy the Western Pacific.

To reach Manado is quite easy as there are flights from Singapore, Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia. It is a destination that is out of the way, but it is also less crowded than other popular destinations within Indonesia.

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