I am about to finish my time in Bunaken, and again I am not at all ready to say goodbye. Although, I have almost finished checking all the boxes for completing my Divemaster program! With my last two weeks so near, I really have no idea where the time went, and I am not ready for it to end. The past two weeks have been quite action packed, finishing up more specialty courses and assisting with guiding and other courses.
The diving here in Bunaken is beyond compare, with some of the most exquisite reefs walls that seem to never end. The immense spectrum of colors you see on every dive is overwhelming, yet somehow in the rainbow of corals and fish, the guides will point out seahorses the size of my fingertip, or ornate ghost pipefish camouflaged so well I can’t actually spot them until the pointer is on top of them. I have also seen more nudibranchs than I can count, yet it’s still so exciting to see more every dive. Now I’m a huge fan of the tiny creatures, but no one in their right mind would pass up a pleasant swim with turtles, and of those there are plenty. There will be green turtles sleeping in crevices along the walls or out in the blue, that just pop out right in front of you just waiting for you to move out of their path. It’s quite funny to see all the divers around so mesmerized by an animal that swims past so unimpressed with all the bystanders gawking at him.
Now if all of these creatures weren’t enough, the highlight of the last two weeks had to be when I had my dry day on the boat. With three weeks in Lembongan and no signs of Mola mola, I had given up hope of seeing them. But last week while sitting on the boat, waiting for everyone else to finish their dives, the captain shouted “Mola!” pointing out in the blue. Now the guys on the boat had joked with me before, pointing out dugong or molas just to trick me into getting excited over nothing, so I just assumed this was the same. That was until the captain grabbed a mask and jumped in the water, and began paddling furiously out. So I followed (as did the rest of the passengers on our boat), and sure enough two Molas swam only 10 meters below us! We followed them for as long as we could, screaming with exuberance the whole time. This,of course, attracted the other boats around until all the surrounding divers and snorkelers were in the water sharing in this incredible experience.
Now I have to mention, that at this time, Yvonne had an open water student on board who also got to see the Molas. This was literally her first open water dive and she saw two Mola mola. We attempted to explain to her how lucky she was, but I fear her level of excitement was nowhere near what the rest of the boat was sharing that day. Then, the excitement continued as I progressed through my night diver specialty. I personally love night diving, although I know not everyone gets as excited about it, but I do highly recommend the night diving in Bunaken. Not only did we see hoards or shrimps and crabs, but with the spectacular eyes of my instructor Dion, we also saw numerous cuttlefish, frogfish, and even three blue ring octopi! I have to say, I may never again be so fortunate as to see such incredible marine life all in one place.
The diving is really only part of the experience though. I have also met so many amazing people, including my instructors, staff members, and guests. I have learned so much not only in the course but also in shared experiences from talking with so many others. I think my waistline will be the only thing that doesn’t miss Bunaken once I leave, as my appetite seems to have only grown so arriving here. I am very excited to see what Lembeh has in store, but it will be hard to surpass the joy I have found here in Bunaken.