Batas Kota – Coral Spotting
Batas Kota is an incredible coral spotting dive site on the border of Manado city. The site is located a five-minute boat ride from the Murex Manado Resort along the coastline of Manado Bay. While still outside of Bunaken National Park this dive site has an incredible diversity of corals, and an absolute must see for anyone diving in Manado.
This is a perfect dive for your last of the day, and a perfect spot for new divers as it is quite shallow, with a gentle sandy slope. The dive starts around 5m and you can descend to 18m with the best corals between 7-10m depth.
To understand why this reef has such incredible health it’s interesting to look at the Bathymetry of Manado Bay. The center of Manado Bay reaches a depth of 1.6km or 1600m, perhaps even deeper. This makes for a huge volume of water and deep upwelling current which flush nutrient rich clean water along the deep walls of the Bunaken National Park, but also along the coast of Manado Bay. This constant supply of rich water keeps the reef close to shore healthy.
Another cool feature of this dive site is the expansive coral garden planted in August 2015 for a Guiness Book of World Records. Over 500 divers attached little coral pieces to specially designed racks which are now thriving in the shallowest part of the reef. Check out this great video from Pim Van Schendel showing before and after of the coral transplantation efforts.
Our recommendation is to start your dive over these frames and then swim west toward the natural reef descending over the reef crest.
At first, you will find lots of brown branching Acropora formosa corals, mixed with colorful blue Acropora intermedia. Then you can see flower shaped petals of plating Echinopora lamellosa corals, and little yellow toadstool Sarcophyton corals in the sand.
Above the expansive hills of coral, there are schools of chromis fish. Inside the coral colonies, you can also find some magnificent sea anemones, in bright blue, purple, and even red.
One thing you will recognize at this site is just the size of everything. All the colonies must be quite old just considering their size. After the soft corals you start noticing some HUGE colony of plating Acropora cytherea, mountainous colonies of Euphyllia ancora, as well as a large pale purple Turbinaria paltata.
When the corals are this big sometimes you really have to take a step back, or rather a fin back to appreciate just how big, old, and healthy this reef truly is.
And to think this is only located right offshore from a quickly developing city… To be honest the coral was just so nice at this site I kinda lost track of what I was doing and stopped taking pictures after that! Lucky Pim was also taking video of our dive 🙂
It’s important that places like this are protected and don’t fall victim to rapid coastal development.
Next time you are in Manado, make sure to plan a few dives close to shore, there are no promises on visibility, which can be depending on the rain and currents, however, we’re sure you will be blown away by these incredible coral reefs even with low vis.
Thanks to Pim Van Schendel and Murex Dive Resorts for showing us around Northern Sulawesi, and of course sharing these videos of Batas Kota.