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BUDGET DIVING BIRA, SOUTH SULAWESI by Andrew Falconer

 

BIRA, SOUTH SULAWESI: Bira Dive Camp http://www.biradivecamp.com
Bira is a small town located on the southwestern tip of Sulawesi, and can only be reached by a five-hour road trip (taxi) from Makassar airport. Despite this, it is worth visiting as it is laid back, with good diving, and a nice white sand beach.

 

The location of Bira in relation to Sulawesi

 

 

All the diving is by boat and is mostly centered around Kamping island, which is about 30 minutes away, and other closer sites, including a house reef. There are about eight main dive sites, so as the boat trips involve double dives the area can be covered in four days.

 

 

White tip reef shark at Bira

A scorpion fish close up at Bira

 

 

Although the sites have suffered the usual fate of over fishing in Indonesia, I managed to see a number of white tip reef sharks around Kamping island. At certain times of the year pelagic species can be seen, but not when I was there.



A white spotted moray eel

An inquisitive blue puffer fish



There were also quite a lot of other interesting reef inhabitants, such as scorpion fish, moray eels, along with the usual reef fishes, such as blue tooth triggerfish

 

 

The visibility was around 10-15 metres, and the sponges and corals were quite good

 

 

The sea temperature was around 28 degrees, with very little current, making diving relaxing. Visibility was average, coral mostly in good condition around Kamping island, and the house reef.

 

 

Nudibranche close up

A flatworm swimming gracefully by

 

 

There were plenty of macro opportunities both during the day and on the house reef night dive.

 

 

Looking up at a diver from a swim through

The beach at Bira with dive boat

 

 

The Bira dive camp was located next to the beach; the bungalow accommodation was good (there is also a dormitory), the food rather basic (although there was a very good restaurant nearby) and the staff friendly and professional. There are also opportunities for a few land excursions nearby. The trip and diving Bira was combined with a trip and diving at Palu (separate article) with the overall cost of this two week trip from Perth including 17 dives, accommodation and transportation being $AUD2,500.

 

 

NOVEMBER 2017