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BUDGET DIVING AT PALU, CENTRAL SULAWESI by Andrew Falconer

 

PALU CENTRAL SULAWESI: Prince John Dive Resort http://www.prince-john-dive-resort.com
Palu is a city located in Central Sulawesi, located on the western side of a narrow land mass. There are regular daily flights from Makassar. The dive resort is located at the tip of the bay about one hour by taxi from the airport.

 

The location of Palu in relation to Sulawesi

 

 

The dive resort with the unusual name (“Prince John” was the favorite son of the original owners), is well set up and is run very professionally by a German couple. Located beside a beach all diving is by boat with either single or double dives. There is also the opportunity to do overnight dive expeditions by boat or car further away

 

 

Many reef sharks were seen at south atoll

A group of large hump heads at coral garden

 

 

On my first dive we encountered at least six black / white tip reef sharks, which kept circling back around attracted by our dive guide hitting a plastic water bottle with his hand. On another dive we saw a group of six large hump head parrotfish.



Nudibranch and Denise pygmy seahorse



On the macro side there was plenty of interest including a Denise pygmy seahorse, and nudibranches.

 

 

Strong current at coral garden

The dive resort had lots of amenities

 

 

There was a strong current at one of the sites. Visibility in general was 10-15 metres, and sea temperature 29-30 degrees. The dive resort had several types of bungalows, a restaurant with great food, library and camera room. After two days diving (total four dives), I went in a small group by car to the other side of the narrow Sulawesi land mass (three hour trip over mountains) to dive in the Tomini Gulf near Toboli, in an area know for its good visibility and corals.

 

 

Unique Salvador Dali coral

A large cabbage coral

 

 

Unfortunately the visibility did not live up to its name, being similar to that of the west coast, although the corals were quite spectacular. Included in these were the Salvador Dali coral, which is unique to the area.

 

 

Some large trumpet corals

Three inquisitive squids

 

 

Fish life was restricted mostly to small reef fish due again to overfishing. The trip consisted of four dives and overnight accommodation and meals in a hotel. The trip and diving Palu was combined with a trip and diving at Bira (separate article) with the overall cost of this two week trip from Perth including 17 dives, accommodation and transportation being $AUD2,500.

 

 

NOVEMBER 2017