The island of Sulawesi in Indonesia has a unique shape that creates a large gulf in the middle of the north side. This gulf is called Tomini. Lately, Gulf of Tomini is discovered as an amazing diving site with world class quality for having high biodiversity and pristine nature. With the area of about six millions hectares, Gulf of Tomini is the largest gulf in Indonesia.

The Gulf of Tomini (Source: Flickr. Credit: 1400Wild)
The Gulf of Tomini
(Source: Flickr. Credit: 1400Wild)

To Get There

The Gulf of Tomini is easiest to be reached from Gorontalo. To get there, you can get a flight to Jallaludin Airport. Flight from Jakarta City is available everyday as well as from Surabaya, Makassar, and Manado. Other choice of transportation is by using ships or boats. There are three ports in Gorontalo; Anggrek Port, Kwandang Port, and Crossing Port.

 

To Stay

In Gorontalo, you can easily find almost any kinds of accommodation with ranging rates. Here are some of those:

  • Quality Hotel Gorontalo at Jalan A. Yani, Gorontalo. Phone: +62 435 822222.
  • Saronde Hotel at Jalan Walanda Marmis, Gorontalo. Phone: +62 435 824144
  • Yulia Hotel at Jalan Ahmad Yani, Gorontalo. Phone: +62 435 828395
  • Wisata Hotel at Jalan 23 Januari, Gorontalo. Phone: +62 435 821736
  • Krawang City Hotel at Jalan Basuki Rahmat, Gorontalo. Phone: +62 435 822437
  • Citra Hotel at Jalan Merdeka. Phone: (0435) 821249

 

Gulf of Tomini

Gulf of Tomini covers the area of six million hectares. It is bounded by Minahasa Peninsula. On the eastern side, the gulf meets the open Molucca Sea.  Thus, the gulf is classified as semi-enclosed water. This condition brings several benefits to the gulf. First, is that the gulf has stable current that makes the objects safe and comfortable enough for diving. Second, pelagic marine life becomes very lively and varied.

The third benefit for being a large semi-enclosed water is that this gulf becomes the best habitat for plenty species of corals to live. World Ocean Conference and Coral Triangle Initiative Summit has agreed to note the Gulf of Tomini as the Heart of Coral Triangle. Overall, there are about 500 species of coral noted to live on this amazing gulf.

One of the Unique Coral in Gulf of Tomini (Source: Flickr. Credit: Lorenzo Michelini)
One of the Unique Coral in Gulf of Tomini
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Lorenzo Michelini)

The depth is varied and can reach up to 4,000 meters deep with several walls of vertical drops. The walls are great spots for diving as you can find various species of sea animals and corals. Do not get surprised if you encounter some sharks, whales, trevallies, and even dolphins.

The formations of the walls are also fascinating as you may see some caverns, holes, and cracks. Most of them were formed due to massive natural erosion from the ancient reefs. You may also find some hill-like formation on the base of the gulf.

Two Divers on the Coral Wall (Source: Flickr. Credit: wawan manglie wawan)
Two Divers on the Coral Wall
(Source: Flickr. Credit: wawan manglie wawan)

And as for the diving activity, there are plenty of world-class diving spots thorough The Gulf of Tomini. Some of those are:

  • Japanese Cargo Wreck

In 1942, when Japan started invading Indonesia, a big cargo ship of Japan sunk at the Gulf of Tomini. The wrecks have never been pulled out. It now lies at the depth of 50 meters and becomes an attractive spots for wreck diving.

  • Mirabella

Mirabella is a spot where there are several pinnacles with various sizes. They rise beautifully from the white sand slope and corals. This spot is quite popular due to its unique formation.

  • Traffic Circle

The name of this diving spot literally represents the nature condition of this spot. Traffic Circle is a spot where the marine life has various ecosystems of corals, fishes, and other unique sea creatures.

 

Interesting Objects

Though we have already mentioned several popular diving spots, but as you have known, this gulf is very vast. Thus, there must be way more interesting objects available on this area. Some of these objects even have other fascinating diving spots that would be worth exploring.

  • Olele Marine Park

Olele Marine Park is a wonderful marine tourism object within The Gulf of Tomini. It is located on Olele Village, about 20 kilometers away from the city of Gorontalo. You can get there by land for about 50 minutes by taking public transportation or rented car. Or, you can rent a speedboat and get there through the water for about 30 minutes away.

A Spot on Olele Marine Park (Source: Flickr. Credit: wawan manglie wawan)
A Spot on Olele Marine Park
(Source: Flickr. Credit: wawan manglie wawan)

Being a marine park, Olele indeed has plenty of wonderful diving spots. Some popular ones are beehive (coral flower with the shape similar to a bee hive), coral pole, and Salvador Dali (where there are sponge coral similar to the surreal paintings made by famous artist, Salvador Dali). But the most popular spot is Jinn Cave.

Jinn Cave is a cavern located in the middle of a coral wall. This vertical cavern is very deep; it is up to 22 meters below. But the formation is stunning as with lots of unique corals and hundreds of small fishes in any colors.

  • Saronde Island

Other wonderful object on Gulf of Tomini is an island called Saronde. It is located on North Gorontalo, about 65 kilometers away from the city. It will take about one hour to reach this island using traditional boat called “ketinting”. If you use speedboat, the trip will be much shorter.

The Beach at Saronde Island (Source: Flickr. Credit: ShintaBastian Zaini)
The Beach at Saronde Island
(Source: Flickr. Credit: ShintaBastian Zaini)

The beach around Saronde Island is the most perfect spot for snorkeling. Numerous species of corals are plain to see in the depth no more than 150 centimeters. The environment of this island is also beautiful that many people like to camp there. Every once in a while, art events are being held on this island, either it is national or international events.

  • Floating Village of Bajo Tribe

Bajo Tribe is a native tribe of Gorontalo who live above the water. Their life is very depending on the sea. They used to live nomadically on a traditional ship or settle on a floating house. Most of them are fishermen. Visiting this village is very interesting as you can see their unique way of life. The local people are very friendly and open to tourists, even the foreigner tourists who don’t understand the language.

The Floating Village of Bajo (Source: Flickr. Credit: Ma Poupoule)
The Floating Village of Bajo
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Ma Poupoule)
  • Togean Archipelago

Other fascinating object within the Gulf of Tomini is Togean Archipelago. This archipelago is located a little bit on the southern side of the gulf. To be exact, it is on the Province of Central Sulawesi. The archipelago has so many beautiful tourism object and diving spots. Further information regarding this archipelago would be discussed further on a separated article. Please check out our next article to find out the wonder of Togean Archipelago.

 

Tips

  • Best season for diving is around November to April
  • Best season to encounter the dolphins is around February to April
  • For exploring the gulf, you can rent some equipment such as:
    • Snorkeling equipment : about $37.25 to $75
    • Diving equipment : about $19
    • Boats to travel around the water : about $19

 

Exploring the marine life in Indonesia would never be boring as we have plenty unique spots to offer. Gulf of Tomini is one of the best choices. There are many objects on this area are waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

 

other related articles

10 Tourism Destinations in Makassar

Indonesian Marine Tourism, A Treasure to Find