Saturday, 24 September 2011

South Sulawesi : Selayar and Takabonerate dive paradise

Selayar island is the center of maritime tourism in South Sulawesi province, it is supported by the National Marine Park Takabonerate which has the third largest atoll in the world, after the Marshall Islands and the Maldives. Selayar sits in the Flores Sea and is the gateway to Takabonerate National Sea Park. The beach on Selayar island have a white sand and clear water. You can swim or just relax on the beach while enjoying the natural beauty around Selayar island. In addition to the green hills, you can also see the cluster of rocks called the edge or fringing reef that extends seaward as far as 200 meters. Reef edge cluster is only visible when the sea water was receding. Cluster is adjacent to the edge of the coral reef barrier or a very wide reef barrier, the area is called Takabonerate.


Even more interesting in this Selayar Island is very strategic to conduct maritime activities throughout the year, where the west when the season arrives, activities such as diving, snorkeling, fishing can be done on the east coast of the island Selayar. Vice versa when the season arrives east then the activity can be done on the west coast of Selayar island.

If you want to dive, at the seaside resort island of Selayar there that provide facilities for diving. In addition to the Bali and Raja Ampat Islands, Irian Jaya, you can enjoy the underwater world charm that is not less amazing from Selayar Island. Selayar Island is famous for its underwater beauty and wealth. Selayar District itself has a coral reef with an area of about 1 million hectares or 50% of the total area Selayar District. The unique barrier and fringe reefs allow for exploration, as well as the challenge of steep walled drop-offs.

Many divers say the diving environment is more beautiful than Bunaken National Park in Northern Sulawesi, which enjoys developed tourism and is promoted successfully to the world. Selayar on the other hand is a gem of unspoilt beauty, pristine nature and clear waters; a secret find on planet earth. The diving around Selayar Island, especially the extensive atolls of Takabonerate east of the island, is said to be some of the best in Indonesia, which is really saying something.


There are just two dive resorts on the island, although there may also be one on the mainland of Sulawesi near the island. Getting to Selayar involves flying to Makassar, then driving to Bira on the south coast of Sulawesi, and finally taking a boat to your resort. The resorts will handle all the arrangements for your transfer.
Selayar Island Dive Resorts
Takabonerate lies southwest of Selayar island . Spread over 2,220 square kilometer (21 small islands) in the Flores Sea, there are coral reef and seagrass ecosystems. The atoll offers some very good wall diving. Visibility is normally around 30 meter. The atoll rises sharply from the side of a submerged ridge 2,000 meter below the surface. It is said to have been a huge volcano, that has since subsided, leaving a wide ring of coral.  Diving is normaly done in the untouched areas. There seem to be a lot of fish such as the wahoo, barracuda, giant trevally, marlin, sailfish, yellowfins, dogtooth tuna and mackerels. There are some nesting areas for sea turtles on the islands.


DIVE SITES:

This drift drive offers excellent visibility of about 30 meters and a massive population of lion fish. The wall drops to about 50 meters with a rather strong current caused by the mixing of waters from the east and west coasts of this elongated island. The atoll rises sharply from the side of a submerged ridge 2,000 meters below the surface. Once a huge volcano, it has since subsided, leaving a wide ring of coral. The waters inside the atoll are magnificent turquoise, surrounded by the deepest blue imaginable. And they are rich with 158 species of unique corals.Visibility is normally about 30 meters and the wall seems to extend downward forever. The growth of cirak and garganians was excellent and schools of jacks cruise the wall. In the huge cuts and crevices in the wall, we see giant groupers, Napoleon wrasses, sea turtles, lion fish and moray eels.


How to get there :




Makassar, South Sulawesi to Selayar Island
Road/Ferry: Makassar to Selayar by rental car/bus /ferry combination – 8-9 hours
Air: SMAC Air Charter - Makassar to Selayar (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) – 40 mins
SMAC Office in Selayar (0414) 21361/081355222282
Selayar Airport (0414) 2700099/085242016932
SMAC do not have a website. It is highly recommended to make arrangements through the local tourism office.

Accommodation

Selayar Island Resort – Baloyia Beach – 9 kms from Benteng
www.selayarislandresort.com
The resort is located about mid-way down the west coast of the island, and has a dive center on the east coast as well. Rooms have air conditioning and many other modern conveniences. Offers beachfront bungalow accommodation and access to 50 world-class dive sites, sloops and walls

Selayar Dive Resort
Located on the east coast near the southern tip of the island. There's a mix of accommodations on offer, some with air conditioning. Swiss and German management.

The Culture and Tourism Office of Selayar Regency

www.selayartourism.com
Lists several hotels, guesthouses, cottages and home-stays in Benteng. The friendly staff can answer any of your questions, arrange a tour guide, liaise with SMAC air, arrange traditional wooden boats trips and recommend restaurants. Most speak English

Annual Takabonerate Island Festival
www.takabonerate.net
Selayar Island has hosted the The Takabonerate Island Expedition since 2009. The festival is held in October every year. Highlights of the festival includes an International Fishing Competition (open to everyone), a Cultural Festival featuring music and dance from the 23 different regencies of Sulawesi and an Underwater Exhibition, including 300 naval divers competing in technical dive techniques



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