DIVING BIRA , SELAYAR &
Access to the Takabonerate group is from the far southern tip
of the island of Sulawesi at the small beach resort town of Bira. Takabonerate
is the third largest coral atoll in the world.
Spread over 2,220 square kilometers in the Flores Sea south of
the island of Sulawesi, Takabonerate is the largest atoll in Indonesia and the
third largest in the world. The 21 small islands of Takabonerate offer nesting
areas for sea turtles, which thrive here on the huge meadows of sea
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.
Our dive starts at 2-3 meters over the reef top and then swim out over the
outer wall of the atoll. 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.
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.
Four hours south of the city and
airport of Ujung Pandang, lie the historical port and beachs of Bira, Ara and
Tanah Beru, home of the Bugis people. The passage of water between Selayar and
the beach of Bira, provides some of the best wall dives in the region. The
reefs of Selayar are still being explored but will prove to be of equal
quality. When weather permits, the Coral Atoll of Takabonerate provides some of
the best diving in Indonesia.
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