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Along the drop-off in the Bunakens, where the sea drops into infinity.

Paradise from left field

Sulawesi oceanswimsafari, June 12-21, 2018

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We had a terrific time on our first Sulawesi oceanswimsafaris in 2016 and 2017. The water was idyllic; the weather superb; and the swimming was very, very good. In 2018, our Sulawesi tour is in June, prior to the school holidays.

Sulawesi is one of the places that is right out of left field; a place you've probably never heard of, let alone been to. Or even considered as a destination. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with it. It just means that, for those from the antipodes, it's very much at the exotic end of the spectrum.

Sulawesi is the funny-shaped Indonesian island at the bottom of the Celebes Sea, perched between Papua, Borneo and The Philippines. Western visitors -- usually just Dutch and German -- commonly are divers, and that’s how we heard about this area: from a diving friend who swims. They told us, it’s perfect for an oceanswimsafari.

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Ths islands through the peephole, our resort pool, where we rinse off after a day's swimming.

Our area of interest is at the very nor’-eastern tip of Sulawesi, around the city of Manado. It’s a predominately Christian part of Indonesia, and most western visitors tend to be European – Dutch, German, Swiss. But very few Australians or Kiwis.

Our accommodation is an eight-room resort with “chalets” that range up the hill. oceanswimsafarists eat together on a Captain’s table (although you can have something set up for yourself, if you like) on an Indonesian feast each night, gazing out from the steep hillside over the fishing boat-bobbing sea.

The shoreline is steep, so the resort has spectacular views out over the Celebes Sea towards the Bunaken Islands, a national park, with pristine water that’s warm and clear, and teeming with sea life. We lost count of the number of turtles that glided by, distracted by the big tuna, the trevally, the coral. Just above the equator, the water is warm. We saw nothing untoward during our visit, apart from a reef shark or two -- and they're not that interested in us -- despite swimming along the drop-off from reefs where you couldn’t see the bottom. The sea just went down, and down.

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Fish farms in the sea.

From our resort, the dominant feature of the Bunaken Islands is Pulau Manadotua, an island volcano. Each day, we venture out on the resort's dive boat, which is our swim boat. There’ll be four day trips to swim along the reefs. We’ll have two day trips on land, one a tour of the highlands behind Manado with more volcanos and Danau Tondano, an enormous highland lake, locals towns and markets. The lake’s shores are lined with seafood restaurants. We’ll have lunch at one of them. We’ll visit the Extreme Market. That really is what it’s called. What do they mean by “Extreme”? Fancy some python?

We’ll go whitewater rafting: 9km down the river, then we'll dine at a seafood restaurant.

One of the highlights of this oceanswimsafari is the food. Our resort's chef prepares exciting food, different each night, using an array of fresh, local ingredients.

Despite the remote location, Manado is easy to get to: through Singapore, from where Singapore Airlines’ regional carrier, Silk Air, flies direct to Manado. Going up, there’s an overnight in Singapore, which is not hard to take. But coming back it’s usually possible to come straight through with as short as a three-hour layover in Singapore.

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Cobbers escort us back to base after a day's swimming.

Our package

We’re allowing an overnight in Singapore on the way to Manado, but we plan to come straight back without the need for an overnight. We’ll have seven nights in Sulawesi. It’s an eight-night oceanswimsafari to a place you’d never otherwise visit.

  • Dates - June 12-21
  • 1 night Singapore, incl. breakfast
  • 7 nights Manado (Sulawesi)
  • All meals while in Sulawesi
  • Four swim day excursions (two swims each day, lunch aboard)
  • Two day excursions – Highlands Tour and Whitewater rafting
  • Airport transfers

Package costs range from $A2,898 to $A3,385 pp Twin or Double, or $A3,266 to $A3,928 single depending on room type chosen.

There are three basic room types: free-standing chalets, duplex, and triplex. Contact us for more info.

Space is very limited on this oceanswimsafari. We plan to fill the resort so that its resources can be devoted solely to our requirements.

If you prefer, you can go diving on land excursion days (at own cost).

We keep our package costs under review continuously and reserve the right to adjust them in line with movements in exchange rates and individual cost components.

Airfares are not included, because they vary and depend on rates at the time of booking. You can get to Singapore however you like, but it's important that you are on a particular flight from Singapore to Manado. We will advise you on this when you book with us. The key is that we all must be in Singapore on the evening of Tuesday, June 12, so that we can connect on to Manado in the morning of June 13, 2018.

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Time for a drink.

Enquiries and bookings


oceanswimsafaris.com/oceanswims.com are your tour operators handling all your bookings in association with this tour. We lead this oceanswimsafari ourselves.

When you wish to make enquiries... Click here

When you're ready to book, please first check terms and conditions... Click here

When you've checked our Terms and Conditions, you will be ready to lodge your Booking Form... Click here

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We lost count of these, snoozing on ledges on the drop-off.

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High on the hill, our resort.

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