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Night Diving and Nocturnal Critters in North Sulawesi

North Sulawesi is famous for it’s incredible marine biodiversity – and this diversity doesn’t just include the 1000’s of marine species which can be found here. North Sulawesi is home to three very distinct diving destinations. Highlights of these regions feature phenomenal walls, sea trenches of over a 1km deep and healthy resident populations of turtles around Bunaken Island; kaleidoscopic reefs which are adorned with soft corals and home to schooling fish around Bangka Island; and finally the “Critter Capital of the World” in the Lembeh Strait which is where you’ll find the greatest abundance of rare and unusual marine life on the planet.

Night diving

Night diving reveals a world of new and exciting marine life species

Between these areas you’ll also find migrating sperm whales, pilot whale and dolphin pods and even dugongs. North Sulawesi is definitely a diving hotspot within the Coral Triangle.

Great diving locations are a 24hour business. Marine life does not call it a day when the sun starts to set after the last dive of the day – in fact for many of our marine species this is when they just kick into action! Night diving in North Sulawesi is a must for anyone who wants to see all that this region has to offer. Whether you are staying at Murex Manado, Murex Bangka or taking a Passport to Paradise and visiting the Lembeh Strait during your stay, all three of these regions must be explored at night if you want to catch a glimpse of some of our most iconic critters.


Big Fin Reef Fish Night Diving

Big Fin Reef Fish are common when night diving North Sulawesi

Big Fin Reef Squid

Some species on night dives you really don’t have to look too hard to find because they find you! Big fin reef squid are often curious about night divers’ lights in the shallows and will come to investigate. We usually see this squid species close to boat mooring ropes on which they will often lay their eggs.


Bobtail squid

Bobtail squid nestle down on the sand and it takes an expert Dive Guide to spot them

Bobtail Squid

Unlike the big fin reef squid which prefers to be in the water column, the tiny bobtail squid prefers to keep itself firmly on the bottom – where it will often burrow into the sand for camouflage. This stunning species displays a variety of colors under torch light.


Parrotfish night dives

Parrotfish create bubbles made from their own spit to protect them at night

Parrotfish in Bubbles

Numerous species of parrotfish are spotted around our reefs during daylight hours. At night they have the unusual habit of hiding within the corals and creating a net-like shield around them – made from their own spit. It’s quite a sight.


Moray night diving

Moray eels are active at night as opposed to the day when they hide in crevices

Moray Eels

While moray eels are not rare or unusual to see during the day, by night they emerge from the reef and are often spotted swimming in the open as they go out hunting for food. This is finally your chance to see an entire eel and not just it’s head!



Stargazer – only a face a mother could love…


This is one of the most iconic nocturnal critters found in North Sulawesi – and quite possibly one of the ugliest. The stargazer will partially burrow into the sandy bottom composition and lay in wait for unsuspecting prey (small fish and crustaceans) to swim overhead. When a victim comes into close range, the stargazer will launch it’s attack.


Night Diving Sulawesi

Species living in symbiosis are often seen in North Sulawesi – this Spanish dancer & emperor shrimps are a perfect example

Spanish Dancer – (and Emperor Shrimp)

One of the best dive sites for spotting Spanish Dancers is our Murex Manado House Reef. Spanish Dancers are often accompanied by “hitch hikers” such as emperor shrimp. Look carefully as you may be able to view two species in one sighting!


Night dive North Sulawesi

Starry night octopus – need we say more??

Starry Night Octopus

The starry night octopus takes it’s name from the beautiful, white, star-like spots on it’s body. This secretive critter is rarely seen through the day and as one of the highlights of diving in North Sulawesi it’s definitely worth night diving for a sighting.


Night Dive Sulawesi

Night dive North Sulawesi and discover even more of our incredible underwater world


So are you ready to dive into the depths of North Sulawesi after the sun goes down? At Murex Dive Resorts our expert team of marine biology trained dive guides will be by your side every critter of the way. To make a reservation or for more information, please contact us on [email protected] 

We look forward to hearing from you and diving with you soon.


Dive, Snorkel and Explore More with us in beautiful North Sulawesi.

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