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Having a Whale of a time at Murex

Here at Murex in Manado we are exceptionally fortunate to be positioned on the Manado coastline looking directly over to Bunaken which not only means we have access to all of the best dive sites, it also means that we are situated along the migratory route for sperm whales and we also have resident pods of pilot whales in the area. Outside of our resort is one of the best spots for whale sightings and although the sperm whale sightings are seasonal, pilot whale sightings are all year round.

Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Manado Bay

A group of Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Manado Bay

Our most recent sighting was just last week when our divers returned from their two dive morning trip to Bunaken and spotted the whales behind the boat as it was arriving at the resort. The boat captain turned the boat to give the divers the best chance of seeing these amazing marine mammals and the sight was incredible – a pod of pilot whales lobtailing!

Short finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) are a relatively small species of whale which grow up to 5.5 metres if male and 3.7 metres if female. These “small” whales can weigh anything from 1,000 to 3,000kgs! They are often mistaken for large dolphins – particularly as they are a social species which live in pods of from 10 – 50 individuals.

Short finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in Manado bay

Short finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in Manado bay very close to the resort

Pilot whales feed on a diet of squid, octopus and some smaller fish. They are usually found in deep tropical waters which makes the Manado Bay area an ideal location for them. Pilot whales are also known as the “cheetahs of the deep” because of the speed at which they have been known to hunt squid at depths of 300 meters or more.

The video below was shot in front of Murex Manado and at 33 seconds in see if you can spot “Finley” – he’s one of our recognizable individuals who is easy to identify due to his missing dorsal fin.

Sperm whales are a much larger species which we see, primarily between March and April and again between August and September which is when the bulls are migrating to and from their breeding grounds. The bulls can grow up to 16 metres and can weigh up to an astonishing 45 tons. The females tend to be a little bit smaller, up to 12 metres long and weigh “only” 16 tons. Sperm whales are a deep diving species and they reach depths ordinarily of up to 600 meters but it is thought that they occasionally dive as deep as 3,000 meters. We have had some incredible sperm whale sightings over the years including one where an individual bull took an interest in our boat and came to say hello to us! Make sure to watch all to the end of the video below!

Whilst we cannot guarantee whale sightings while you are here in resort one thing we can guarantee is that if you are lucky enough to see one of these species it will be an encounter that you won’t forget!

To find out more about our diving packages for diving in Bunaken and Manado Bay contact us at
Why not stay for longer and explore Bangka Island too? Do you have a thirst for adventure? Join us for a Passport to Paradise and dive all 3 of our distinct destinations in one trip: Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh. Epic walls, stunning reefs and the world’s best muck in one trip. Our unique program takes the hassle out of changing locations by turning transfer days into diving days. Board the boat at one resort, make 2 dives along the way and arrive at your next beautiful destination. No gear drying or packing, just seamless transfers and who knows? Maybe a whale along the route!

 Pilot Whales at Bangka Island

A pod of Pilot Whales photographed while snorkeling around Bangka Island


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