From the blog

Whales & Dolphins in Bunaken National Marine Park

Whales and dolphins around Bunaken National Park

The waters around Lumbalumba Resort are a popular place for whales and dolphins, these, sometimes huge, wonders of nature. On our daily trips to Bunaken Marine Park we frequently observe them real close to our dive boat. We haven’t discovered a particular season, but its a fact that on calm days, which is normally the situation, we see them more often than on choppy days. This is simply a matter that on a mirror flat sea, spotting is easier than when there are waves…..

Which dolphins do we spot?

The species we spot most frequent are 3 varieties of Spinner dolphins (Stenella). Striped-, Pantropical spotted- and Longsnout spinner dolphin, often in mixed groups of over 200 individuals. When they are around, it has proven a wise thing, to keep your eyes open for larger cousin’s as Shortfin pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), False killer whale (pseudorca crassidens), Melonheaded whale (Peponocephala electra) and Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata).

Other oceanic cetaceans we often observe are Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) and Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

Dolphins swimming in front of our dive boat

Sperm whales & Orca’s

Absolute top sightings are Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and Orca (Orcinus orca). Sperm whales, we have about 5 to 10 sightings per year. What we mostly see are the calves with their mothers and “aunties” and now and than a so-called bachelors group of young males. We had various, real spectacular encounters with them and on one occasion a 12 metre giant even breached out of the water, less than a meter metres away from the boat! In May 2015 we saw for the first time a male Sperm whale. Adult males are normally solitaire and stay in colder water. Only for mating they go to the tropical seas. They are even more spectacular because they are much bigger then the females.

Sperm whale sighting during our crossing to Bunaken Island

Orca’s we have spotted less but reports from fishermen over the years, seem to point in the direction that there is a fairly steady pod of about 6 individuals that visit this area.

Every time we see something its not always possible to make a positive identification.We write down in a file what we see, but do not always know what it was. That is not uncommon with observations concerning cetaceans since, in spite their size, some of them show often only a small part of their body and often only for a few seconds.

Snorkeling with pilot whales

Most scientists recognize 79 species. Some are, very shy and/or rare and not much is known about them. Researchers believe that there are many more species that live in and around our waters than the ones we have mentioned here. We have a good collection of books in our library, wish you want to know more about cetaceans.

Also, would we be more than happy to share our personal knowledge with you.
Doesn’t it give the journey to our dive spots an extra dimension, knowing that at any moment, at any time, you can have an unbelievable encounter with one of these Mother’s Nature beautiful creatures…………?

If you want to see and read more, check out the next link:

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Location: Lumbalumba Resort Manado

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