A short distance north of the Bunaken Marine Park lies another cluster of small, coral-ringed islands. The prolific reefs around Bangka and her neighbours, Gangga and Talise are close enough to the Manado area to be dived in a day trip and are well worth the time spent travelling up to them.
Although they aren't far from the coastline, these small islands sit above the northern-most tip of Sulawesi in quite an exposed position. This means they are subject to a variety of currents that flow in from both the north and from the Pacific Ocean to the east. Consequently, the scuba diving around Bangka can be challenging at times, but the conditions attract bigger pelagic species while ensuring that both hard and soft coral growth is outstanding.
Although Bangka isn't as well known to divers than the famed Bunaken-Manado stretch or even the Lembeh Straits on the opposite side of Sulawesi, there are some outstanding dives here with protected sites in small bays that reveal great critter life, sandy slopes and the incredible, dramatic pinnacles just off Bangka itself.