Living Colors Dive
(If you are too short of time to read my detailed report, you can also jump directly down to a summary with recommendation)
Our wonderful stay at the Living Colors Diving Resort 2011 brought us to book again this year the same bungalow. Unfortunately, it was only available for 6 days because we were too late.
We could carry along with our luggage overland by motorbike this time. Already at our arrival, we had the sure feeling that we had made the right decision. We enjoyed the short time very intensely and were happy that nothing had changed in the two years. The owners Mia and Jaakko, as well as the entire team took care of their guests in the same way. Especially we like to remember very nice other German guests Monika and Uli, Dany and André with whom I shared terrific diving experiences.
A special highlight were this year again - the meals. The choice of delicious food was always so wide that it was hard to try everything before we were full.
Entering our bungalow we had almost a homelike feeling. Everything was as usual. As if we would have been just short times away.
So I cannot report you any news besides of some improvements (stairs to the beach has been remodelled, some bungalows renovated ..).In this respect, the following report from the year 2011 is still up-to-date.
The Living Colors Dive Resort 2011
Who has booked via Internet, is on request picked up at the airport by car and is brought from Manado harbour to the Resort on Bunaken by boat. Because we stayed, however, already on Bunaken and had rented our own diveboat (KURNIA), we could be taken with it directly to the Resort. It is not easy to discover from the sea, because it lies hidden behind mangroves*. We had waited for high tide, because thus we could go to the beach directly by a narrow cutting.
* The mangroves are in the Bunaken National Park under protection, because they are not only an important habitat for water birds, mussels, crabs, snails, fish, but also function as a coastal defence.
Warm welcome - moving in our bungalow
While we were warmly welcomed by Mia, the Finnish owner and manager, as well as by the dive inctructors Arnica and Al, an employee already brought our luggage up to our bungalow. We took a cool drink at the beach bar and filled out the standard forms. Then we were accompanied upstairs to our bungalow past the restaurant.
Because we had not booked from Germany, almost all bungalows were already taken at our arrival, so that we could move only into the free family bungalow. This consisted of a common anteroom with access to two separate bedrooms and the common bathroom. We reached the big veranda via a wooden stair. Inside there followed the living area with an upholstered seat group with sofa, a computer desk, a chest of drawers with many drawers, a mobile fan and a water dispenser with cool Aqua.
The bedrooms were accessible by two separate doors. One with the double bed was prepared for us and we already realized at first sight that we were welcome here as guests. The double bed was lovingly prepared and decorated with fresh blossoms and towels. The room was simple, but very tastefully furnished with a ceiling fan, a big wardrobe, a special lighting for reading in the bed and many outlets. The spacious bathroom was built with mortar walls and a tiled ground and was equipped with a European toilet, hot-water shower (gas boiler) and a wash basin with mirror, as well as a tray for our utensils.
We did not use the second bedroom. With its two single beds it was planned for children, farther family members or friends.
After we had stowed away all our luggage in the wardrobe and the chests of drawers, I began to make use of my desk in the living area. Here was enough room to use my Netbook. I could pack away again the brought outlet strip for the loading of my many electric devices, because enough outlets were available here - an advantage which I appreciated very much in comparison to other Resorts . Even mosquito protection was provided. The rooms were protected with screen, so that we needed no mosquito net. In addition, we found repellents for rubbing, as well as spirals for expelling of the mosquitoes on the veranda.
Before the dinner we wanted to take a shower and change clothes. After our experiences in different Resorts we were curious whether the bath also fulfilled our expectations. And indeed: The toilet had a stable seat, the rinse worked and from the shower flowed out water with enough pressure. However, the use of the gas boiler needed some practise. If one did not master the precise setting, the water either was not hot enough or one ran the risk of scalding oneself. The downward gradient of the floor was only little, so that the shower water ran off only very slowly. But luckily a water wiper was ready with which one could help.
Then on our veranda we sat down in the comfortable armchairs and for the first time we enjoyed the calmness far away from the street and from generators, until at approx. 19 o'clock a gentle voice called to the dinner: "Ibu, Papa, Dinner is ready".
When we reached the restaurant, some guests had already taken a seat at one of two long tables. Partially they were still busy with their laptops examining their UW photos of the day or to surf on the Internet. Here was because of the nearness to the router the best WiFi connection. Unfortunately, at that time the WiFi repeater had broken down after a thunderstorm, so that in the further distant bungalows the signals were too weak for Internet access.
We chose two seats at a table with German compatriots and proceeded to the buffet. There waited a choice of attractive presented Indonesian and international dishes for us: Rice, fish dishes, poultry and tasty vegetables. Besides various sauces and sambal were ready for spice up. As a dessert there were bananas, pineapple chunks and cut papayas with lemon juice.
From the fridge one could help oneself with beer and soft drinks. After taking the guest entered them in a put out book. As a free variant a dispenser with cool Aqua was available.
Already after the first bites, we could see that there was not promised too much with regard to the cook Aldy on the website of the Resort. Food looked not only appetizing, it was also very tasty and varied. And especially important to us: The ingredients were high-quality and fresh. One could notice this above all with Sate and chicken (otherwise Mia and Jaakko would not have eaten even in the restaurant as well. Also the fact that the dishes were offered always hotly revealed the European influence of the owners. And as we got to know by conversation with guests, vegetarians also got completely at their moneys worth.
During dinner we got into conversation with the nice neighbours which we also continued afterwards. However, for that purpose the upholstered chairs and armchairs near the railing were better suitable. In the following evenings we passed our time with crapses and card games, until we headed tiredly for our Bungalos.
From time to time Mia came over to enquire whether we are contented with all. On this occation my wife expressed the wish if one of our bedroom windows could be repaired. She had found out during her room check that this cannot be safely closed any more. She was not in fear for our papers or our money - one could keep this in the safe deposit of the Resort. Rather she feared that somebody could come in by the window. The next day a craftsman was sent, who inserted a new metal mount.
Because the bungalows in the Resort were built of local wood in the traditional style, they are not air-tight, where like in air-conditioned rooms. Also enough fresh air came by the screns, so that the temperature was very pleasant for sleeping. A reason was also that the dive resort was situated on the eastern side of the island so that the sun cannot perpetually shine on the roofs of the bungalows during the afternoon hours. During the day also the old stock of trees prevented heating the rooms. Hence, it was quite enough to leave the ceiling ventilating fan running with low speed.
After a short time we had fallen asleep. During the early morning hours we were even thankfull for the warm woollen blankets. - And the silence. The concrete way which connects the villages Bunaken and Tanjungparigi lay in a few hundred metres and thus the rattle of the motorcycles which usually began already at 5 o'clock was not to hear in our bedroom.
Nevertheless, we wanted to sleep not too long, because we were already looking forward to the breakfast.
From 7 o'clock a buffet with varied breakfast was available for us: There was toast, freshly prepared pancake with or without banana pieces, fried and scrambled eggs, processed cheese slices, butter (yes, you don't get that in every resort), different jams, honey and Nutella. During the breakfast Aldy stood in the kitchen and catered for supplies. To the self-service there were toaster, sandwich toaster, hot water, coffee and tea.
After we had lived during the weeks before in a rather simpler resorts and the diving with our specially rented boat was central for me, we had decided to enjoy above all the a little more luxurious housing conditions and the famous food of the Living Colors Dive Resort, praised by many guests.
Thus I skipped diving this morning because we wanted to use our vouchers for "Jet Lag Massage". As the name already says, they are rather intended for guests who arrived immediately from the airport (handed over at welcoming). We nevertheless did not want to relinquish this and, hence, summoned the masseuse to our bungalow. Then up to the lunch we spent the time on our terrace with reading and sorting photos.
At 13 o'clock the buffet was arranged. Again the cook had presented optically very attractive and tasty dishes (see Photos). Some of our coguests were vegetarians. Also they seemed very fond of the offer. At the end I was nearly sure that my intention to slim during our vacation would not become successful.
We adjourned to our veranda for siesta. Until half past two, because for that time we had ordered our boat KURNIA. When we stepped down to the beach, we saw our boatswain Feki and Demsi, my dive guide already waiting for us. My equipment already was aboard, so that we only had to enter. After our return we prepared a coffee and took some of the being ready little cookies in the restaurant.
Then the evening after the dinner served - also during the following days - the sociability with chatting, games or also once a beach party with the Living Colors Band providing for best mood.
Diving (updated 2013)
LIVING COLORS DIVE RESORT is a known and very popular dive resort. It is fully booked in particular in the main season already months ahead. The guests who do not want to dive there (or learn to dive), hence, have normally no chance to find a room during this period at all.
Since I only had a few days available, I took part almost daily in 2 dives and could gain therefore impressive experience with the divecenter.
The dives are planned each evening before. Either one signs on with a dive group on the board, or - if you do not know the other diving guests-, you ask Mia to assign you to a group. If requested also diving trips further away can be organised, e.g., to the Island of Bangka.
With high tide one can get directly from the own beach to the boats. However, with low tide the access of the boats from the beach is not possible. Then one goes to the boat with neoprene shoes from the nearby resort on a narrow sandy cutting to the ship without having to enter corals. This was the case on nearly every day. In the boat all diving equipment were already mounted. Aboard there were snaks with fresh fruits for the break between the first and second dive, a dispenser with drinking water. You could make use of hot water and a variety of teas or coffee. As a special luxury all have appreciated the board's own toilet. Everybody got a fresh towel and could have one of the many shelfs for his utensils. For the cameras fresh water stood ready.
The big boats with their powerful engines were very fast, so that the trip usually lasted no more than 10 minutes. At the dive site, the individual groups of divers (3 divers per guide) were arranged. Since all of us have already been several times here, the briefing was held shortl. The dive master informed here in detail about the specific nature of each dive spot.
Then everybody took the utensils from his basket and got ready. Then the boatswains, as well as the diving guides assisted in putting on the equipment, checked their completeness and function again and stood aside until the jump in the water.
After the dive the groups were picked up again by the boat, the equipment was taken aboard and the guests had to care of nothing. They could help themselves with the fruits, drink a coffee or tea and then could warm up on deck.
After the second dive we went back to the Resort to arrive in time to the lunch. One did not have to look after transport and cleaning of the equipment. Everything was done by the crew. Full service. In the afternoon a third dive could take place if requested. If interested there was also a dawn dive in the morning, an afternoon dive (mandarin fish!), or a night dive.
Taking a look in the equipment room of the Resort I could ascertain that the rented equipment was throughout as good as new or very well-preserved and carefully maintained(Suunto Equilite in 1000 BCDs, Apeks AT-20 regulators and Suunto instruments. Because I have met quite often divers who complained about too narrow suits or too small booties or fins, I think very positive that here there were enough copies in all sizes of all (Aqualung suits, Technisub and Mares masks and fins). Also the compressors were well maintained.
We appreciated most notably
- The quiet, friendly and nearly familiar atmosphere
- Engagement and friendliness of the owners Mia und Jaakko and the whole staff
- Tasteful and functional furnishings of the spacious bungalows.
- The cultivated tropical garden, several metres high with view over the mangroves to the sea.
- No annoying noise, because distance to the generators and to the street on the one hand and to the beach bar, on the other hand.
- Enough distance between the bungalows
- Good service, e.g. daily cleaning of the rooms
- Cleanness and hygiene
- Clean, cultivated sandy beach with leisure area
- 24 hours electricity (independent of the public power supply system)
- Varied, very tasty dinner
- High safety standard during diving (in particular the maintenance of the compressors)
- Fast dive boats convey the feeling of safety for emergency
- High-quality and good maintained diving- and snorkel equipment
- The competence and the skilled eyes of the diving staff
- Full service during diving
The LIVING COLORS DIVE RESORT belongs to the resorts with rather high standard on Bunaken. It is known and liked very much by divers because of its high-quality and varied cuisine, the good furnishing of its bungalows and the excellent allround service. Who once has experienced this Resort, appreciates above all the familiar atmosphere and loves to come again. Indeed, the Living Colors Resort is not so cheap as others on the island. It accepts preferentially divers (at least one partner should be a diver). To the guests who only dive in the Resort, but do not like to stay there, I recommend to those the nearby (cheaper) SEAGARDEN RESORT. Both Resorts are booked up in particular in the high season already months before. Hence, I advise to book in time.
Should you have got interest in further information, you find them on the Website of the Resort
And here some photos...