Bira is a small town located on the southern tip of Sulawesi and is part of Bulukumba Regency in the Indonesian Province of South Sulawesi. Bira is not just famous for its white beaches and large marine life but is also the heart of maritime culture in Indonesia.
The Bulukumba Regency has a population just shy of 400’000, with Bira boasting a mere 3’500 inhabitants. We are convinced that Bira will become a major tourist destination in the future, until then, we enjoy the tranquility.
According to the Köppen and Geiger classification, the climate in Bira is classified as a tropical monsoon climate (Am).
The average air temperature in Bira is 26.2 °C throughout the year
The water temperature is around 28-29 degrees Celsius at many dive sites throughout the year. However, the temperature usually starts to drop in mid-June and stays at 24-27 degrees until October.
It can get a bit rainy in November and December and again also in April and May, but honestly, we are in the tropical Pacific and weather is rather unpredictable. Anything is possible (and thankfully, rain doesn’t affect our dives much).
We usually encounter strong west winds between December and mid-March so this can affect our ability to get out to the best dive sites. We still have options, but we often have to give the top sites a pass.
Aquatic life you are likely to see here include green turtles, whitetip reef sharks, marble rays, stingrays, napoleon wrasses, Bumphead parrotfish, tunas, trevallies, snappers, fusiliers, octopus, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, mantis shrimps, pipefish, leaf scorpionfish, frogfish, and much more.
Anything is possible between July and October, the big fish season when divers have seen grey reef sharks, thresher sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, and mola molas.
Bira is known for being a bit unknown and one of the coolest things about this is that there aren’t many divers or boats around. It is very common to not see any other divers during your dives (except your group, hopefully).
Bira diving features a variety in dive site landscapes such as sandy slopes, steep walls and plateaus. Visibility depends more on the dive site than the season and can be anything between 15m-40+m.
While there can be strong currents at some sites, we make sure that we choose dive sites that are appropriate for our divers based on their certification level, experience, and comfort. We check weather, tides and currents when we plan and check the currents upon arriving at the dive sites.
We almost always have sites available that can be dived by all. The area encompasses around 15 dive sites. All of them accessible within 15 – 30 minutes by boat.
July to October is known as the fishy sharky season. There just seems to be more of everything, including one thing Bira diving has been known for: white tip reef sharks!
South Sulawesi hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia. The camp is located on one, but if you rent a motorbike and follow the coast north you will find a number of white amazing and untouched beaches.
Sulawesi is the largest island of the Wallacea region and has a mix of both Indomalayan and Australasian species. The island has been isolated for millions of years creating a unique flora and fauna. Sulawesi is home to over two hundred bird species and around 130 mammals, more than half of them endemic.
Amongst the unique species found in the region are the endangered anoa (Bubalus Depressicornis), a diminutive buffalo that lives in the forest and the babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa), an unusual, enigmatic pig with long, recurved upper tusks that penetrate through the skin of the upper lip.
Sulawesi hosts at least seven species of macaques that are endemic to the island, some of them occasionally paying a visit to our camp.
Bira is home of the Konjo tribe and the heart of maritime culture in Indonesia. The Birians have been sailors for as long as history has been recorded.
To this day, shipbuilding and sailing remain the central focus of daily life and identity. About 70 percent of the population in Bira and surrounding villages make a living through work related to boatbuilding and navigation.
The Pinisis are traditional wooden two to three-masted sailing ships and are being crafted by hand right here on the beach! The craftsmanship and timbers are breathtaking.
Knowledge and skills are passed down from generation to generation within the family circle, as well as to individuals outside of the family through the division of labor.
UNESCO designated Pinisi boat-building art as Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity at the 12th Session of the Unique Cultural Heritage Committee on Dec 7, 2017.