Lighthouses of Indonesia: Northern Sulawesi (Celebes)

Indonesia has been independent since 1945, after having been the Dutch East Indies for more than 350 years. It is a huge country, stretching along both sides of the Equator for more than 46 degrees of longitude (roughly 5100 km or 3200 miles). Comprised of some 17,000 islands (more than 6000 inhabited islands), it has hundreds of major aids to navigation. This page includes the lighthouses of Sulawesi (Celebes), a major island in the northern part of the country.

Shaped like an artistically drawn letter K, Sulawesi consists mostly of four narrow peninsulas. The Makassar Strait separates Sulawesi from Kalimantan (Borneo) to the west. The Celebes Sea is north of the island, the Banda Sea is to the east and southeast, and the Flores Sea is on the south. This page covers roughly the northern half of the island, including the provinces of Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo, and North Sulawesi.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Pulau is an island and karang is a reef.

Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Sea Navigation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

Pulau Miangas Light
Pulau Miangas Light, May 2008
photo copyright Ferdi Rosman; permission requested

Central Sulawesi Province West Coast Lighthouses

Northern Strait of Makassar Lighthouses
* Teluk Palu (Palu Gulf)
1907. Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); four long (2 s) white flashes every 25 s. 21 m (69 ft) octagonal (?) white iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. No closeup photo available; the light station is seen in a distant aerial view, and Google has a good satellite view of the station. It appears that the original lighthouse survives here. Located on a prominent cape on the west side of the entrance to the narrow Palu Gulf, about 25 km (15 mi) northwesr of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi. Site status unknown, but it should be possible to drive to this station from Palu. ARLHS IDO-339; Admiralty K1476; NGA 25508.
Manimbaya
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery; tower painted white, lantern red. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse is built almost precisely on the Equator. Located at the tip of a long promontory extending into the Strait of Makassar about 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Mapaga. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2040; NGA 25114.
Pulau Tuguan (Pulau Tugguan, Noordwachter)
1902. Active; focal plane 92 m (302 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) white iron skeletal tower. The modern description is consistent with the Dutch original. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Not to be confused with another, better known Noordwachter in the Java Sea. Located on an island in the strait about 25 m (15 mi) northwest of Munte in northwestern Sulawesi. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-031; Admiralty F2044; NGA 25120.
Pulau Simatang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. NGA has no description of this light, but a tall tower would be needed here. No photo available, and a cloud hides the light in Google's satellite view. Located at the northern tip of Pulau Simatang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, but probably open. Admiralty F2046; NGA 25118.
Pulau Kabetan (Tanjung Paligisan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) skeletal tower with lantern, gallery and central cylinder. Lighthouse painted white. A distant view is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southeastern tip of Pulau Kabetan, an island on the approach to Botakna Bunga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2047; NGA 25121.
Pulau Kabetan Light
Pulau Kabetan Light, June 2010
Panoramio photo copyright takashidezign; permission requested
Pulau Latungan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) skeletal tower with gallery. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northern tip of Pulau Latungan, an island in the entrance to the harbor of Botakna Bunga. Site status unknown. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty F2047.5; NGA 25122.
Tanjung Labuan Dedeh
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the light has not been found in Google's satellite view of the point. Located on a point of land sheltering the harbor of Botakna Bunga. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2048; NGA 25116.
Tanjung Malagka (Pulau Salando Timur, Stroomenkaap) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (82 ft) white iron skeletal tower. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the northeastern entrance to the Strait of Makassar. The original lighthouse had a focal plane height of 46 m (151 ft). Located on an island just off Tanjung (cape) Malagka, the northwestern corner of Sulawesi. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-312; Admiralty F2050; NGA 25112.
Pulau Dolongan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 6 s. 15 m (49 ft) "white beacon." No photo available, but Google has a satellite view; it appears to show a skeletal tower mounted on a concrete pier or platform. This light faces the Celebes Sea, marking the extreme northwest corner of Sulawesi. Located off the northern tip of an island about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of Tanjung Malagka. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2051; NGA 25111.7.
Pulau Malagka Light
Pulau Malagka Light, August 2013
Panoramio photo copyright Roly R; used by permission

Gorontalo Province North Coast Lighthouse

Pulau Hulawa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 25 m (82 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island off the north coast of Sulawesi, about 25 km (15 mi) north of Malingkapoto. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2060; NGA 25128.

North Sulawesi Province Lighthouses

Note: North Sulawesi Province includes the final third of the sinuous Minahasa Peninsula plus the Sangihe (Sangir) Islands, a chain that stretches north almost to Mindanao in the Philippines. The islands separate the Celebes Sea on the west from the Molucca Sea on the east.
Minahasa Peninsula North Coast Lighthouses
Karang Otilade
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 12 s. 12 m (39 ft) round white concrete tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete pier. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef about 15 km (9 mi) north of Kwandang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2061.1; NGA 25129.
Pulau Tikus
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) round white fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef in an estuary entrance about 110 km (70 mi) west of Manado. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2063.3; NGA 25137.
Tanjung Lobo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white fiberglass tower. 1-story keeper's cottage or equipment building. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2063.8; NGA 25139.
Manado
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off. NGA descibes this light as a 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower, but a photo suggests that the light has been moved atop a large shopping mall. Google has a satellite view. Manado is the capital of North Sulawesi and the second largest city of Sulawesi, after Makassar. Located on the Manado waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2066; NGA 25144.
Pulau Manterawu
2006. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) "white tower," probably skeletal. No photo available, and the tower may be too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located on an island about 30 km (19 mi) west of Tanjung Arus and 40 km (25 mi) north of Manado. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2070.5; NGA 25156.2.
Tanjung Arus (Pulau Talisei, Talise)
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 108 m (354 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) white iron skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the area; Bing's satellite view narrowly missed the station. The original lighthouse was an octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, and this lighthouse may still be standing. Tanjung Arus is the extreme northeastern tip of Sulawesi, at the end of the Minahasa Peninsula. The lighthouse is not on the cape, but on the northern tip of Pulau Talisei (Talise), an island off the cape, about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Manado. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-290; Admiralty F2072; NGA 25156.

Minahasa Peninsula East Coast Lighthouses
Batukapal (Batu Kapal)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped white concrete tower. A 2006 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Pulau Lembeh is a long, narrow island off the east side of Tanjung Arus. This light is atop a steep rocky islet off the northeastern tip of Pulau Lembeh, about 20 km (13 mi) northeast of Kota Bitung. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2079.57; NGA 25157.
Pulau Lembah Southwest
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two green lights every 10 s. 17 m (56 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower standing on a square platform supported by four piles. Entire lighthouse is green. Semuel Muhaling's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west (outside) edge of a reef off the southwestern tip of Pulau Lembah, marking the south entrance to the Lembah Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2079.5; NGA 25164.
Selat Lembah (Tanjung Batuangus, Lembeh Strait)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on a square platform on a rock. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the northern entrance to the narrow Lembeh Strait, which separates Pulau Lembeh from the mainland of Sulawesi. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2077; NGA 25158.
Tanjung Labuan Compenie (Bitung)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white fiberglass tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The town of Bitung is on the east side of the peninsula about 65 km (40 mi) south of Tanjung Arus; its harbor is sheltered by Pulau Lembeh. Located on a promontory of Pulau Lembeh opposite the Bitung waterfront. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2079; NGA 25172.
Lilang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 3 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located at Lilang, on the east coast of the Minahasa Peninsula about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Manado. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-159; Admiralty F2079.6; NGA 25168.
Pulau Lembah Southwest Light
Pulau Lembah Southwest Light, December 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Semuel Muhaling; permission requested
Pulau Pondang (Pulau Pardana)
Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 73 m (240 ft); white flash every 4 s. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. James Arjuna has a distant view from the sea, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small island just offshore on the northern entrance to the Gulf of Tomini from the Molucca Sea. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-233; Admiralty F2082; NGA 25228.

Talaud Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Talaud Islands are the northeasternmost islands of North Sulawesi, located northeast of the Sangihe Islands and southeast of Mindanao in the Philippines. The islands are quite remote but they are well populated, with a population of more than 80,000. Pulau Karakelong is by far the largest of the islands and has most of the population.
Pulau Miangas (Isla Palmas) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Ferdi Rosman's photo at the top of this page came from a portfolio of photos that is no longer online; this collection suggested that the present tower is relatively new. The tower is visible in David Vilabella's distant view of the island, but the island does not appear in Bing's satellite view. Pulau Miangas is a small island in the Philippine Sea about 125 km (75 mi) east of the southern tip of Mindanao. The island, known as Isla Palmas in the Philippines, was claimed by the U.S. as part of the Philippines in the early 1900s, but in 1928 the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Netherlands. Indonesia maintains sovereignty as successor to the Dutch. Located at the highest point of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2138; NGA 15156.
Pulau Marampit
2006. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A view from the sea (sixth island discussed on the page) is available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located at the northern tip of an island about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of Keratung. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2134.2.
* Karatung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped white fiberglass tower, mounted on a square concrete base. Ferdi Rosman Feizal has a photo, but Google has only a very distant satellite view. This light is similar to many harbor lights in Indonesia's out islands. Pulau Karatung is a small but inhabited island about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of the northern tip of Pulau Talaud. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2134; NGA 25199.
Pulau Kakarutan (Kakorotan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) tower, probably skeletal. Google has only a very fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small island a few miles east of Pulau Intata (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2133.8.
Pulau Intata
Date unknown (2006 or later). Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Ferdi Rosman Feizal's early 2006 photo of the island does not show a lighthouse. Located on a small island about 50 km (30 mi) east northeast of the northern tip of Pulau Karakelong. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2133.9.
Tanjung Salonggaka
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. No description available, but this is probably a skeletal tower at least 15 m (49 ft) high. Located on a small island off the northwestern tip of Pulau Salebabu, a smaller island southeast of Pulau Karakelong. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2132.5; NGA 25198.5.
Tanjung Palle
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) "white beacon," presumably a square skeletal tower. No photo available; Google has a very distant satellite view of the cape. Located on Pulau Kaburuang, an island off a promontory at the south end of the Talaud group in the northeastern Sangihe chain. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-318; Admiralty F2133.5; NGA 25197.8.

Northern Sangihe Islands Lighthouses
Pulau Marore
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 180 m (591 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Ferdi Rosman Feizal has a distant view and second view, but Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Pulau Marore is the Indonesia's northernmost inhabited island in the Celebes Sea. Located about 90 km (55 mi) south of Mindanao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2135; NGA 25200.
Pulau Kawio
2006. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) "white beacon," probably skeletal. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Pulau Marore. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2134.8; NGA 25200.2.
Pulau Matutuang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 107 m (351 ft); white flash every 5 s. "White lighthouse," according to NGA. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on an isolated high island at the northern end of the Sangihe chain, about 130 km (80 mi) south of Mindanao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-220; Admiralty F2135.5; NGA 25201.

Pulau Sangihe Area Lighthouses
Pulau Buang (Salehe)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. The lighthouse is a ghostly presence in Ferdi Rosman Feizal's distant view of the island, and also in a second view. The island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Located on an island about 35 km (22 mi) northeast of the northern point of Pulau Sangihe, the central island of the archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2128; NGA 25197.
Pulau Manipa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 69 m (226 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. David Vilabella's view from the sea is at right, but Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. Located on the southern tip of a small island off the north end of Pulau Sangihe. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-218; Admiralty F2127.5; NGA 25196.5.
Pulau Beng
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white fiberglass tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the east end of Pulau Beng, a small high island off the southeast coast of Pulau Sangihe. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2127; NGA 25194.
Tanjung Bunakeng (Tahuna, Pulau Sangihe)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); white flash every 3 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. The lighthouse is barely visible in an aerial photo, and Google has only a very fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located on heights near Tahuna, the principal town on the west coast of Pulau Sangihe. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2123; NGA 25190.
Pulau Manipa Light
Pulau Manipa Light, August 2010
Panoramio photo copyright David Vilabella; used by permission

Southern Sangihe Islands Lighthouses
Pulau Makalehi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 150 m (492 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white and mounted on a large station building. Google has a satellite view. Makalehi is a tall, currently inactive volcanic cone about 25 km (15 mi) west of Pulau Siau, one of the larger islands of the Sangihe chain. Located on the southern slope of the volcano. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2120.3.
* Ulu (Pulau Siau)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) round hourglass-shaped white fiberglass tower, mounted on a square concrete base. Ferdi Rosman Feizal has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This light is similar to many harbor lights in Indonesia's out islands. Located on the waterfront of Ulu, a settlement on the east coast of Pulau Siau. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2120; NGA 25184.
Pulau Mahora
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the eastern tip of Pulau Mahora, a small island off the southeast end of Pulau Siau. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2119; NGA 25186.
Pulau Pasige
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 2.5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round hourglass-shaped white fiberglass tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the southwest side of a small island near the south end of the Sangihe chain, about 90 km (55 mi) north northeast of Tanjung Arus. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2114; NGA 25176.

Central Sulawesi Province East Coast Lighthouses

Banda Sea Lighthouses
Tanjung Kembani
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) "white beacon," probably a skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. Located on the southern tip of Peleng, largest and westernmost of the Banggai island group, off the southeast coast of Sulawesi's eastern peninsula. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1565; NGA 25274.3.
Pondipondi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 84 m (276 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island off the northeastern side of Pulau Peleng. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1567.6; NGA 25275.58.
Pulau Buangbuang (Buang Buang)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Ferdi Rosman has a distant view, but Google's satellite view of the area is fuzzy and clouded. Located on a small island at the southeastern tip of the Banggai group, marking a narrow passage between the Banggai reefs and those of the Sula group in North Maluku province. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1569; NGA 25380.
Tanjung Bea
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (56 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of this very remote area. Located on a promontory near the base of Sulawesi's eastern peninsula, near Morowali. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1563.5; NGA 25268.
Tanjung Losoni
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); four white flashes every 10 s. "White lighthouse," according to NGA. No photo available, and the lighthouse is perhaps too new to appear in Google's satellite view of the cape. This light stands on a promontory at Losoni on the central east coast of Sulawesi. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-311; Admiralty K1562.93; NGA 25274.6

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Southern Philippines | East: North Maluku | South: Southern Sulawesi | West: Kalimantan

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Posted December 18, 2008. Checked and revised December 27, 2013. Lighthouses: 45. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.