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Dive Review of Bastiano's in
Indonesia/Lembeh Strait

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Fred Turoff, PA, USA
Sr. Contributor   (22 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 5015
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
BVI, USVI, Saba, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Costa
Rica, Coco Island, Revillagigedos, Sea of Cortez, Palau, Yap, Red Sea,
Sipadan, PNG, Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
suggested time, although dive leader stayed with you until you were
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Photo room was in the process of being set up. when finished, it will have
cubbies, charge stations, cabinets and will be next to landing area. Rinse
tank was a short distance away, by gear area. Without photo room, cameras
had to be carried to and from rooms, all of which were up a hill by stairs.
Staff offered to carry cameras, but I use this as a form of exercise.
Cameras on boats were covered by towels and handled carefully, but no rinse
tank as we were always close to the resort.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
This was my second trip to Lembeh Strait. Four years ago I stayed at
Kunkungan Bay Resort and reported on that fine trip. This time, since my
buddy and I were heading to Raja Ampat the next week, we opted to save some
money and booked at Bastianos, having read favorable reviews in
Undercurrent. Airline schedules limited our stay to five nights, when we
had hoped for six. The resort is on a hillside on Lembeh Island across the
strait from KBR, giving a nice view of several smoking volcanoes on
northeast Sulawesi by the city of Bitung. We also could see that busy port
area from our porch.

We opted for a room with two beds and no air conditioning, and found the
sea breeze and fan kept the room generally comfortable. One shortcoming was
unreliable hot water in the shower, but with air temps in the 80s, cool
water was tolerable. Our room was on the upper level of rooms, so a climb
up and down two sets of stairs each trip was necessary. Crew members
offered to carry my camera to and from my room for me, but I use that as a
form of exercise so I politely declined. The camera room was not yet set up
by the loading area at waters edge, which would have made camera work
easier for any with cameras. When I asked about it, the manager indicated
she would get some charging stations set up right away, which she did, but
by that point both my buddy and I had all our photo gear laid out in our
room and decided not to use the camera room. The camera rinse tank was a
short walk along the waterfront and by the dive-gear storage area, which
happened to be maybe 20 meters from my stairway.

Dive boats generally held 3-6 divers and had covered areas for those
wanting to be out of the sun. Trips to dive sites were short, maybe 10-15
minutes at the most. A glaring shortcoming was that all dive personnel
smoked on the boats and in the landing areas. One fellow even had a lit
cigarette while the gas can below him was uncovered, and when this was
pointed out, he merely covered the opening with a cloth. Lembeh is known
for its muck diving. The farther from the city, the cleaner the area was.
We did several dives at Police Pier, close to town, which had lots of
refuse along with interesting creatures. However, some dive sites were
spectacular in terms of life and scenery. On my previous trip, I recall
seeing a frogfish and seahorse on nearly every dive. This time the number
of times I sighted these fish was much less. However, we did find a seafan
with at least eight H. Bargabanti pygmy seahorses on it at Magic Rock
along with a beautiful ornate ghost pipefish in an orange crinoid along
with other interesting critters. That site and the previous one we visited
that morning, Nudi Retreat, showed us a great variety of the critters
divers want to see, plus they ended in sunlit, multi-hued soft corals for
the last 6 meters to the surface, giving our eyes lots to enjoy. I had not
seen a Wunderpus or Mimic Octopus on my previous trip or any others Ive
taken to Indonesia or PNG, but thanks to the keen eyes of divemaster
Stephen, I saw and photographed both. Some of the other wondrous critters
seen were a large variety of cleaner shrimp, several species of mantis
shrimp, cuttlefish and squid, Pegasus seamoths, ambon scorpionfish and
other species, several pipefish species, ribbon eels, various nudibranchs
and crabs.

The dining room was spacious and open, on the second level and next to a
pool that I saw no one use. Food was served family-style, with several
offerings at each meal. Much of the food was a bit spicy for me, but I
didnt request toned-down meals as I was able to find suitable food at each
meal. We made an attempt to sit with different folks often, and found the
majority to be quite interested in meeting foreigners. Most everyone
spoke English, so we were able to communicate easily. Guests came from
Poland, Germany, Sri Lanka, US, Switzerland, Scotland, Thailand and South
Africa. A massage was available daily by appointment for only US$15 per

Bastianos was described as a low-cost alternative to KBR and other upscale
resorts. At perhaps half the price of those others, anyone on a budget
should consider it.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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