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Dive Review of KBR in
Indonesia/Lembeh Straight

KBR, May, 2009,

by Pat Hudgens, WA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4834.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Curaceo, Belize
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes but occasionally additional 10 - 15 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments We had four professional photographers during our stay.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We arrived at Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) after staying one week at Two Fish Divers in Banaken. Two Fish delivered us to the Manado airport where we were met by a KBR representative. It was a 1 ½ hour drive to KBR taking us through the Sulwesi countryside and Bitung. We were greeted at KBR and all bags and dive equipment was delivered to our cottage.

We reserved a cottage suite with an all inclusive package for seven nights. This included 6 days of diving with 3 dives per day. The cottage was roomy with adequate storage for clothing and personal items. The bedroom had two beds and was air conditioned. The foyer and bath were not air conditioned. The bath was large with western style toilet and a hot water shower. The foyer had a seating, a desk and small refrigerator. The cottage was older but seemed to be in good condition. Maid service was daily with fresh towels and an evening turndown.

Food was served in the restaurant overlooking Lembeh Straight. The restaurant was not air conditioned but normally had adequate breezes off the water. Food was selected off the menu and offered a variety of western and Indonesian items. We mostly stayed with the Indonesian menu and enjoyed the food. The soups were very good. Portions were abundant and one could easily overeat. Beer and soda was available for reasonable fee.

KBR recently opened a new Spa. My wife enjoyed a couple of massages and a facial. Prices were not cheap by Indonesian standards but certainly less than US.

Diving is what Lembeh Straight is all about. The morning dive started with a briefing at the dive shop at 8:15. During our stay we saw a wide variety of amazing critters including manta shrimp, porcelain crab, frog fish including a hairy, cuttlefish including flamboyant, wonderpus, seahorses including pygmy, ornate ghost fish, many varieties of scorpion fish, catfish, finger dragonet, longarm octopus, snake ell, orangutan crab, leaf wasp fish, and sea moth. Almost every dive, we saw flying gurnard, flounder, banded pipefish, and bat fish. Other groups saw a blue ringed and a mimic octopus. Dives were normally multi profile with 70 depth with little or no current. Times were officially limited to one hour but would often go 10 -15 minutes longer. Dive sites were only 5 10 minutes away and morning intervals were spent at the resort with snacks and hot drinks. Lunch was served before the afternoon and last morning dive. KBR requested that divers come to lunch with dry clothes.

Boats were small fiberglass skiffs and held up to eight divers. Dive guides were assigned to four divers. About half of our dives were full boats and very crowded. We had a different guide every day. All guides were competent but, as always, some seemed more competent and personable than others. After each dive, we were given clean, dry towels and fresh fruit. Water was available but you usually had to get it yourself on the ride back to the resort.

The management team at KBR is fairly new. The head of diving operations had been there only three weeks. As a result, some items could go more smoothly. For example, we ended having to carry all our dive equipment to the dive shop the first day. We visited the same dive sites multiple times. During our stay, our dive equipment stayed on the boat and not rinsed. After our final dive, our dive guide rinsed our equipment from a fresh water hose. The facilities include a very nice photography set up room with 110 and 220volt outlets. There were about 12 spots. During our stay, there was not enough room for me to set up my camera. I ended up doing camera set up in our room. Photography equipment is handled very well on the boat. There is a fresh water rinse tank at the dive shop for photography equipment only. You put your camera equipment in a basket in the rinse tank and the boat captain loads it on the boat. The first dive my camera did not make the boat. After that I checked more closely and never had a problem.

Lembeh Straight is all about diving and seeing the unusual marine life. We were able to see much of what was there. The dive guides were knowledgeable and knew where to find the critters. KBR staff was very friendly and helpful. However, we feel the extra money (about $1000) for KBR over places like Two Fish Lembeh was not worth 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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