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Dive Review of Kasawari-Lembeh/Kasawari-Lembeh Resort in
Indonesia/Lembeh Strait

Kasawari-Lembeh/Kasawari-Lembeh Resort, Oct, 2007,

by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 3754.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Caymans, Cozumel, Turks and Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, and Wakatobi, Alor, Misool, and Halmahera in Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 82 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions guided diving
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments The camera room houses 17 large stations for a maximum of 20 guests. Each station has a storage shelf as well as two electrical outlets. Towels were provided to cushion and cover the cameras. Compressed air was also available. When your camera was ready to be taken to the dive boat, you just put it in its plastic crate and the crew carries it to your boat for you. At dive's end, they rinse the camera and bring it back to the camera room. To the crew's credit, they treated my little point-and-shoot in its lexan housing with the same respect they accorded the huge, expensive rig of a professional videographer on our boat. The camera room was locked at night, and a security guard was on duty on the resort grounds.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Okay, Kasawari-Lembeh Resort is a chic boutique (thus Undercurrent, February, 2007). The beautiful young Indonesian woman who met us at the airport in Manado assured us, "We pamper our guests." Our experience at KLR validated her assertion. However, KLR is also a topshelf dive operation. The operation participates in the pampering. Plastic crates were delivered to the porch of our villa. We placed all our gear in the larger baskets and our cameras and their attendant stuff in the smaller ones. Our gear was taken to and set up on the boat, while our cameras were carefully transported to the spacious camera room. We were left to carry only our neoprene to the tiring area. There we found two cubbies where we could stash anything we wanted to keep dry. The dressing benches gave each diver two wetsuit hangers, a bootie drying rack, and an underbench storage basket. A ladies and a gents were under the same roof, as well as two hot-water rinse showers. Large rinse tanks designated for cameras and wetsuits flanked the area. Divers descend easily from the dressing area to the briefing shed to the boats via terraced wooden walks. The boats, which carry six divers, are set up like mini-liveaboards. Each diver is assigned a gear station with under bench storage basket, and tanks are filled on the boats. An enclosed area with benches in the prow of the boat provides shelter for any divers who are chilled. The staff carried our cameras in their crates to the boat for each dive. Entry into the water is by giant stride. We were instructed to hand up our gear before ascending the boat's ladder at dive's end.
We had "added on" our week at KLR after a two-week liveaboard trip just to see how we liked muck diving. We loved it! We made most of our dives with Ali, one of the resort's senior dive guides, and Indrah, a young man who is obviously eager to advance in the dive guide hierarchy and who has the skill to do so. Underwater our dive guides were on a mission to find the critters on our wish list and any others in the area. Thanks to Ali and Indrah, we saw and photographed a catalogue of weird fish we thought lived only in the pages of Fathoms and Asian Diver: Rhinopias frondosa, Inimicus didactylus, stargazers, helmet gunards, frogfish that were painted , ocellated, striated and hairy, sea moths, ambon scorpionfish, and more. Then there were the cephalopods: longarm octopus, coconut octopus (including one classic Lembeh Strait living-in-a bottle coco octo), wonderpuss, dozens of cuttlefish, squid both bobtail and large. One morning we were fortunate to descend to a group of a dozen large squid busily mating near a mooring line they had already covered in egg casings. We also encountered and were led to many, many molluscs and polyclads and crustacea. The last two days of our stay, we were the only guests in the resort. I had feared that our dives would become perfunctory. Quite the opposite happened. We are both fairly easy on air, and dives got longer. The shortest dive we had done all week lasted sixty minutes, but now our dives lengthened to eighty and even ninety minutes.
KLR's central location in the Lembeh Strait made for short rides to the dive sites, with the boat always returning to the resort between dives. We were welcomed back on board the boat with a towel and a warm face cloth scented with lemongrass. We feasted on fresh tropical fruit and drank water as we rode back. KLR has four scheduled dive times each day. We were free to "spend" our fifteen-dive package in any pattern we chose. While we encountered almost no current in the Lembeh Strait, decent buoyancy is essential for diving over the fine black volcanic sand which constitutes the local muck. Our prepaid nitrox fee was $107.
KLR is a compact resort that does not feel crowded. Our Deluxe Villa was spacious, truly lovely, and planned for divers. A full-sized writing desk is provided for logging those great muck dives. The Balinese settle with silk pillows lets you offgas comfortably with a book. At first glance, I questioned the huge bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers. But the space is great for two people trying to get out of wet swimsuits at the same time. The tile floors are obviously practical. I enjoyed the settle on the porch of our villa, where I could enjoy a view across the strait. There is a drying rack on the edge of the porch. When I wasn't eating or underwater, I was lounging around in the comfy cotton robe provided. Villas are thoroughly cleaned in the morning and straightened in the evening. KLR provides exceptionally nice linens.
The resort's main building features an open-air lobby on the main floor. The open-air dining room and lounge are upstairs. The lounge holds a large ID library which we consulted frequently. While the resort was full, meals were served from a buffet and were okay. When the guest population fell, we got to order all our meals from a menu, and the quality of the food increased significantly. Both western and Asian fare are offered. Mr.Poh, the Thai owner of KLR, was in residence while we were, and he is working hard to improve the quality of the food (which is already better than what we had in another resort closer to Manado). And they serve good coffee.
We shall return!
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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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