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

October, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 3754
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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

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 40    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
guided diving  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
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):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
      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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