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Dive Review of Kasawari Lembeh in
Indonesia/Lembeh Strait

October, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Rick Sterne/Chrisanda Button, AR, US
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5743
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas,Bay Islands,Belize,Bonaire,Caymans,Cozumel,Turks&Caicos,Sea of
Cortez,Fiji,Australia,Truk,Yap,Palau,other areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
Water Temp
77   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
35   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We never tried to separate from our dive guide. Why would we?  He was the
guy finding all the weird stuff.  But he paced the dive to our interest. If
we wanted to spend ten minutes with a ghost pipe fish, we stayed there ten
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 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
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
In a word, fabulous.  KLR must have one of the most spacious well-appointed
camera rooms in the world.  Each photographer is assigned a large table
area with two towels, electric outlets with universal plug adapters, and
voltage converters for us Americans.  Camera cases were stored on a shelf
below each station. Compressed air and tissues are available.  There is
also a computer if you want to view your shots on a bigger screen and do
not travel with a lap top.  The camera room is open from 0600 to 2130 and
is locked at night.  We placed our cameras in their plastic crates, and the
crew would carry them to the dive area if we wanted them to.  After we
tested our housings in the large, dedicated rinse tanks, the crew then
carried our cameras to the boats.  They treated all cameras, large and
small with utmost care.  There are no rinse tanks on the boats, but the
boats return to the resort between dives and our longest boat ride was 20
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
     Kasawari Lembeh Resort is as close to liveaboard convenience as a
diver can come while enjoying a spacious villa decorated with understated
elegance, a small infinity pool overlooking the strait, and a downright
luxurious camera room.  As on a liveaboard, one can do four dives every
day.  If only two divers want to make the night dive, those two dive after
dark.  Gear is set up once, then stays on the dive boats, where the crew
actually hoses it down with fresh water after the last dive each day.  Each
diver is assigned a gear station on the boats with a crate beneath for
storing mask, fins, etc.  One enters the water by standing up, taking two
steps, and making a giant stride. To exit the water, hand up camera and
gear, then climb the ladder. As on a liveaboard, bottom time was limited
primarily by our own air consumption,deco limits, and desire to get to the
next meal. 
     KLR certainly provides valet service to divers.  A large plastic crate
was brought to our villa's porch the day we arrived.  We put all our dive
gear in it, and our gear reappeared set up on our boat or hanging in the
dressing area. The approach to the large, comfortable dive boats is made
via gently terraced decks.  No wading out into the water here! The boats
themselves are covered and feature liveaboard-like gear stations for six
divers.  There is an enclosed area at the front of each boat so wet divers
can hide from the wind on return rides.  We were served water on our way
out to each dive and welcomed back on board with more water, a warm wet
towel to wipe our faces with, fresh fruit, and a large fluffy towel for
drying off. KLR's location in the central area of the strait meant that
dives as far north as Angel's Window and as far south as Pulau Abadi were
within a twenty minutes' boat ride. We returned to the dressing area to
remove our wetsuits and put them in the large rinse tanks.  The crew then
hung them up for us while we showered.  There are two outdoor warm water
showers next the dressing area, as well as enclosed men's and women's
dressing rooms with their own warm showers.  There were also two cubbies
for dry things assigned to each villa.
     One dive guide was assigned to no more than three divers.  We made all
twenty four of our dives with Rusli, one of the resort's younger
divemasters.  KLR is doing an excellent job of training the next generation
of muck diving guides. Rusli spoke good English, so we could communicate
with him about what we wanted to see.  Under water he was sharp-eyed and
knew where to look for critters.  He certainly gave us a lot of bottom
time.  When other divers went back to the boat early, we continued our
dive.  (But don't worry about those other divers.  They were eating all the
papaya and pineapple in comfort.)  Rusli also taught us about the critters
we were seeing.  On one dive, he seemed to be spending an inordinate amount
of time looking at a patch of staghorn coral.  Then he motioned the two of
us over to him.  He pointed out three cuttlefish eggs within the coral.  We
watched a nascent cuttlefish chewing its way out of its egg sac. The tiny
cuttlefish swam out, turned golden, and then swam backward into the reef
and its life.  Wow! Back on the boat, Rusli told us that the other two eggs
would not hatch for several days. 
     As many divers have stated before us, Lembeh is muck diving and macro
photography paradise.  We seemed to see more cephalapods than we did on our
first visit to the strait.  We saw a number of cuttlefish and got inked by
some very tiny bobtail squid.  We also saw the full sized squid giving
color shows at night. We saw longarm octopus, hairy octopus, coconut octos
living in coconuts and plastic bottles, and no fewer than nine wonderpus,
including one mating pair on a night dive.  And we enjoyed a twenty minute
encounter with a mimic octopus (and, no, Rusli was not hassling the
octopus; the critter was just hanging out)  We also saw a blue-ringed
octopus and two flamboyant cuttlefish.  We also encountered many mantis
shrimp, tozeuma shrimp, emperor shrimp, porcelain crabs, zebra crabs,
decorator crabs,a small boxer crab,  and clinging crabs.  Rusli showed us
pretty file clams and the famous electric clam.  He also took us straight
to a pair of bobbitt worms on a night dive.  I did not know a fish could
get pulled into the sand so fast!  And we saw a variety of nudis and other
worms. We enjoyed Rhinopias aphanes, pink-eyed gobies, and our first sand
divers and comet.  Rusli lured a peacock flounder into full display. There
were frogfish both hairy and painted.  Seahorses came fullsized and pygmy,
both H. bargibanti and H. ponthoi.  We saw tiny pipefish that were scarcely
more than a filament. I haven't even mentioned the ubiquitous Ambon
scorpionfish, devilfish, and flying gunards. 
     Back on land, we enjoyed our spacious villa with its large and very
comfortable bed.  Large built-in closets provided ample storage space. 
There is a safe and small fridge in each room.  We enjoyed the settle and
writing desk.  The spacious bathroom features indoor and outdoor showers.
Hair dryer and large, fluffy towels are provided, as are cotton robes and
slides.  I enjoyed reading on the settle on the villa's porch.  Two large
bottles of drinking water are placed in the villa each morning, and we
heavy drinkers could get the bottles refilled at the bar.  The villas are
thoroughly cleaned each morning and straightened with evening turndown
service. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and maintained as a well
manicured tropical garden.
     The food in the upstairs, open-air restaurant has improved since our
first visit to KLR.  When there are fifteen or more guests in the resort
(which can accommodate twenty), food is served from a buffet.  The
breakfast buffet included an omelet station.  When the guest population
falls below fifteen, one orders from an extensive menu of Asian and Western
fare.  During our ten-day stay, we ate both from the buffet and the menu
and enjoyed both options. 
     When we arrived at the Manado airport, we were greeted by a staff
member from Kasawari Lembeh and provided with cool moist wash cloths, cool
bottles of water, and sandwiches before being tucked into a clean,
air-conditioned SUV for our two-hour drive to the resort.  That greeting
typified the hospitality and service we enjoyed throughout our stay. On our
last day, we took advantage of the massage pavilion.  The quality of the
massages was excellent and the price modest. 
     Kasawari Lembeh Resort provides both excellent diving services and a
bit of luxurious pampering. Why not?
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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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