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Dive Review of Kasawari Lembeh in
Indonesia/Northern Sulawesi

Kasawari Lembeh, Mar, 2010,

by Robert DeFeo, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports). Report 5432.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Philippines, Roatan, Cayman's, Monterey, CA, Puget Sound, Texas, Hawaii, Channel Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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
UW Photo Comments Beautifully set up camera room with over a dozen individual stations with power at each station. Computer available, low-pressure air available, camera towels. Gorgeous decor. The absolute finest facility

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The penultimate boutique dive resort! It's really a dive spa. Our trip was organized by Walter Bolton from Central Oregon Diving in Bend, OR and "Oh! What a trip he organized for us!" From the minute you are greeted until you sail away from the dock at the end of your stay, you are pampered and addressed by salutation & first name--my case it was "Mr. Bob." Kasawari-Lembeh Resort is a 5-star equivalent dive resort and operation. A real thrill was driving from Manado to the resort with the drive resembling a James Bond death-defying car chase scene...one of our divers promised to put it on You Tube...you have to laugh as you sit there and get terrorized in the traffic on the narrow roads with people and scooters coming at you from all angles. But we made it without any bladder incidents thanks to our wonderful driver, who we named "Lucky---to be alive." The resort is just north of the village of Bitung and is situated on level ground in a very steep, V-shaped valley with jungle towering above and behind the resort with the valley running to the water's edge with Lembeh Island across the strait. The grounds are immaculately kept and resemble a finely cared for botanical garden. Large villas surround the main yard/garden and sleep two to a room and are equipped with ceiling fans, air conditioning, refrigerator, hot cup, indirect lighting and large closets and shelves. The bathrooms have two stone showers--indoor and outdoor with plenty of hot water & great water pressure. Water is provided for drinking on a daily or on-demand basis. Resort is ecologically consciencious on all things including laundry. INTERNET WI-FI connection available but went in and out frequently with slow service. Mosquito coils are lit on your front porch every evening at 5 pm and mosquitos weren't much of a problem at all at the resort. An umbrella is provided on each deck in case of rain. Beds are very comfortable with great linens and pillows. Villas are 5-star all the way and are similiar to private residences with plenty of space between them. Two villas face Lembeh Strait and have water views. Power is 220 volts with oulet plugs the same as Germany. The resort maintains an electric generator to replace the frequent loss of electric power that occurs in Northern Sulawesi. The infinity pool is exceptionally excellent with in-pool benches and jacuzzi heads. Water temperature was 88-90 degrees in the pool. Swimming to the infinity edge and gazing across the strait is a delight as bouganvillas drape the waterfall edge of the pool. Massages are available by appointment too and although I didn't use the service others reported it was great. The restaurant has one very long banquet table plus two smaller tables but the main table sat 20 people very comfortably. Meals are delicious and superbly prepared with hot foods being hot and cold being very cold. Buffet style rules but breakfast includes eggs to order cooked before you. The staff is incredibly helpful and courteous. Water is served once you sit and coffee and tea is served as well. Meals included Indonesian, western, and a sort of asian fusion with many seafood items, chicken, pork, and beef. Vegetables were wonderfully prepared and seasoned. Vegetarian needs are accounted for as well as any other dietary restrictions. One of our travelers had a peanut alergy and they asked about that and prepared her food with that in mind with no problems experienced. Desserts are 5-star restaurant quality and the staff is just wonderful in all things. On departure they serenade you to the dock with music and song---and it appears very genuine and real. These folks mean to be very professional and likeable and they achieve it on all counts. You will not find a better resort. The bar serves beer and wine and provides ice as you desire.
The dive operation is five-star as well. Genuinely friendly, professional, happy people set up your dive gear and move and rinse it. They dive shop dressing/gear area is cavernously huge with well-appointed benches, shelves, and hang-up areas. Camera and gear rinse tanks are tiled baths reminding me of something you might see in Rome. Huge and exceptionally clean like everything else at the resort. Thorough briefings are given in a sheltered area below the gear area on the way down the dock to the three dive boats or sometimes on the boats. We never had more than 6 divers on a boat and they sailed three for every dive window. This says a lot about Kasawari since it would have been easy to cram divers onto two boats only. Nitrox 32 available and strongly recomended since dive depths and times make NITROX use a great idea for spending time searching for the small but incredible aquatic life that abounds in the Lembeh Strait. Our entire group dove on NITROX. Ali is the dive boss and he is famous in Indonesia for the animals he's helped find and identify for scientific inquiry. He's friendly, knowledgable and he can find anything you want to see. One group diving with him was able to film a "Bobbit Worm" attacking a dead fish he used for bait during one of the night dives. That is one scary animal...I sure won't be touching bottom at night in the Lembeh Strait--ever. This place is a photographer's delight and one of the reasons diving the strait is so highly ranked as a place to dive on a diver's bucket list. We saw just a huge amount of life: blue-ringed octopus, wonderpus, seahorses, pigmy seahorses and all sorts of cuttle fish, squid, assorted tropical fish species, fire starfish, spotted rays, mandarine fish, coconut octopus. You name a muck diving critter and we saw it. There is coral in the strait and some of it is wonderously beautiful...particuliary at a dive spot named "Nudi-Falls"---for the nudibranches not the lack of swim wear. I saw sights here up against the mainland shore that were awesome. I felt as though I was sitting in a wonderful piece of heaven inside God's flower garden---fascinating color and abundance of life on top of life. We made two dives there and on the last one I spent 20 minutes in front of this exploding wall of three-dimensional color just trying to take in the visual wonder of it all. Also, the DMs are extremely environmentally focused. I witnessed them replanting some plants and other life that had been disturbed--before our arrival on scene. They take great care to protect the undersea world and they work really hard to point out the creatures you want to see. Dives are at 730, 1030, 230, and Mandarian dive at 5 pm three times a week with night dives at 6 pm every night. You return to shore after each dive...and hop into that incredible infinity pool:) Light breakfast is served at 630 am and regular breakfast after the first dive. Lunch follows the 1030 dive and wonderfully prepared "snacks", which are home-made style pastries for the most part, are served after the 230 dive as you leave the gear area. Nitrox is tested by them and tanks are filled on the boat with your tank marked with % and date. You don't actually do the testing yourself but they have you sign the sheet for the % in your tank before each dive...not the way it should be done but it worked out very well with that element of "trust me" procedure. Dives are giant strides and dives last 60-75 minutes with the average depths being 80-30 feet. Getting out of the water involves passing up your weights followed by your BCD and fins. Once on deck you are handed a hot and I mean HOT face towel, a glass of water, and fresh fruit...such is the diving life at Kasawari. Boats are comfortable for the short rides to the dive sites. Only one area is longer than 20 minutes away from the resort. Bottom line: Service with a smile and great diving. Go! You'll love 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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