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Dive Review of Kungkungan Bay Resort in
Indonesia/Lembe Strait, No. Sulawesi

September, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Leslie Chow, CA, USA
Report Number 719
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
N. California, Mexico, Hawaii, Fiji, Indonesia, Micronesia, Red Sea,
Solomon Islands, Israel
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
safety stop, approx. 1 hour dive times suggested (but actual times usually
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
2 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
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
The diving in the Lembe Strait is as terrific as ever. New discoveries
(since our last visit in '99) include a new type of pygmy seahorse (white,
narrow body with red/green streaks) and blue-ringed octopus. We saw the
usual cast of great muck creatures including several types of ornate ghost
pipefish, hairy frogfish, clown frogfish, hairy filefish, hairy scorpion
fish, ribbon eels, several types of nembrotha nudis, stargazers, mating
mandarin fish, a variety of octopus (no mimic this time though, alas!),
pygmy and regular seahorses, waspfish, leaf scorpion fish, flamboyant
cuttlefish, and, surprisingly, an enormous, pristine coral field at Batu

With the addition of 2 new land-based resorts on Lembe, a Thai liveaboard
in semi-permanent residence plus Manado day-trippers, the Lembe Strait has
become much more heavily serviced for divers. It was not uncommon to see 2
or 3 boats at our dive site, although each boat carried only a few divers.

We stayed at Kungkungan Bay Resort, the largest and oldest (9 years) of the
Lembe Strait dive operations; it was much less crowded then our prior visit
in 1999. We were the only 2 guests for half of our visit, with a maximum of
4 divers during the rest of our stay. This is both good and bad--- the
pro's being very high levels of service and attention plus you call the
shots on what dive spots & what you'd like to see. The staff is as
friendly and helpful as ever.

Cons are that KBR has laid off over half of its staff from a few years ago,
with most staff working only part-time and the mood is downbeat. Some
former staff work at the other Lembe dive operations. 

The first permanent KBR resort manager since 1999 arrived 2 weeks before
our trip and is working on some of the deferred maintenance issues in the
bungalows, boats and grounds. The new resort manager has extensive hotel
experience in Asia/Pacific and has plans for adding a pool and more
top-side amenitites as well as a number of 10th anniversary resident
photo/bio experts and events for next year. Nus remains as manager of the
diving operations, and is a terrific asset. So far terrorism has not been
an issue in predominantly Christian Northern Sulawesi, and we felt quite
safe in Sulawesi as well as our follow-on stay in Ubud, Bali (where there
were also much lower numbers of tourists). We were told that KBR bookings
are increasing for the fall and I hope things will improve in the region.
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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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