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

Kungkungan Bay Resort, Sep, 2003,

by Leslie Chow, CA, USA . Report 719.

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

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions safety stop, approx. 1 hour dive times suggested (but actual times usually 1-1:20.
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 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
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 Angus.

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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