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Dive Review of Kungkungan Bay Resort in
Indonesia/Lembeh Strait - North Sulawesi

July, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Gary Krippendorf, CA, USA
Contributor   (14 reports)
Report Number 1408
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cayman Brac, Dominica, Cozumel, Roatan, Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Australia
(GBR), Coral Sea, and PNG
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
77   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
3 to 5 minute safety stop, responsible to monitor own air remaining  
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
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Small boats did not have any facilities for cameras. Cameras safely handled
and stored on towels. Shore facilities are excellant.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
I planned a trip for 4 of us from the San Francisco bay area to go diving
in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. After much research we decided to split our
diving between 2 locations, Bunaken and Lembeh Strait. This trip report is
for the second of the 2 places we visited, Lembeh Strait, which is
southeast of the city of Manado.

I planned the Lembeh Strait portion of our trip via telephone and e-mail
with Linda at the Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) office in Concord, CA. Linda
was very good at answering our questions, and we booked a 6-night inclusive
package. She arranged for our transfer from the Santika Hotel to KBR rather
than their normal airport pickup.

The KBR van picked us up at the Santika Hotel as arranged for the 2 1/2
hour ride to the resort. The KBR resort was in excellent shape and it was
clear that maintenance was being kept up. The restaurant had a mix of
western and Asian dishes. The breakfast buffet could have used a method to
keep the cooked dishes warm. The cottage suite rooms were clean with lots
of room to move around. Although not air conditioned, there was only one
night when we felt a bit too warm. The view of the Lembeh Strait from the
veranda porch was fantastic.

Lembeh Strait is known for its muck diving and strange critters. We spent 7
days on the Mike Ball Paradise Sport live aboard in PNG a few years ago, so
we knew what muck diving is. Lembeh Strait is muck diving heaven. The water
was smooth and most boat rides were 10-20 minutes to the dive sites. Our
maximum depth was 90 feet, though we spent most of our time between 30 and
60 feet. Most sites were sand bottoms with scattered coral heads. A couple
of the sites had more bommie type coral formations. One disappointment was
that a couple dive sites had litter and trash on the bottom. Finding an
octopus in a broken beer bottle was interesting, but I wish he had a more
natural home.

Most days there were just the 4 of our group in the boat along with the
boat captain and 2 dive guides. My wife and I would have our own dive
master to guide us while our 2 friends had their own dive master. As we
dove, when one dive master found something interesting, hed tap his tank
to get the other dive masters attention to make sure all four of us got to
see the find. Our dive masters were able to find all sorts of
well-camouflaged and truly unbelievable critters. Oftentimes wed have to
look several times very carefully to see the critters, even while being
pointed at by our guides. They were very patient with us and made sure we
had seen the critters. Before each dive wed get a briefing for the site,
which listed the critters known to be in the area. The guides made sure we
saw them along with many others. Seeing a flamboyant cuttlefish capture a
snack and a hairy frogfish gulp down a passing fish was most memorable. I
wish my eyesight were better so I could have made out more detail when
looking at the pygmy seahorses. The list of exotic fish we saw would exceed
the space limits for this review. Whatever praises you have heard about the
critters in the Lembeh Strait is true, only better.

There were really only two main problems with our diving at KBR. First, we
were not there long enough. Five diving days and 16 dives just scratched
the surface. I would still go to both locations, but Id go for at least a
week at each. Second, we saw so many different things on each dive that we
couldnt begin to log it all. The four of us would start talking about what
we saw during the boat ride back to the dock and wed keep mentioning more
and more. This was compounded by the fact we were seeing things that we
could describe, but couldnt name. We spent time most evenings looking
through marine life references in the lodge, but still couldnt find the
names for a few of our finds. Taking digital photographs was a big help,
because it provided a record with a timestamp.

Would I go again? You bet!
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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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