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

Kungkungan Bay Resort, May, 2005,

by Fred Turoff, PA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 1986.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, BVI, Saba, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Sea of Cortez, Micronesia, Red Sea, Malaysia, Coco Island, Galapagos, Revillagigedos, PNG, Komodo
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 76 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Told to keep above 130 ft (which I never got near). Best to stay with dive guides, who found many critters for us.
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 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 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Camera room close to boat area was excellent. Capacity perhaps 12 photographers/videographers. Tables lined opposite sides of room. One side was 110v, other 220v. Several rinse tanks outside. Cameras were handled well by staff.

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

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

This excellent resort and dive operation will fulfill the critter dreams of most divers. The rooms are spacious and well-kept. The grounds are cared for daily, the staff friendly and helpful. A short walk is all one needs to get to the restaurant, main building or dive center. A beautiful pool beckoned, but diving and photography occupied so much of my time that I didnt get to use it during my eight-night, nine-day visit. The food was wonderful, with buffet service for both breakfast and lunch, while dinner was an order-your-meal service with an ample menu. If you did a night dive, someone met the boat to take your order so that the food would be ready once you had taken care of all post-dive activities. The only problem that occurred was due to our proximity to the jungle and something the resort may not be able to avoid for three days there was a small termite swarm that invaded my room and left 2-foot-diameter rings of droppings and wings in an area of my room, several times around my washroom sink. They resembled circles of pepper grounds, and were only a nuisance.

The water temperature varied between 76-80 degrees, with visibility varying between 20-60 feet. Since there was lots of stuff in the water, wide-angle photography was limited, but macro photography opportunities were available on each dive. In fact, Lembeh Strait is a macro heaven. If you want to see something, it is probably there. The dive masters often ask what you want to see and make a list that gets checked off as your visit progresses. I did 24 dives and shot 105mm Macro on 22 of them. I saw a frogfish and seahorses on most, if not each, dive. There were no sharks, angelfish, large schools of fish or bigger creatures. However, I did see the following: squid, cuttlefish, flamboyant cuttlefish and octopus; numerous shrimp species including several colorful peacock mantis shrimp, many crinoid and anemone shrimp; tiny crinoid and pink fairy lobsters ; ornate ghost pipefish and Halimeda ghost pipefish; over 30 nudibranch species; numerous moray species; blue ribbon eels (with juveniles, which are black); mandarinfish (a dusk dive to watch them mate); pink and yellow pygmy seahorses; numerous crab species including large decorator crabs that look like a pile of detritus moving across the seafloor, zebra, xeno, porcelain, orangutan and spider; hairy, warty and other frogfish; thorny, smooth, estuary and common seahorses, seaspider, seamoths, juvenile batfish; scorpionfish and lionfish; waspfish; various flatworms. The dive guides knew where many creatures live, so they were quite helpful finding most everything we saw. Some creatures I wanted to see but didnt are: mimic octopus, wonderpus and stonefish. Of course, the afternoon dive I sat out on my last full day there (as I would fly within 24 hours) yielded a mimic octopus. One funny situation occurred when a crinoid lobster decided it would rather live in a divemasters BC, so it swam from the crinoid into his jacket. The DM opened his BC and it took me a short while to locate the crinoid lobster and return it to the crinoid. We probably looked quite comical.

Diving so far from my home in Philadelphia allowed me to meet people from England, Scotland, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan (plus other US folks). The dive center featured a room dedicated to photographers/videographers. It had tables along opposite walls with one side 220-volt and the other 110-volt outlets. Outside of this room, cameras were kept in plastic bins in several large fresh-water baths. The cameras were transported to and from the boats in these bins. Dive groups numbered 3-6 per boat, with 1-2 divemasters each. The longest boat ride was no more than 15 minutes, with most shorter. Dive depths maxed, for me, at 88 feet, with most shallower to start and finished often in 10-15 feet. Most dives lasted an hour or more. Being thin, my two layers of wetsuits a fleecy 3mm vest with hood and a fleecy full-body 3mm kept me warm enough for much of the dives but I did get chilled by the end of each, so next time Ill bring a thicker suit and a thicker hood. Topside weather was quite pleasant, and rain was minimal, although the week previous had rain each day, I was told.
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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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