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Dive Review of Lembeh Resort in
Indonesia/Lembeh

Lembeh Resort, Sep, 2006,

by Rick Cavanaugh, MD, United States (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3645.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 78 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15 to 30 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes or so....not really enforced too much
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 5 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 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Excellent subject matter for macro. Excellent camera room. Surface interval at resort so the boats need no rinse tank. Shore has large rinse tanks. Dive sites 10-15 minutes from resort.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Normally you arrive via van from Manado Airport. The trip takes about 1 hour. We arrived via boat from Gangga Island via Gangga Islands dive boat.

Lembeh Resort is a very pretty resort on a VERY hilly area of Lembeh. Expect lots of stairs. If you have problem with stairs, you may want to avoid this resort or at least request rooms 5-8. Rooms 10-12 have many stairs to climb every day. Room 7 is the closest to the Kitchen and you will hear them every morning, but it is also one of the shortest walks.

The rooms are large and clean but they are trying to be a 4 star resort so the rooms could use a little more attention to cleaning to achieve this. Lembeh is a black sand area and it is more of a jungle type of environment. It is therefore harder to keep clean.

The food is a combination of authentic Indonesian food which is spicy noodles and currays. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. Dinner was ordered at lunch time off of a menu. Food overall was excellent. Drinks such as beer, wine, mixed drinks, sodas etc, were extra. Lembeh Resort is isolated so there are no other restaurants and thus no exploring local foods.

The diving was done from their Indonesian style wooden boats (all resorts in this area use the same style boats). The boats are not the most comfortable but in this area of the world you have no choice. Entries are via a giant stride or a back roll and a ladder to return. There were no camera rinse tanks on the boats, but none are really needed as the boat returns to sore for the surface interval. There were very large rinse tanks on shore dedicated for cameras. All gear was brought onto the boat and care for by the staff.

There is no dock for the dive boats, so entries and exits from the boat are wet. They have one dock used when you arrive. There are shore showers, rest rooms and a dive locker dress area within 50 feet of the boats. Your gear is stored here. Everyone gets suited up BEFORE boarding the boat. Most dive sites are 10 to 15 minutes away.

Lembeh is world famous for its muck dives. However, they do have reefs too. Most of the people come to Lembeh for the muck diving and thus very few dives are done on the reefs.

Most of the Lembeh muck dives were black sandy slopes that varied from 10 feet to 80 feet. There was a fair amount of trash, bottles, cans, wood, burlap sacks and such. There were small coral areas. However, the critters were incredible. I have never seen so many frog fish, scorpion fish, and pipe fish in my life. After a few days frog fish were boring and you start looking for better things. It does get better. The amount of unique and strange critters that are in such a small area is amazing. Many of the fish life looks like it was made for a Star Wars Movie.

Diving was fairly easy with the dive guides being excellent. They were excited about the sea life and were very good at finding it. They were very respectful of the sea life and I never saw them rough handle anything. The only problem was a video diver who beat the hell out of the reef trying to video the Rhinopias. I saw this guy break more coral with his fins on one dive then I have seen in 300 dives. He even knocked over a 2 foot tall sponge! I complained to the dive staff and they pulled him aside and counseled him about this. The remaining dives with him, the dive guide spent the time to assure he would do no more damage.

Things we saw: Rhinopias, Giant Frog Fish, baby Frog fish, clown frog fish, pygmy sea horses, sea horses, Ornate ghost pipe fish, banded pipe fish, leaf fish, crocodile fish, at least 20 different nudibranch, ribbon eels, sea wasps, flying gurnards, sweet lips, cockatoo wasp fish plus much more. What we did not see (but we wanted to) but other divers saw: wonderpus, mimic octopus star gazer.

All dive guides have slates that they write the names of the critters they find. Our dive guide would even write in Japanese for the Japanese guests!

The house reef is worth diving. It is an easy dive to about 60 feet and has a fair amount of life. Lembeh divers allow one free shore dive for every 2 boat dives. The first one is guided.

Overall, I give Lembeh Resort the highest ranking for their great dive operation. It was one of the best operations I have seen yet. I still don't know how many days of muck diving is too much. After 4 or 5 days I think I would be ready to see a health coral reef with no garbage.
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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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