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Dive Review of Black Sand Dive Retreat in
Indonesia/Lembeh Strait

Black Sand Dive Retreat: "A Gem in Lembeh", Oct, 2019,

by Fredda Lerner, VA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 11217.

Photos Submitted with this Report


Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

Juvenile wonderpus Mimic octopus Clown frog fish
2 female ribbon eels Clownfish Juvenile ornate ghost pipefish Leaf scorpionfish Seahorse
Flamboyant cuttlefish

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our week in Lembeh Strait at Black Sand Dive Retreat (BSDR) far exceeded our high expectations. For years we have read about Lembeh and then decided to go to BSDR after a recommendation from fellow divers on a previous trip. We are so glad we did!
The sand at the BSDR beach is really black!
There are so many wonderful things about Lembeh Strait and BSDR. First the amazing muck diving. Before each dive trip, I create a mental list of various animals I want to see. At BSDR I was able to cross off most of them! Highlights: Mimic octopus - check (several). Wonderpus - check (a few). Starry night octopus - check (1). Coconut octopus - check (lots). White V octopus (lots). Ornate ghost pipefish (and some juveniles) - check. Seahorses - check (lots of different types, colors and sizes). Bobtail squid - check. Flamboyant cuttlefish - check. Cockatoo flounder - check. Banggai cardinalfish - check. Mandarin fish - check.
Now BSDR - it is a real gem. It is very small and personal - owners Bruce and Fung joined us at some meals and came to talk with us personally at our bungalow. Bruce joined us on a night dive - he knows just about everything there is to know about diving in Lembeh.
Each bungalow has a breathtaking view of Lembeh Strait. There is plenty of storage in the bungalow. The Dive Centre is by the beach and has separate lockers for each bungalow's dive equipment. There are several fresh water rinse tanks and showers. A unique feature of each bungalow is that the shower and bathroom are part of the bungalow but are in the open air. I loved it!
The pool is shaped like a foot - which is very unique as well as beautiful. The food was great and plentiful. The service was impeccable.
There are boat dives at 8am, 11am 2:30pm and 5:30pm (the night dive). Each dive is a single tank. The boats are small and hold 4 divers. It makes sense because all of the dive sites are close - only a few minutes away. And - one of the best shore dives in Lembeh is the BSDR "house" reef.
To be real, there were 2 down sides of the trip. 1st - getting there. It takes over 30 hours to get there from the east coast of the US - but it is well worth it. 2nd is that we did not see any rhinopias (the deepest dive in Lembeh). I assume that was purposeful because we have a reason to return so that we can see them! And we will return to BSDR. Kudos to Bruce and Fung for such a wonderful dive resort!
Websites Black Sand Dive Retreat   [same]

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas, Hawaii, Cocos Islands, Galapagos, Australia, Chuuk/Truk, Palau, Yap, Philippines
Closest Airport Manado Getting There DC --> SFO --> SIN --> MDC

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-50 Ft/ 6-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were guided based on what you requested to see. We used air. Nitrox available but expensive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Separate locked camera room at the Dive Centre, plenty of charging but no forced air. Towels are provided.
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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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