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Dive Review of Dive into Lembeh in

Dive into Lembeh: "Lembeh is great but not in all regards", Jun, 2018,

by paul moliken, DE, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 10288 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments [None]Having dived in the luxury of Wakatobiís healthy reefs, we decided to experience muck diving in Lembeh for the first time as an alternative to the vast corals found in Wakatobi. After arriving in Manado via Singapore by way of Taipei and New York, we were met by a Dive into Lembeh Resort (formerly Hairball Resort) driver for the 2 hour drive to DIL. It was long, very slow, and uninteresting. After we drove through Kasawari Village, Dive into Lembeh appeared. Steve and Miranda Coverdale, the owners/operators, greeted us with cool drinks when we arrived and explained operations, locations, and procedures, took cards, insurance info, etc. Nice buffet meals in the main gathering area, but sometimes repetitive offerings. We are vegetarians, and there was always food specifically for us, even a special soup when the main soup was chicken. I personally loved DILís soups. Plenty of food for seconds and ice cream was available, even after the regular desserts. All rooms are large, have great views, face East for sunrises, are quite comfortable, offer the incredible sensation of a hot-tub after 4 pm to relax, and do not entail a steep climb to reach. The pool is a very nice area for relaxation. Steve and Miranda are wonderful, helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable hosts. Cannot say enough about them and the way they run their resort. Gear is stored in a box near the fantastic camera room, and we never had to haul it anywhere; guides took it on and off the boats. If the boat was set to depart at 7:45, it left then and was rarely more than 5 minutes late, so we felt that our time was not wasted with waiting. After a short ride on one of their comfortable, fast boats, a quick briefing for the never-more-than six divers, and an easy entry, we started our dives relatively deep, sometimes 85 feet, but spent the majority of time around 40. After the dives were over, once you took off your BC, fins, and camera, guides handled all gear at the easy exit ladder, so the diving is not difficult for older divers. When we arrived at one site, there were strong currents, so the experienced guides said nope and just took us to another site five minutes away. Diving was for the most part amazing, with guides finding over 50 different nudibranchs, 10 different frogfish, numerous cephalopods (mimic and blue ring octopus were highlights; flamboyants relatively common), innumerable shrimp and crabs, hidden fish, stuff in the sand, etc., but nothing large, which was expected. The dives frequently left me with less than 500 pounds of air at ten feet, but the guides made sure there was no problem; once they got to understand my consumption rate, they pretty much knew how much air I had at any time during the dive. It is hard to describe the lack of visibility in the water, but at times with silt being stirred up, it was only a couple feet in front of us. At other times, it extended a hazy 20 feet or so. We encountered currents only once, coming around a pinnacle. At times, the bottom unfortunately looked extremely desolate, like it had been drift-netted, and on three different dives, we saw only a couple creatures in the hour-long time underwater, making those dives particularly unappealing. A dive to Retak Larry was barren, but we returned a few days later, and it had become alive with octo, shrimp, and nudis, so itís a matter of timing, I guess. I did 21 dives and my wife did 30, so the three poor ones didnít amount to much; the critters on the other dives were truly amazing. Spotting them ourselves would have been impossible, but our guides, Ranu and Etmo, found nudis the size of a keyboard hyphen that were incredible for macro photography, inverts that we would have just passed over, and fish that were totally camouflaged. There were also dive sites, specifically Angelís Window, that had healthy stands of coral and sea mounts with many fish and soft corals. But we went for the macro life. Returning guests we spoke to said that Lembeh has been degraded in the past few years. The vast amount of rubbish on top of the water (single-drink plastic cups, bags, tarps, medicine bottles, 2-liters, ad nauseum) and the shoes, bottles, tires, and other junk on the bottom probably justified their remarks. Yes, creatures do make their homes in some of the debris, but there is lots of junk that simply spoils the place. There should be some sort of concerted effort among the dive resorts of Lembeh to clean it up. It also seems that none of the resorts there (at least the others we heard about) has a no-touch policy. Every single thing (chunks of coral, abandoned junk, clumps of algae) that could harbor something for us to photograph was overturned, moved, and checked out by the guides, gone over with their pointers, which, while somewhat necessary for shooting, has to cause long-term problems. In addition, animals were moved or disturbed for better photographyóa couple small fish were killed and fed to frogfish or mantis shrimp. We did not express this opinion to anyone other than to fellow divers, however. So, if you expect a hands-off experience, Lembeh isnít the place for you. I guess itís a trade-off between photographing something imperfectly but naturally, and adjusting the surroundings for a better shot. If I didnít know, Iíd never think that the animals in the pictures we returned with had been manipulated. The one pigmy seahorse we found was surrounded by 6-8 divers, all taking many flash pictures and probably disturbing the delicate creature. Preparations and actual leaving went very smoothly, and the overall weather was super, with only a little rain and very, very few mosquitos.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving mexico caribbean wakatobi
Closest Airport Manado Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 79-83°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 2-20 Ft/ 1-6 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

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 N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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