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

Kungkungan Bay Resort, Jul, 2004,

by Gary Krippendorf, CA, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports). Report 1408.

No photos available at this time

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 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, he’d tap his tank to get the other dive master’s 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 we’d 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 we’d 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 I’d go for at least a week at each. Second, we saw so many different things on each dive that we couldn’t 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 we’d keep mentioning more and more. This was compounded by the fact we were seeing things that we could describe, but couldn’t name. We spent time most evenings looking through marine life references in the lodge, but still couldn’t 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!

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

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 77-79°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-50 Ft/ 5-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 3 to 5 minute safety stop, responsible to monitor own air remaining
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 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Small boats did not have any facilities for cameras. Cameras safely handled and stored on towels. Shore facilities are excellant.
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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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