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Dive Review of Lembeh Resort in
Indonesia/Lembeh Straight

Lembeh Resort: "Lembeh Resort - muck/macro paradise", Mar, 2016,

by Chris Watt, MA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 8883 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was our first trip to Indonesia, split into 6 days at Lembeh Resort, followed by a 1 week Raja Ampat liveaboard. What a great trip. Since we had never been to Indo before, we enlisted the help of Jenny Collister at Reef & Rainforest, who in addition to our own research was incredibly helpful in helping us evaluate options and then putting it all together = Lembeh, liveaboard, international flights, indo flights – very seamless. Loved the experience on Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia – both great service.

Lembeh Resort was the perfect start to a 2 week trip like this. LR is nestled on a hillside on Lembeh Island, a 10 minute boatride from the North Sulawesi mainland. We were definitely tired upon arrival, having flown Boston-NY/JFK-Frankfurt-Singapore-Manado. We arrived at the resort in the late afternoon, receiving a nice welcome drink and tour of the resort. Given our long travel and afternoon arrival, we decided not to dive that day. Some of the folks on our flight from Germany decided to jump right in with a dusk shore dive. More on that later.

We were in Room 9, high up the hill. Beautiful room and view. AC worked well and beds were quite comfortable. Filtered water container in the room. Shower and toilet are in the open air bathroom…..very nice and only an occasional lizard friend . Soap, shampoo all provided in the room. Electrical outlets in the room are 220v, with continental Europe-style 2 pronged outlets. We honestly spent almost no time in the room outside of sleeping.

Meals were in the central open air dining room, with assigned tables (although this could be flexed upon request). Really good food – plentiful, decent variety. Neither of us are really big foodies, but we were kept very happy. In addition to the main meal diving room there is a small pool bar as well as a café next to the dive shop that offer drinks and snacks. The pool was THE place for us to lounge between dives…there always seemed to be plenty of lounge chair space, with towels always available. As with many dive resorts, the resort and dive operation are separate yet symbiotic entities. Resort managers (and partners) Morten and Katja were great hosts – very visible, very personable, always asking how things were, sitting down with us to share stories over a pre-dinner beer, etc. The staff at the resort was fantastic – so friendly, helpful and kind. We did see occasional bugs and there some mosquitoes, but they were not bothersome. We wore insect repellent the first few days but honestly forgot about it thereafter. Most the resort has stone pathways, so little danger of sand insects.

There is a spa – both of us booked massage appointments for our off-gassing day – definitely recommended.

The DIVING:

The dive operation is critters@lembeh. Although the relationship is symbiotic, if making any special diving requests in advance, I would definitely recommend contacting the dive folks directly. Lembeh Straight diving is all about the muck and we certainly had our full share of this over 4 full days of diving (we did not dive on Day 5, since our flight to Sorong was at 7AM the following morning). This was the first true muck experience for both of us, but we certainly knew what to expect…..lots of black sand and many relatively unscenic dive sites…but with an unending collection wild and wonderful critters. The dive operation was well-run and efficient, run by Lauren, a Canadian. The Dive staff led a well-organized Nitrox analysis process – right at 32% or just below on almost all dives. Each dive buddy pair was assigned at “locker” adjacent to the dive boat departure area, where all of our gear was kept. We set up our BCs and tank once and the boat staff handled it all for the rest of the week, including washing on the last day. Camera gear was handled carefully. Rinse facilities for cameras were separate and adequate. The facilities for folks with cameras are fantastic = dedicated camera room with great work stations, drying towels, compressed air gun, 110/220 power outlets available, good lighting, very clean, etc. In addition, there is a photo shop with all kinds of advice and gear available, including camera rentals.

We were assigned to a boat with 6 other folks, 2 main divemasters and 1 “sweeper” divemaster. This low DM/diver ratio worked well, although since muck diving is all about critters, when a DM signals a critter find, it can result in quite of a scrum. Boat rides were 10-15 minutes max and return to the resort after every dive. The variety and weirdness of the critters was amazing and absolutely worth a stop on this trip. Although there are some reefs adjacent to some of the sites (Nudi Falls is one of the most enjoyable of these), most are a combo of black sand and rubble. The dive profile was virtually identical at most sites = proceed to 20m/60 feet; look for critters in the rubble/sand, eventually ascend the sand slope towards the end of the dive. Very little current experienced on any of the dives. Vis was on the murkier side = perhaps 50 feet at best and sometimes lower. Exit from the boats was via backroll, water was provided at the beginning and end of each dive along with post dive snacks (usually fruit), re-boarding was via a temp but sturdy ladder either with gear or gear could be handed up. We did 4 days of 3 dives (2 morning dives, 1 afternoon dive). LR does offer night dives if enough folks sign up. On one day we signed up for a Mandarin fish dive. This was a waste of time = hovering in 7 feet of water for 70 minutes for a few brief glimpses. The skinny on Mandarin dives at Lembeh = there is one prime divesite for Mandarin mating behavior (Bianca). Each resort is allocated a dusk slot for this site, typically 1 day/week. That said, Lembeh will offer to take you on a Mandarin dive on any day that at least 3 folks sign up. If this is on a day that is not their assigned “Bianca” day, you will be taken to a site close to the resort where sightings appear to be much more limited (that was us). Shore diving = there is a house reef at LR, but the quote we heard from multiple folks was “nice enough, but probably not worth it”. The dive operation does have larger 15 liter (~100 CF) tanks available upon request. They also offer both DIN and yoke tank valves. We did not rent any gear. A muck stick is a must for this trip, although the dive shop has plenty for sale.

Long story short, we really thoroughly enjoyed Lembeh Resort and the muck experience. Although I won’t likely return as I don’t think muck is my “thing”, LR is a fantastic option for diving in Lembeh Straight and a really nice, mellow pre or post liveaboard add-on to any Indo trip. Highly recommended.
Websites Lembeh Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving New England, FL Keys, St. Lawrence River, Red Sea, Maldives, Italy, UK/English Channel, Turks & Caicos, St. Vincent, Roatan, Costa Rica, Belize, Hawaii, Bermuda
Closest Airport Manado Getting There Direct flights from Singapore

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-50 Ft/ 12-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dives loosely limited to 60 minutes, but not really enforced
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments See comments in main report
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Michael Leein TN, US at Mar 02, 2018 09:42 EST  
Thank you for the detailed review. I have 3 days here, post liveabord. You have listed some great tips to consider for making the most out of my short stay here.
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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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