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Dive Review of Murex Divers/Lembeh Resort in
Indonesia/Lembeh Straits

Murex Divers/Lembeh Resort, Sep, 2004,

by William & Frances Ungerman, CA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 1315.

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 N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The adventure continued as we left Manado's Tasik Ria Resort (see that review this issue of Undercurrent) and made our way across North Sulewesi to the Lembeh Straits. Half our loose confederation of divers opted to make the optional jungle trek in search of monkeys and apes, but we personally decided the shortest distance between two points was a straight (okay, a little crooked) line. Two hours later, having lived through a real-live Indian Jones ride to "Police Pier," we embarked on a runabout for the 15 minute ride across the straits to the magnificent Lembeh Resort. And "magnificent" it is, halfway between rustic and subdued modernism. Carved literally out of the jungle cliffs, the resort is a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. The rooms are spacious and tastefully appointed but don't look for satellite TV or telephones. The bathroom and shower is Balinees style, i.e., outdoors fringed with high walls for privacy. Food is varied and well prepared and runs the gamut from traditional Indonesian to contemporary Western. The CDC lists this area as a "moderate" malarial risk but no one took Larium or Chlorquinine and were fine. Didn't see that many mosquitos anyway.

Diving: What can I say? The underwater terrain is nothing but black or yellow sand strewn with broken coral rubble interrupted only occasionally by outcroppings of living coral. The viz is terrible (20-40 feet) and the water is chilly (76-80 degrees F). That said, this is the most incredible place on the face of the planet when it comes to The Critter Hunt. Don't expect to see sharks and Mantas, but what you will encounter will boggle your mind and titilate your imagination: Creatures rare and wild are EVERYWHERE. And I mean EVERWHERE. At any one time three other divers will be screaming into their regulators and gesticulating, inviting you to inspect some bizarre creature, or ten of them all in a row. On one sunken coconut log I counted no less than 17 lionfish, five various scorpion fish, a couple mantis shrimp and fifty or sixty small flounders surrounding the log. But then I turned and saw a piece of broken coral housing a giant Stone Fish, a Wonderpuss, a Devil Fish, a Crocodile Fish and oh hell... Then there was and old barrel with a Flambouyant Cuddlefish, Pygmy Sea Horse, Harlequin Shrimp, Porceline Crab and a Hairy Frog Fish and... Then there was the Fake Stone Fish, Juvenile Bat Fish, Thorny Sea Horse, Wasp Fish, Snake Eel queued up for inspection. If you have a wish list of things you'd like to see, bring it, the dive guides will add to it. On the house reef you can photograph - or just enjoy - a half dozen Mandarin Fish, and they're not as skittish as the ones outside Chandelier Cave in Palau. We personally saw most everything except a Mimic Octopus, but others did. Some of this stuff is not even in the books. There is no better muck diving in the world and no wonder every major UWP personality makes this his or her number one destination to photograph the incredible critter life. I ran out of film on every dive here half or 3/4 way through every dive, even after eschewing bracketing!!! Digital is coming.

An ex-pat Canadian named Bruce runs Murex Divers. He's good, professional and accomodating. We dove Nitrox from 34-40 percent at $8.00 (US) per tank. Only a degree off the equator, the air temperature is surprisingly mild, due largely in part to the trade winds that blow and sometimes blow hard. The water is a chilly 77-79 degrees F, once in a while nudging into 80. You need a five (5) millimeter suit. Read this twice and take it to heart. FIVE MILS. A lot of people layered everything they had with them to stay warm.

Patty and Gene Shales of Aquatic Image, Inc. put this litle sojourn together and like I previously opined, a great job they did with a great time being had by all. On the return trip we stopped overnight in Singapore and what a place. Contemporary modern, there is no grafitti, no trash in the streets, no loitering street toughs, and law and civil order appears to be complied with rather than enforced. Prices for watches, cameras and electronics at Lucky Plaza were typicaly 30-35% under the US market rates. It's a shopper's paradise.

Final thoughts: This trip rated amongsts our very best, right up there with Sipidan and Palau. But when you consider the macro life, there is no comparison with any other destination on this earth. Put this place on your list.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Pacific and Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 77-80°F / 25-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-40 Ft/ 6-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Most dives conducted in 40-60 foot range with the maximum achieved around 100 feet. "Enforcement" fairly loose.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments No UWP acccomodations on the boats. Cameras laid on a cushion until retun from dive. Large rinse tank on shore along with a dedicated camera room.
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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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