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Published: February 21st 2010
The word “muck diving” might not say much to most people but once you have tried it you never turn back! It is a little bit like opening a diving book that shows hundreds of weird critters, all with funny colors and shape except that you experience the real thing… Lembeh Strait to that extend is THE place to discover species that you have never seen before
, so camera gears all set, ready for some national geographic type of experience!
About two hours from Manado, driving trough North Sulawasie
, and then taking a short 15mn boat ride lies the island of Lembeh. Its strait separating it from the mainland is covered with healthy coral reef
and the notorious black sandy volcano bottom
which with a lot of patience and the macro mode on reveals its secrets one after the other.
The Lembeh resort, a place in heaven… « Welcome to heaven »
, those were the first three words I heard as I was greeted by the GM upon my arrival at the Lembeh resort and indeed…truly felt like it was! Set among the jungle along the deep blue ocean, each cottage offers a breathtaking view and a
comfort that is rarely seen in diving resort.
Decorated with taste, the cottage includes a spacious living room, large bedroom and a bathroom with both indoor and outdoor rain shower… the perfect way to start this very relax holiday! The less to say is that after four different flights (Pyongyang, Beijing, Bangkok, Kuala lumpur and finally Manado…) and a two hours transit, a little bit of comfort is more than welcome.
The nice welcome cocktail was followed by an even more lovely dinner, everything served by the plate and over the course of few days, I truly rediscover Indonesian food, its spices, the how so delicious lemon grass tuna and the sake (meat brochette) to mention just a few.
The pool overlooking the sea or the hot stone massage were some of the other ways to chill out in between two dives…and diving we did with three to four dives each day!
Muck diving, or the art of exploring black sand…yes black!
It simply looks like nothing else you might have experience before
, at first you might thing that black sand is not exactly the ideal bottom type when it comes to diving but
this very reach soil combined with lake like conditions offer the perfect environment for a very unique marine life.
The less to say is that all the divers here (simply no non divers) are very experience one (with my 150 dives as was THE junior..most of them had at least close to a thousand dives…) and the camera seems to be as essential as the mask and fins. A dedicated fully equipped camera room is to this effect the heaven to all the guests and like with any diver who likes photography the deco stops were usually showing on my computer and the diving time around an hour (up to 75mn for the one who don’t even seem like they need to breeze anymore…)
Most dives would start by the exploration of the sandy bottom and rubbles by 20-28 meters
deep for a good half hour and then we would gently start to go up reaching colorful wall and healthy coral gardens
Pictures speak best when it comes to diving so I will let you enjoy those as for the best of species wise here are a few, get ready for some really weird critters…hairy frog fish
orangutan crab, porcelain crab, manta shrimp, mandarin fish, mimic octopus, flamboyant octopus
, ambon scorpion fish, hairy octopus
, dragonets, how so cute pygmy sea horse
, halimeda ghost pipefish
and a never ending list of nudibranch of every color and shape…
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