Diving bunaken and Lembeh

Part II - Lembeh report & photos

Travel from bunaken to lembeh:

One advantage of staying with TwoFish was a seamless transfer from Bunaken to lembeh without losing much diving time. We left bunaken at 8:30AM, travelled over land for 90 minutes, and was at the TwoFish Lembeh resort by 11AM. And I was ready to dive by 11:30AM! and I didn't have to pack or unpack my dive gear.

The resort:

I liked the twofish resort at lembeh a little better. It was smaller, staff was nicer, food was a little better, and the views nicer. there were 2 nice large wooden cottages, and a couple of large private rooms in a house. the resort has 2 guides (opo and frankie), and 2 boats, but guides who know lembeh are brought over from bunaken if needed. opo is also the manager of the resort. frankie was our guide the entire time, and we highly recommend him.

All gear, tanks, wetsuits, washing stuff was all taken care of for you. we only worried about our cameras. dive sites were 5-15 minutes away. nitrox was available, although they picked it up from another resort since they don't pump nitrox there. all rooms had fresh water, a couple large shelfs to store camera gear, and a power strip with adapters. the boat had fresh water, coffee, tea, cookies, and a rinse bucket for cameras. dives were at 8AM (2 dives), 2:30PM, and 6PM. dial-up internet was available for $6/hour.

The diving:

We did 14 1/2 dives over 4 days, including 3 1/2 night dives. I count the mandarin dive as 1/2 dive, it was short, and then we left to do a real night dive at a different site.

Lembeh is called "muck diving", but we didn't see much muck. well, maybe a little muck. I thought the dive sites were very healthy, with a great assortment of fish and invertebrates.  Water temps were around 82, vis was usually around 30ft.

I classified dive sites into 2 categories, black sand dives, and TRE's (Target rich environments). black sand dives were good day or night, but better at night. very interesting creatures were found in the black sand when you least expect them to appear. My preference, however, was for the TRE's. these sites has sponges and/or corals everywhere, reef fish, and photo targets galore. Nudie falls, police pier, and TK3 were some of my favorite TRE's.

The house reef:

The house reef has lots of life, including numerous small reef fish near shore. during a short dive we saw eels, many different shrimps, mantis shrimps, razorfish, 3 different pipefish species, juvenile bengai cardinalfish & several juvenile barramundi, juvenile catfish, many gobies, pufferfish, and loads more.

Species sighted:

highlights included 2 hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, juvenile barramundi, juvenile pinnate batfish, purple rhinopia, harlequin shrimp, mandarin fish, a beautiful snakeblenny in the open, and large beautiful stinging anemones

Other sightings included:

many different seahorses and pipefish, 3 different squid species, 3 different cuttlefish species, octopus, many different filefish, cowfish, and boxfish; bubble shrimp, tiger shrimp, crinoid shrimp , anemone shrimp, many other shrimps and crabs; bengai cardinalfish; many different gobies and blennies; snake eels, garden eels, ribbon eels, various other eels. many, many mantis shrimp. razorfish, convict blennies, schooling juvenile catfish, blue-fin trevally. pegasus sea moth, demon stingers, flying gurnards, many lionfish and pufferfish, whip coral gobies, bristle worms, cuckatoo waspfish, many different clownfish/anemone fish, many large & interesting anemones, many nudibranchs

Photography methods:

all photos were taken with a Nikon D80 with a 105mm VR lens. Since my strobes wouldn't fire due to a short in my housing, all photos are without strobes. Photos by penelope foo taken with a Fuji F30, internal flash.

Flying back home:

we left the dive resort the last day at 1:30PM, and arrived at the airport at 3:30PM. it was nice having a morning to relax at the resport without having to dive. there's no village or town near the resort, so besides diving and reading fish id books, there's not a lot else to do there.

Photos:

convict blennies. these convict blennies look similar to schooling juvenile catfish, but lack the barbels.

Rhinopia portrait

juvenile barrimundi. these guys are so cute and flop around like an underwater dumbo.

hairy frogfish, showing its lure

mantis shrimp. we saw many mantis shrimp in Lembeh.

Garden eel. There's a few different species of garden eels there.

demon stinger. This guy was buried in the sand.

open your mouth! hungry Rhinopia. Photo by penelope foo

spinecheek anemonefish, Photo by penelope foo

ribbon eel.

Beautiful stinging anemone, Actinodendron plumosum.

magnificent sea horse