Diving in Lembeh
Lembeh is well-recognized as one of the world’s top dive destinations,
with its coastal waters having a wealth of superb
dive sites hidden within.
Cocotinos Lembeh Resort
Located in the center of the Lembeh Strait, Cocotinos Lembeh Resort is a boutique dive lodge 1.5 to 2 hours away from Sam Ratulangi International airport and an hour to Tangkoko National Park. Fronting the lodge are some of the most popular dive sites, namely Makawidey, Jahir and Nudi Retreat. The resort has 4 types of rooms according to the guest’s preference: Superior rooms (with small private gardens), Deluxe (with private balcony or terrace), Super deluxe (with pool or sea view) and Junior Suite (with balcony & sea view). You can dip in the 12-metre infinity pool, enjoy a cocktail with scenic views of the sea towards stunning limestone cliffs from the Wild Mango Restaurant & Bar, check emails or play games using their free internet available throughout the resort, or work on your equipment and photographs underwater at the Camera room. For diving, the resort has a full service diving centre connected to a jetty offering nitrox and utilizes fiberglass dive boats for safe and fun diving.
Eco Divers Lembeh
Eco Divers Lembeh is a top choice for discerning divers as it offers unparalleled personalized service with a staff-to-guest ratio of two staff members for every guest, having the smallest capacity of any luxury resort in the area, with a maximum of 16 divers. Impeccable rooms, professional Indonesian Spa, Lounge Bar, outdoor restaurant with exceptional cuisine prepared by highly trained Indonesian chefs, free WiFi connection, and a resort boutique, are just a few of its services and facilities. Apart from that, the resort is the only one that organizes dive Day Liveaboard in Lembeh giving divers ample time in between dives for a snack or drink, bathroom stop, battery charge or sun bathing as everything is onboard the purpose-built dive Day Liveaboard boat. Total relaxation and convenience is right at your fingertips with its comfort and safety features for a full day’s diving.
Bastianos Lembeh Resort
Bastianos is a homey relaxing resort with good amenities at an affordable price. Located on the West Coast of Lembeh, it is designed to provide privacy away from the hustle and bustle of the city where you can smell the fresh air and feel the calm pristine environment only an hour and a half drive from the airport to Bitung City and a 10-minute boat ride to the resort. Each cottage has a balcony, a double bed, and en-suite bathroom with hot water. A hill top pool and mini bar is one of their relaxing facilities, as well as Bastianos Spa & Wellness which features relaxing massages and beauty treatments. The restaurant serves a blend of international and traditional cuisines prepared by a well-trained chef.
Marine Life Highlights in Lembeh
Dive Sites In Lembeh
Batu Sandar or leaning rock is a dive site along the Lombok Strait midway up on Lembeh Island where a small rock leans against a coral pinnacle above the water. Though the small rock is no longer in the same place, Batu Sandar is still counted as the best snorkeling site in Lembeh. With a visibility of 10 to 30 metres and a maximum depth of 27 metres, diving conditions are generally mild that makes it an easy dive and an ideal site for beginners. There is a finger coral that goes out into the Strait about 20 metres on a white sand slope.
Brimming with soft coral and sponge growth, Batu Sandar gives divers a chance to see Seahorses, banded Coral Shrimps, as well as Bottom fish. Fringing reefs at the shallows give way to sand and patch of reefs. On deeper flats, baby Bommies display small sponges, corals and other critters.
Lies on her starboard side at 30 metres under water, Bimoli Wreck is a Japanese freighter near Bitung Town about 60 metres long with a 40-metre propeller that sank during World War II. The ship underwent a massive damage when it was hit by a torpedo nevertheless, it remained as a pleasant home for numerous aquatic species while still attracting a variety of marine life. Currents around the area are moderate to strong with a maximum depth of 35 metres and a visibility of 5 to 10 metres. The wreck is heavily overgrown and is practically its own mini reef.
The sponge gardens below the bow and to the starboard side flourish exceptional Nudibranchs and the twisted wreck is now home to a number of critters hovering around it such as Rock Lobsters, schools of Giant Barracudas and Tunas. In the hold, Potato cods can also be seen at times, White tip Sharks napping beneath and some passing Eagle Rays.
California Dreaming is a dive site discovered by guests from California who claimed that the site reminded them so much of their lovely home state. Unlike other Lembeh dive sites, California Dreaming is less murky with better visibility of 10 to 30 metres and a maximum depth of 40 metres. Located at the northernmost part of Lembeh Strait, diving conditions are usually mild but can be strong at times. There are coral slopes on this site, but the most exposed area is a series of steps formed by boulders and sand shelves covered with lots of coral gardens of large Orange Tree Corals and Pink Gorgonian Sea Fans making it Lembeh´s most attractive dive. Be fascinated by colorful Feather Stars, Christmas Tree Worms, Sea Whips and Sea Squirts.
A shallow plateau at approximately 15 metres is a great spot for hunting unusual critters like Giant Frogfish and tiny Boxer Crabs. It is here at California Dreaming where divers find strange species that is rare in other dive sites. Decorator Crabs, Pink Squat Lobsters, Mantis Shrimps, Coleman Shrimps, and Emperor Shrimps are present in these waters. Reef fishes such as Parrot Fish and Butterfly fish, with larger fares like Mackerel and Tuna can also be seen on this site.
As the name promises, Critter Hunt is a popular site for critter hunting. Located at the Southern tip of Sarena Kecil, currents are gentle in this area. With an average depth of 16 metres and maximum of 25 metres, typical visibility is between 10 to 30 metres. It has an inclined black sandy bottom down to 25 meters and has become a sanctuary for exotic marine life and an ideal spot for night dives.
Critter hunt’s highlights are the Blue Ringed Octopus, Rhinopias, Frogfish, Leaf Scorpionfish, common Lionfish, Mantis Shrimp and many others usually seen in between the rubbles, corals and crinoids. There are also a variety of crabs like the Decorator Crabs, Spider Crabs, Orangutan Crabs and Zebra Crabs. Hiding in bubble corals and soft corals, usual residents are Pink Squat Lobsters and Cleaner Shrimps. For night dives, you may be able to see Bob-tailed Squid and tiny red Waspfish.
Jahir is one of the latest dive sites in Lembeh Strait and was named after the 5 guides who discovered it namely Jandry, Ade, Henry, Iwan and Robin combining the first letters of their names. With moderate to strong currents, visibility is restricted to 4 metres with an average depth of 14 metres and maximum of 30 metres. It has black volcanic sand famous for muck diving, with slopes, sponge growth and coral blocks in the shallows.
Purple Heart Urchins scatter around Jahir which makes a habitat for little Zebra Crabs. Common marine life are Ambon Scorpion fish, Frogfish, and Eels with possible sightings of long-spined Diadema and hairy Frogfishes. This dive spot is also recommended for night diving as divers might be able to spot the strange Stargazer.
A vast number of Nudibranches as the name itself says, Nudi Falls is where divers will have great chances of seeing and studying the brightly colored critters. But do not be fooled as there is more macro life here, not just Nudis. Situated at the side of the Strait, diving conditions can be strong with a visibility of 10 metres and a maximum depth of 28 metres. At about 25 metres lies the dark sandy slope covered in soft corals with Ribbon Eels and Gobbies.
Nudi Falls’ main feature is the mini wall where most action is by the rocky base of the wall with creatures lurking around such as Pipefish, Frogfish, Flying Gurnards and Mantis Shrimps. By the wall, are Pygmy Seahorses, and of course, an abundance of Nudibranchs, sliding over Stinging Hydroids or Gooseberry Ascidians. Sea slugs are around and small reef fishes flourish such as Juvenile Oriental Sweetlips, Lionfish, and Scorpionfish.
Located along the Lembeh Strait, Police Pier is one of the most favorite dive sites in Lembeh. It has a sandy slope at about 15 meters down to the bottom is covered with patches of garbage, cables, rubble and very small corals. Currents on this site are medium to strong with a visibility of 10 to 30 metres and maximum depth of 35 metres. Divers will experience a real muck dive on this site where there are colorful crinoids and sponges.
On the rubble slope is a variety of exotic and amazing critters like Lionfish and Scorpionfish that are waiting for their unsuspecting preys. Up into the rocky patches around 15 metres, the Banggai Cardinal Fish swarms and Orange Frogfishes might be lurking around. Night diving is recommended in Police Pier too. At night divers will get a chance to see Moray Eels, Snake Eels, Octopus, Spider Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Stargazers, and Flounders to name a few.
Diving in Lembeh
Labelled as the Critter Capital of the World, Lembeh is one of the world’s leading dive site for underwater paradise. It is the cleanest island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, with black and white sandy beaches, and beautiful forest with different kinds of birds and butterflies. Only an hour drive from Sam Ratulangi Airport, tourists will already have an access to Lembeh’s beaches which are remote, great for snorkeling and has more than 30 diving sites making it a haven for divers.
Lembeh has an equatorial climate and has two seasons with an average temperature of 29 to 32 degrees Celsius all year round. Diving is best during dry season during the months of April to November with sunny and clear skies and relatively calm seas. Visibility is at 10 to 15 metres which is perfect for diving, while wet season is from December to March which usually bring heavy rains and rougher seas in February which can reduce visibility slightly at 5 to 10 metres. Best time to spot more critters is from April to October and the temperature drops slowly to 26 up to 24 degrees Celsius.
Famous for diving due to its plethora of sea life, Lembeh is an ideal site for macro-photography especially those who wish to learn more on angle shots underwater. Black stretches of sand can be seen on the deeper parts around the island caused by the volcanic sand which makes marine life more fascinating and one of a kind. Coral skeletons and gardens alike, and shipwrecks thrive the waters of Lembeh that are home to a variety of exotic organisms.
Muck diving is common in Lembeh dive sites and as such, unique and unusual creatures like Frogfish, Rhinopias, Ambon Scorpionfish, Cardinal fish, Mandarin fish, Skeleton Fish and Ghost Pipefish roam the area. Rare Pygmy Seahorse, Harlequin Shrimp, colorful Nudibrachs, and Blue Ringed Octopus in their vibrant habitats can be found here. And if lucky, divers can chance upon a Whale Shark or even a Whale.
|Best Diving Season:||April to November|
|Weather:||December to March (Rainy Season) & April to November (Dry Season)|
|Marine Animal Highlights:||Rhinopias, Frog Fish, Blue Ringed Octopus And Scorpionfish|
|Recommended Thermal Protection:||–|
|Transportation:||Silk Air flight (Singapore to Manado) & Small Bus (to Lembeh)|