Lembeh Trip Report June 2014 - Bluewater Dive Travel
Lembeh Trip Report June 2014

Lembeh Trip Report June 2014



Lembeh Dive Adventure

By Mike Bartick

photos by mike bartick & Dan kurz


I just returned from a productive Lembeh trip in the early part of June of this year. A lot of resorts have sprung up since Lembeh’s early days, and I was curious to see how the life was holding up.

Out of the 3 best spots in my opinion – Anilao, Lembeh, Ambon – all 3 are productive for critters. If you visit any one of these three places, you won’t be sorry. 

On this trip to Lembeh – we saw lots. From 3 kinds of hairy frogfish on 1 dive, to Batavia spadefish, to flasher wrasse, an assortment of pygmy seahorses  - we saw pontohi, bargibonti, and denise.  My last trip to Lembeh I also saw the severensi. We also saw rare blennies, bearded gobies and more. Lembeh has all of the things you are looking for, and more.

Juvenile spadefish - very rare, very beautiful


It is also one of the locations where they are continuously finding new and unnamed animals. For finding new or undescribed animals, Lembeh is still on the forefront.

Octopus action was ok – it wasn’t as hot as the last time I was there, it may have too warm for awesome octopus. Last time I saw hairy octopus, this time I did not. Water temps were 80-82, they are cooler from Jan – March, which can bring out more octopus and ornate ghost pipefish. We did see some mimic and wonderpus octopus on the trip, but no blue-rings.

Sites like hairball, jahir, nudie falls deep and near the police pier were hot with lots of frogfish, lemondrop gobies, cool blennies, fairy wrasse, flasher wrasse, and more.


cuttlefish and diver


When we got to nudie falls, we planned on shooting flasher wrasse for 15 minutes, but one of my guests decided to stay an hour trying to photograph these fast-moving frustrating subjects. Why am I not surprised?

We used a snoot to photograph hairy frogfish, of course it takes time to get these shots dialed in. After several dives on the same site, we finally accepted what we had shot and could move on to a different dive site. On these dives - we kept seeing great subjects like Ambon scorpionfish, but when you are on a mission to photograph hairy frogfish with a snoot, nothing else matters - so we just swam right over them. Seahorses? Forget-em! We were on a mission.


Hairy Frogfish lembeh straitYawning hairy frogfish


There were plenty of boats on the surface, but underwater you were pretty much alone with limited crowds. 

We did a mandarin fish dive, and the dives are well-organized between the resorts, so usually it will just be your resort or one other resort on the dive sites.

Lembeh always has a mild current, sometimes it can be strong, but this is what feeds the area, and they are usually totally manageable. Visibility on the rising incoming tide is usually very good, 30ft or more.


seahorse lembeh strait



Kasawari Resort

The rooms at Kasawari are independent villas, Balinese in design. They are well-appointed with air-con, phone, TV, mini-refrigerator, wi-fi , private outdoor courtyard shower and turn-down service. Food is hearty – not 5 star food, but pretty good for Indonesian food. Some of the dishes have a thai flaire.

The dive operation is very nice, they have a large covered dive deck with a new nitrox machine. There is plenty of space to clean your wetsuits, and there is a private pier that leads to the dive boats. The dive guides carry all of your camera gear to the camera room, and do all of the heavy lifting. On the pier, there is a covered area for dive briefings.

The guide ratio for us was one to one, one of the advantages of Kasawari Lembeh is that the guides are just as passionate about the diving as the guests are. They are great at finding all of the usual critters, and also the special subjects.

Pickup and transport was very efficient, two of us were picked up in a half-mini van, and it took about 90 minutes to get to the resort.

I can highly recommend Lembeh as a critter hot spot. It can be easily combined with Bunaken, Bangka, or Raja Ampat. Of course Bluewater Travel can arrange a fantastic trip for you.


booking lembeh

Are you interested in booking a trip to Lembeh? We can help you select the perfect resort, best flights and best time of year to go. Email us for more info, or visit our Lembeh dive destination & resort page.

For another great destination in Indonesia, read about our week at Papua Eco Resort here.



hairy gobyThe famous "Hairy goby"

pipedragon from lembeh
Pipedragon from Lembeh, very small!

For more photos, view the slideshow at the top of the page



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