Travel Guide

Dive Lembeh Strait and Bunaken in North Sulawesi

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Lembeh Island is a small isle situated to the north of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. Between Sulawesi Island and Lembeh Island, runs a slender strait known as the Strait of Lembeh. Scuba diving on this strait you’ll be able to see a number of the most original and spectacular creatures alive. Lembeh strait is famend for the most effective muck diving on the planet. 

Bunaken Island, additionally situated north of Sulawesi with crystal clear water and spectacular coral partitions provides nice blue water diving and a number of the finest snorkeling I’ve ever carried out. Learn on if you wish to know all about diving from Lembeh strait and Bunaken; dive websites, lodging, season, liveaboard choices and extra. I stayed in Bunaken first and went from there to Lembeh.

Dive Lembeh strait

Working as a dive teacher whereas touring you hear tales about some spectacular locations, the tales of Lembeh positioned it excessive on my dive bucket listing. Famend as the most effective locations for Muck diving on the planet, the stuff you’ll be able to see at Lembeh Strait sound to good to be true, it isn’t, I dived there, the tales are true. Muck diving is a subset of Macro diving, don’t let the identify flip you off, you don’t dive in sewage, situations may be nice. 

Throughout muck diving you hunt for small, bizarre creatures, the  identify originates from the underside composition, darkish sediment usually silty, muddy or “mucky” setting. The visibility may be good, simply follow good buoyancy to not fire up the underside! At a few of these spots the creatures you discover in these environments may be unbelievable, made much more spectacular by the darkish, boring backdrop. Muck diving is a reasonably new self-discipline that solely began within the 1980’s, the story goes a liveaboard boat was anchored someplace of the reef for lunch when some divers testing gear found unreal creatures on the black volcanic ash. The Lembeh Strait has a fame as the most effective muck diving on the planet being house to a number of the strangest and most uncommon marine animals in existence. This place is any photographer’s dream with creatures many cannot even think about exist and the black volcanic sand provides no glare when utilizing a flash when taking images. Arriving at Lembeh it feels extra like a river than the ocean, being surrounded by jungle and large timber, with black sand and volcanic rocks in all places.I bear in mind descending onto the black sand not being very impressed by garbage like wine bottles and plastic luggage on the boring backside, however seconds later I used to be amazed by the life right here. Our dive chief was wonderful shortly mentioning a seahorse and our first wonderful creature of the journey, a flamboyant cuttlefish which I used to be fortunate sufficient to seize catching a Myid shrimp! From right here the motion by no means stopped with bushy frogfish, seahorses, blue ring octopus, mimic octopus, mandarin fish and extra draining my digicam battery.B

There may be some garbage on the underside, generally internet hosting unbelievable issues!

Season to Dive Lembeh Strait

North Sulawesi has an equatorial local weather, so it has  sunny, heat climate all 12 months. There are solely 2 seasons – the wet season from November to February and the dry season from March to October. It often solely rains for a brief time frame about an hour or two per day within the wet season.

Lembeh Strait may be dived all 12 months spherical, situations and visibility does range, however a number of the critters are all the time round and visibility will not be such a giant concern with macro diving. Liveaboard boats dive right here in all seasons. 

Peak season is July and August with the best variety of critters round, that is additionally the time when the water temperatures are the bottom at 25-26°C, however essentially the most divers are right here and it’s a good suggestion to guide forward. 

Low Season is from January to June with fewer divers and never peak situations, however nonetheless very diveable.

October to December interval has the most effective visibility, whereas it’s the lowest in January and February.D

Flamboyant Cuttle Fish catching a Myid Shrimp
I used to be fortunate to catch this Flamboyant Cuttle Fish catching a Myid Shrimp!

Dive Websites at Lembeh Strait

There are greater than 70 acknowledged dive websites round Lembeh, some are well-known for particular critters, however they transfer between websites and the operators dive right here on a regular basis so that they know the place to go. My expertise with guides right here was nice and I’ve solely heard good issues from others that dived right here. These guys know the world very nicely and can take you to the most effective spots to see your bucket listing creatures. Listed below are a few nice websites round Lembeh. 

Nudi Falls

Depth 3m to 28m, a mini wall that drops to 20m from right here sand slopes to about 28m with coral patches. I liked this website with a wide range of tremendous fascinating nudibranches, frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, a blue ringed octopus and the hawk eyes of our information discovered a pygmy seahorse!

Coby a Crab

Depth 3m to 27m, a wall that drops to the underside, sandy coated in rocks with some coral formations. Noticed gigantic frogfish and fascinating nudis, this website can also be well-known for mandarin fish and the uncommon rhinopias, many divers come to Lembeh with the hope to see this scarce scorpionfish.

Giant Frog Fish
Big Frog Fish

California Dreaming

Depth 3 – 30m Twenty minutes by boat from Lembeh, twin coral peaks with a sand flat in between. Couple of frogfish, bushy frogfish and big frogfish tiny boxer crabs.  Sequence of steps shaped by boulders, stunning mushy corals make a really colourful dive website. 


Depth 5 – 28m Sandy slope, good place to finish the times diving within the shallows for decompression, some superior creatures, scorpion fish, painted frogfish, noticed many seahorses right here.

Marine Life at Lembeh

As talked about a few occasions Lembeh is the place to see the largest number of distinctive ocean creatures on the planet, a spot that may make you fall in love with muck diving. Pack your digicam, listed below are a number of the unreal creatures you’ll be able to see on the Lembeh strait;

Mimic Octopus, Rhinopias, Mandarin fish, Pygmy seahorse, Blue ring octopus, Electrical Clam, Noticed Porcelain Crab, Lacey Scorpionfish, Bushy frogfish, Big frogfish, Spiny satan, Ghost pipefish, Dragon seamoth.

From Manado I went to Bunaken Island by public boat.  The island is actually stunning, tropical jungle surrounded by mangroves operating into the ocean.

Attending to Lembeh Strait

The closest huge metropolis is Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, catch a direct flight right here from Singapore or an area flight from Bali or Jakarta. From Manado take a taxi or public bus to Ruko Pateten Pier and take a ship to Lembeh, it’s simply 20 minutes. In case your dive heart is choosing you up be certain that at which harbor, it may be a unique pier.

Lembeh Lodging

There are a number of lodging at Lembeh for each funds and style. It’s all the time good to stick with lodging that belongs to or works together with your dive operator.

Liveaboard Diving Lembeh Strait

Mix magic partitions and extraordinary critters on a dream liveaboard journey! Eat, sleep and stay diving for every week! Lots of the North Sulawesi journeys mix the incredible blue water pelagic diving round Bunaken with the distinctive muck diving of Lembeh, even Dugongs and Mola mola are seen on these journeys once in a while! Search right here for a Lembeh Liveaboard Expertise

Diving in Bunaken

Bunaken will not be removed from Lembeh and is well-known for a really totally different sort of diving, blue water, steep partitions with huge fish and different pelagic species. From Manado I first went to Bunaken Island by public boat.  The island is actually stunning, tropical jungle surrounded by mangroves operating into the ocean. Bunaken Marine Park was one of many first marine protected areas in Indonesia established within the early nineties. Steep partitions drop into the deep coated by an incredible range of sentimental and arduous corals. The drop provides wonderful wall dives, control the reef for species corresponding to mantis shrimp and a range of nudibranches, go searching you within the blue for a lot of turtles, enormous Napoleon wrasse and enormous pelagics; sharks, tunas and faculties of barracuda. Bunaken is surrounded by shallow reef with a steep drop to over 30m. Many corners and factors make nice dive spots to see passing pelagics from, the shallow a part of the reef is nice for snorkeling or doing all your deco cease.

Marine Life round Bunaken Island

Simply shy of 400 species of coral may be discovered within the crystal clear water of the Bunaken Nationwide Park, positively one of the colourful dives on the planet. Over 2000 species of fish frequent the spectacular partitions. Just a few of them you might be prone to see are Large Napolean wrasse on moste dives, many turtles there are 5 varieties totally different varieties within the park, white-tip reef sharks, tuna is commonly seen, loads of blue-fin trevally, giant bumphead parrotfish, giant faculties of chevron barracuda, solitary higher barracuda faculties of big-eye travelly, big trevally, giant faculties of triggerfish, surgeonfish, fusiliers and education batfish, eagle rays and generally manta rays.

Bunaken Island Snorkeling

From the mangroves a 2m deep fringing reef extends about 50m into the ocean ending in a spectacular drop into the deep. Snorkeling across the island is superb, the shallow fringing reef permits for shallow snorkeling for anyone beginning on the shore. The shallow water, daylight and loads of coral species create an exquisite backyard for snorkeling with loads of species of smaller tropical fish, we noticed some huge bumphead parrot fish in shallow water and a few huge turtles. The drop-off near shore permits for nice free diving on this wonderful reef and diving into the deep on the drop-off I noticed loads of turtles, jacks and large Napoleon wrasse.

Bunaken Lodging

  • Novita Homestay – most cost-effective you will discover right here, many critiques, nicely rated
  • Sundown guesthouse and bar – very nicely rated funds place
  • Daniel’s Resort –  I loved staying right here. Every bungalow has its personal hammock, it was good to lie in a hammock and browse when not underwater. Lodging contains three meals. The meals was OK, numerous rice and hen typical funds South East Asian delicacies.
  • Mid vary
  • Two Fish Dive Resort – well-known, wonderful scores, stunning resort, nice dive heart, sister dive heart on Lembeh
  • Glad Gecko Dive Resort – wonderful score, bungalows with deck, hammock and sea view
  • Luxurious
  • Kuda Laut Boutique Dive Resort – four star resort and dive heart

Transport to Bunaken

Bunaken Island may be reached by boat from Manado Harbour, which is a 30-minute drive from Sam Ratulangi Airport. From Manado Harbour, it takes a 45-minute boat trip to the island. Many resorts provide an airport pick-up and boat switch providers at an additional cost, which makes it very straightforward.

Diving Each Bunaken and Lembeh

Bunaken Island may be reached by boat from Manado Harbour, which is a 30-minute drive from Sam Ratulangi Airport. From Manado Harbour, it takes a 45-minute boat trip to the island. Many resorts provide an airport pick-up and boat switch providers at an additional cost, which makes it very straightforward.

Extra Sulawesi adventures!

  • Heading North. – Funeral ceremonies, hanging graves, espresso farms and a loopy bus chase in Tana Touraja.
  • South Sulawesi. – Not  well-known because the north, however Pantai Bira has numerous potential. We did some good dives within the space
  • Central Sulawesi. – Superior island adventures. Diving on a airplane wreck, spearfishing and staying with the well-known Bajua folks (sea gypsies), swimming in a jelly fish lake round The Togian Islands.

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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