Reflections on Lembeh, by Steve Fish
Steve Fish joined Critters@Lembeh and Lembeh Resort 2.5 years ago. He has such tremendous contribution here; among other things, he taught all the dive staff about underwater photography. Before he left, he presented some of his videos to the staff, including a spectacular wide-angle video shot in Raja Ampat. As a parting gift, Steve gave all the dive guides a rubber squeeze bulb which is very useful for cleaning camera lenses or for gently blowing the sand off underwater subjects. We are going to miss you, Steve, and thank you for everything!
Read on for his reflections on his time with Lembeh Resort and Critters@Lembeh:
My “tour of duty” at Lembeh has now come to a conclusion. Eventually, all good things seem to come to an end. It was one of the most unique and rewarding 2.5 years in my 20 year career as an UW photo pro in the dive industry. During my time at Lembeh Resort and Critters@Lembeh I did 1340 dives in the Strait (yes, I still keep a logbook, and I’m slightly under 8200). I shot both still and video during my time in the Strait, though my video work has probably been the most visible to the public through our CrittersAtLembeh YouTube Channel. On that channel you can find, among other things, a full year’s worth of weekly video highlights, 52 consecutive episodes. Also during that time I had one period of about 10 months that I did 300 consecutive dive days in Lembeh Strait. I suspect that record will stand in the Strait for awhile (who else would be crazy enough to dive 300 days without a break?). On our YouTube channel you can view a short film called 300 Strait Days that has one scene from each of those 300 consecutive days.
Two words describe my lasting impression of Lembeh Strait, Productive and Consistent. You almost never have a bad dive in the Strait. If you dive there long enough, you can see almost anything. You can get a little jaded, maybe you might find yourself occasionally thinking that you didn’t see much, but then you have to admit that it wasn’t a bad dive even though “all I saw” was a Mimic Octopus and a Hairy Frogfish.
One of the things that makes the Strait so productive is the amazing spotting ability of the dive guides. It doesn’t matter how many cool critters there are if you can’t find them. Our guides are magicians at ferreting out rare little masters of camouflage. A critter “wish list” that would seem outrageous anywhere else is just a day in the life at Lembeh Resort.
I want to give a final tip of the hat to Lembeh Resort and Critters@Lembeh for making the last two and a half years in the Strait so memorable and productive. I know that I’m leaving the Photo Center in the good hands of Sascha Janson who has been working with me since November of last year.