Critters at Lembeh Resort


Watch the largest animal migration on the planet in the Lembeh Strait

Lembeh Resort is at the forefront of diving developments and blackwater diving is a relatively new type of diving which is perfectly suited to the Lembeh Strait. How much do you know about Blackwater Dives? Read on to find out more…

I. Introduction to Blackwater Diving

Blackwater dives take place at night (after sunset) and these are boat dives in the open water (ie the middle of the Lembeh Strait where the water is at its deepest. Powerful lights are suspended on lines hanging beneath the boat. The boat is not anchored or moored, it is drifting in the center of the Strait with any current that is present.

Plankton is attracted to light and so it will accumulate around the lights suspended from the boat. It is this aggregation of plankton that attracts the plankton-feeding critters! Blackwater dives can be undertaken at any time of the month, however, they are more productive when there is least moonlight. Around the time of the full moon, our lights are in competition with the moonlight and the plankton will be more widely distributed as opposed to a more concentrated plankton bloom when there is little to no moonlight.

Once our boat crew has positioned the lights, divers descend to the lights and wait for the magic to happen! The divers do not need to swim, they are simply drifting with the lights and the boat. We recommend blackwater dives for underwater photographers because this is an incredible opportunity to capture some incredible images!

Please note that due to the drifting and open water nature of blackwater dives, divers should have good buoyancy control.

II. Why Blackwater Dive: Marine Eco-Systems

Life in our oceans depends on plankton and blackwater diving relies on strong lights to attract microscopic plankton, which in turn, attracts an abundance of weird and bizarre looking larvae stage critters. The migration of creatures from the deep to shallower depths is the largest migration of species on the planet – and it happens every night of the year, right here in the Lembeh Strait.

The critters which we spot on these dives are rarely seen by other divers – which makes these dives an extremely special event, and a must for underwater photographers. Some of the most impressive larvae we encounter includes; mototi octopus, mantis shrimps, snake blennies, coconut octopus, flying gurnards and an array of other fish, crustaceans and cephalopods – we have even encountered paper nautilus before, just beneath the surface.

III. Blackwater Diving Safety & Preparation

There are some additional factors to take into account when blackwater diving. Diver safety is our priority here at Lembeh Resort and extra care is taken during our blackwater dives. Our boat crew is highly attentive from the surface and our dive guides are not only experts at spotting marine life, they follow strict protocols and will regularly check in with you.

Blackwater Scott Tuason

IV. Where do we Blackwater Dive?

Because blackwater diving is all abut the migration of plankton and critters from the deep, we backwater dive in the center of the Lembeh Strait – away from the banks and over open water. During blackwater dives, the boat and the divers drift which means that the direction and distance covered is dependent on the current.

V. Blackwater Photography

Blackwater dives provide incredible underwater photography opportunities. The lights that are suspended beneath the boat attract larvae-stage critters migrating from the deep – which would not ordinarily be seen during a traditional night dive.

To optimize your blackwater dive images, we recommend calling into our Backscatter Authorized Photo Center before your dive. Our Photo Center Assistants are on hand to offer advice and guidance on how to capture the best images according to your particular camera and lighting equipment.

VI. Exclusive Blackwater Experiences

Our blackwater dives are conducted in small groups, for safety, and to ensure a more exclusive experience. Before making your blackwater dives, your dive guide will give you a thorough briefing that will include information about the dive profile and procedures. If you would like a more personal experience during your blackwater dive, ask us about our private guide and private boat options.

VII. How we Blackwater Dive at Lembeh Resort

Our blackwater dives depart at 6.30 pm and we are back in time to enjoy dinner in the restaurant. Blackwater dives can be arranged at any time, with a minimum of 2 divers. No previous experience of blackwater or bonfire diving is required as your Dive Guide will give a thorough briefing prior to the dives. Blackwater and bonfire dives are dependent on sea conditions (choppy waters will also disperse the plankton).

There is a US $75 per person surcharge for blackwater dives and lights are included in the surcharge.

For more information about blackwater or bonfire diving in the Lembeh Strait contact us.

VIII. Blackwater Diving and Stay at Lembeh Resort

At Lembeh Resort we are proud to offer the widest range of night dives available including dusk and night divesmandarin fish divesfluo dives, bonfire dives, and blackwater dives. We offer these additional options because so many of Lembeh’s critters are active after sunset – and critters are our passion!

Are you ready to book your next dive trip? If a combination of luxurious accommodation, exceptional service, the world’s best muck diving, and the opportunity to try blackwater diving appeals to you contact us.