The Thrill of Night Diving in Lembeh: Exploring the Mysterious World Underwater

Every scuba diver who has tried night diving knows the thrill of making an entry into the water at night. The heightened excitement of swimming in the dark led by a single torch beam – and then there’s the nocturnal critters, which in Lembeh certainly don’t disappoint! In this article we’ll take a look at the nocturnal critters, how we night dive from Lembeh Resort, underwater photography at night, and making your first night dive.

Nocturnal Critters in the Lembeh Strait

Here at Lembeh Resort, we don’t stop diving when day turns to night – we go critter hunting! We aim to leave the resort as the sun is setting and we go to the sites that we know are most productive at that time – our critters move around!

Many of the critters for which Lembeh is most famous are nocturnal so night diving is essential if you want to see all of the marine species that are on offer. We recommend that all divers take at least one night dive during their stay.

Here are the most common genera, and a handful of the most iconic species, you can see on our night dives…


Night diving Lembeh

Night dives are one of the best opportunities for spotting cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squids) – and a lot of them! Cephalopod highlights on night dives include starry night octopus, long arm octopus, pygmy cuttlefish, and look out for squids using your torch light for hunting.


Slipper Lobster

The Lembeh Strait has more species of crustaceans than anything else. From tiny emperor shrimp to huge spiny lobsters and everything in between. Some of our favorite species to spot include decorator crabs, sponge crabs, harlequin shrimps, and slipper lobsters.

Stargazers (UranoscopidaeI)

Stargazer, Urnoscopus sulphureus, Fandy, Critters@Lembeh Lembeh Resort, Lembeh Strait Indonesia 2016

Probably one of the most iconic nocturnal critters found in the Lembeh Strait is the stargazer. Known for its somewhat gruesome appearance this ambush predator buries into the sand where it lays in wait. This is a perciform fish with eyes positioned on the top of its head – hence the name.

The Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

Bobbit Worm: Night Dive in Lembeh

Commonly known as the sand striker or the Bobbit worm; the latter name is from the John and Lorena Bobbitt case. Where Lorena Bobbitt infamously cut off her husband’s appendage while he was sleeping! In accordance with the name, the Bobbit worm is a phenomenal predator.

How We Night Dive From Lembeh Resort

When making dusk or night dives we always start with a thorough briefing so you will know what to expect before entering the water. Our briefings include reminders about underwater communication at night, a dive site briefing, and entry and exit procedures. We have rental underwater torches for those who do not have their own.

Night Diving Photography Tips

  • If you have a new camera rig, get familiar with it during a daylight dive first – you don’t want to be struggling with the controls and missing shots!
  • If possible, dive the site during daylight hours first so you know what to expect – especially when diving reefs or bays. As many of our sites are black sand slopes, learning the layout of many sites is very easy.
  • Plan your lighting in advance and be familiar with strobe settings and controls. If you are not sure how to handle night diving lighting, call in to the Photo Center before night diving and our Photo Center Assistants will be more than happy to advise you!
  • It’s a great idea to have the best focus light you can so you are literally not shooting in the complete dark.
  • Be considerate to the critters, limit your shots whenever possible. These are nocturnal critters and can be very skittish of lights, or freeze.
  • As with daylight underwater photography, get closer, and then get closer again!
  • Stay aware of where your dive guide is and stay in communication.
  • Our guides are underwater photography trained and night diving is a great opportunity to ask them to back light subjects or use snoot for varying effects.

New to Night Diving?

Night Diving in Lembeh Strait

While night diving may seem daunting to some and exciting to others, if you are new to night diving let us know. We can arrange for you to take your PADI Night Diving Adventure dive during your stay with Lembeh Resort. 

Adventure dives involve reading a short chapter from the Advanced Open Water manual, followed by dive planning with your instructor – and then the night dive with your instructor by your side! This also counts as the first dive of your Advanced Open Water Course, or your Night Diver Specialty Course.


If you are ready to book your stay with Lembeh Resort or would like to get more information about our rates, contact us on

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