It Really Could Not Be Any Better…So I Thought!

It Really Could Not Be Any Better…So I Thought!

The following is a trip report on Scubaboard posted by our recent guest Gordon Smith:

I am a fussy diver, and a dive op has to be excellent for me to return again, in particular when traveling long distances overseas.

Last year (2013) I visited Lembeh Straits for the first time, diving with Critters@Lembeh and staying at Lembeh Resort, and well, they set the bar higher than I have ever encountered in the past, it really could not be any better …. so I thought!

This year I returned again, practically at the same dates as last year, along with my daughter and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was even better than last year.

Some modifications have been done to the dive center with a more organized gear area than before. The camera room is more or less the same, plenty of space available, although I think the addition of individual lights above each work area would be advantageous, especially for this of us who are getting on a bit and need glasses to see close up, so more lighting would be helpful. The main reception has been modified below the dining area, and is still a work in progress but still looks great and airy. The cottage we had was different from last year, and is just fabulous with lots of space and comfortable beds, large bathroom and toilet facilities too. Large 20L water container providing hot and cold water plus tea / coffee available. Even the food appeared better than I remembered from last year, excellent cuisine and always a good choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But at the end of the day it is the staff who run and take care of this resort and dive center that make it amazing. From the gardeners, who take care of the grounds to the restaurant and office staff, as well as for the dive resort’s boat crews, dive guides and everyone who pitches in to make things happen.

Unfortunately my daughter had some congestion issues when we arrived and was unable to equalize potentially ruining this trip for her. Fortunately we had some medication and along with other donated remedies and with the help of both Ana and Miguel she eventually managed to have three days diving in the end and also reached her 100th dive. The kitchen staff seemed well informed and that night presented her with a cake, shared with everyone who was at dinner.

The diving was always amazing; the dive guides that I used were Opo K, Maykel, Ramly and Iwan. I swear they must be wearing +50 diopter contact lenses, as some of the critters they found were a few mm in length, more than my 60mm lens could handle, so I advise bringing along a range of wet diopters in order to see what they are showing you.

The boat crews of Andrea and Larnia were always helpful providing plenty of water and sorting out the gear, although I checked everything as there were always some minor adjustments needed. Critter wise I eventually got my flamboyant cuttlefish on the fourth day, which was the top of my wish list, in fact from that day on I saw at least one each day. I also shot better Mandarinfish shots than last year. Nudibranchs were plentiful, and some new ones personally for me that I had never seen before.

It was also great meeting up with Drs. Gerry Allen and Mark Erdmann before they left after “Fish Geek Week” which I would have love to have attended but the timing with my work schedule was not compatible.

The following are a few shots taken primarily with 60mm lens and a few with 85mm lens and +5 wet diopter using Nikon D300 and D7100 in Sea & Sea housings with Sea & Sea YS110a strobes. I may have to use the 105mm with +10 diopter next year especially if either Maykel or Iwan are guiding me!

If you have questions or comments see Gordon’s post on Scubaboard.


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