Bonfire diving requires the use of strong lights (provided by our Dive Center) which are placed on a sandy slope at around 15 meters. The strong lights are the ‘bonfire’ and where the action happens! The lights will attract plankton which then becomes a hotspot for a myriad of critters coming out to feed. If you are not sure if blackwater diving is for you, bonfire diving is a great way to see some of the same marine life from the comfort of the reef instead of over open water.
Phytoplankton are the basis of the entire marine ecosystem and as photosynthesizers, they are attracted to light as a food source. At night, as there is nothing else to feed on, phytoplankton swarm to the bonfire lights to feed. Other aquatic life will be drawn to the phytoplankton as a food source; ultimately the bonfire lights create an underwater feeding ground.
As the bonfire light is placed in a single location on the slope, more and more fish will discover the light and come to feed on the swarming phytoplankton. This process continues all of the way up the food chain until an array of marine life species are congregated around the light.
Before making your bonfire dive you’ll receive a detailed dive briefing from your guide so you know what to expect. Our bonfire diving boats then leave at 6.30pm.
At the start of the dive, your guide will lead you down the sloping reef or sandy slope to around 15 meters. Once in position, your guide will place the lights on the slope pointing upwards – the bonfire has been lit! You’ll spend the majority of the dive close to the lights which start to quickly attract plankton – and then critters. We’ve even had bonfire dives where the plankton and critters are so dense that they almost block out the lights!
Depending on the productivity of the bonfire, or while waiting for plankton to accumulate, your dive guide may also take you for a swim around the site looking for other nocturnal critters.
After your bonfire dives you’ll return to the resort where your gear will be taken care of for you. You’ll have time to shower and freshen up before enjoying a well-deserved à la carte dinner in the resort restaurant.
Bonfire dives provide incredible underwater photography opportunities. As well as spotting some of the Lembeh Strait’s most iconic nocturnal critters, the bonfire lights often attract larvae stage critters from the water column – which would not ordinarily be seen during a traditional night dive.
To optimize your bonfire dive images, we recommend calling in to 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.
Diver safety is our priority here at Lembeh Resort and extra care is taken during bonfire dives. Our boat crew are highly attentive and they follow divers’ lights from the surface. Our dive guides are not only experts at spotting marine life, they follow strict protocols and will regularly check in with you and keep the group together.
Most of our dive sites are suitable for bonfire diving and the Lembeh Strait has some of the rarest and most unusual critters in Indonesia. When deciding which dive sites to visit, our guides and boat crew take into consideration the sea conditions and which sites are proving to be the most productive at that time.
At Lembeh Resort we offer the widest range of night dives available including dusk and night dives, mandarin fish dives, fluo dives, bonfire dives, and blackwater dives. We offer these additional options because so many of Lembeh’s critters are active after sunset – and we are all about critters!
During bonfire dives you’ll have the chance to see a plethora of marine life species including stargazers, numerous species of octopus, the infamous Bobbit worm, Spanish dancers, squids, and a host of other crustaceans, cephalopods, and their larvae. You’ll also see a range of different behaviors including hunting, feeding, mating and even hatching – all under the cover of darkness.
For more information about bonfire diving in the Lembeh Strait contact us.