Wow. Let’s start with that, shall we?
We’ve just returned home from a fantastic 10-day dive trip to Indonesia. This is our story!
We began by all meeting up in Singapore; there were 8 of us in total, and we began our collective journey with a wonderful, authentic Chinese “hot pot” dinner. Two types of broth (one spicy, one not so spicy) boiled in a vat in the center of the table, while different plates of thinly sliced meats and veggies were dumped into each broth. A few minutes later, voila; ready to eat. Scrumptious!
Hot Pot Dinner!
The next morning, we hit the airport for our flight to Manado, where the folks from Murex Bangka would meet us and transport us to our first destination. Bangka Island was a late change to our itinerary, but it proved a positive addition to our trip! It’s a very small, quaint spot, with beachfront cabins all with a view of an active volcano, a single room for dining and entertainment, and a wonderfully friendly and accommodating staff. We all put our shoes aside for the three days we were here; who needs shoes!
Cottage at Murex Bangka
This was our first taste of Indonesian diving, and it did not disappoint! The reefs here are colourful with tons of soft corals, loads of fish life and loads and LOADS of critters. We did a checkout dive on the house reef when we arrived, to ensure we all had our weighting dialed in, and then did two days of boat diving, three dives each day.
Leaf Scorpionfish – one of Bangka’s early treasures!
Saturday was our transfer day. We had our luggage ready bright and early, and then got our dive gear on and boarded the boat. While our stuff was moved over land to Lembeh Resort, we enjoyed two dives along the way. A quick lunch and check in at Lembeh, and we were ready for the third dive of the day.
Lembeh Resort was beautiful. Less rustic than Murex Bangka, it’s built into the side of a huge hill. The wonderfully appointed cabins had great views of the strait, and of the “mainland” (the island of Sulawesi) across. Food was good and quite varied with a mix of buffet dinners and a la carte. Lunch and breakfast were buffet style, along with a “how you like them” egg station at breakfast. Between dive snacks were available, provided by a smiling staff member as we stepped off the boat, along with coffee, tea and drinks poolside.
Fantastic group with our Lembeh dive staff!
Here we are with our boat, Larnia, in the background, and our awesome dive staff! (Thanks to Stephanie for the photo!)
Dive service was valet style – thrown off slightly by the sidemount rigs that Matthew and I brought with us – so our gear was brought to the boat each morning and set up, ready to go. Boat rides to the dive sites were generally short, dive guides were knowledgeable, and a mix of muck diving and coral reef sites provided plenty of opportunity to see TONS of stuff! Thanks so much to Fandy and Ramly (our guides) along with Yanti, our boat staff, all the hotel staff, Miguel and Ana at the Lembeh Resort, Kristine, Lauren and Dimpy at critters@lembeh – we had a great time!
We also had some achievements to celebrate: Celia had a birthday, and then did her 100th dive, as did her husband Larry (the 100th dive, not the birthday). Nicole completed her Divemaster program, along with her Peak Performance Buoyancy course and her Deep course, and she also completed – along with Stephanie and Debbie – her Digital Underwater Photography program. And Steph also finished up her Enriched Air Diver program! Lots of moving forward, and we are very glad to have been a part of all of it – way to go, divers!
Dragon Nudibranch, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
You can check out a few of Kari’s underwater photos here, or here on the AtkinsScuba Facebook page. One of our participants, Riley Tanner, took some wonderful photos, which he has shared on PhotoBucket, here. Thanks, Riley!
And if this whets your appetite for diving, check out our trips to Cozumel in 2015, and join us!
The sun sets on another awesome dive trip!