If you’ve been diving for a while you may have come across the term ‘Muck Diving‘. But what actually IS Muck Diving?
When people talk about diving, most of the time your mind goes to lovely clear blue water, beautiful coral and turtles. However when you put the word ‘muck’ in front of it it doesn’t conjure up particularly pleasant thoughts!
So why do people get so excited about Muck Diving!? Put simply, ‘Muck Diving’ is a very unique and specific environment which causes a unique and specific habitat for some of the most fantastic and rare marine life in the world!
Using the term ‘Muck Diving’ is probably a little unfair as it is not dirty like you imagine muck to be. To imagine it, replace coral reefs with black sandy slopes. Replace colourful butterfly fish with hundreds of unique shrimps and crabs.
And replace turtles and sharks with crazy looking frogfish and mesmerising octopus. That gives you an idea of what Muck Diving is all about. It is about coming up from a dive and saying “What on earth was that! I’ve never seen that before!”
On your first descent over the seemingly barren black sand you may question what is the point. However a few minutes in you will see that what you thought was empty is actually full of life. The immense variety of animals that you can find is what makes Lembeh so special. Finding the critters yourself can be difficult.
Some of the animals are quite small and some don’t look like they are a live animal at all! It can take an experienced eye to start finding all the wonders down there. Fortunately the Lembeh guides have those experienced eagle eyes and there seems to be no limit as to what they can find down there! After a few dives even you will start to find the weird and wonderful for yourself!
With so many interesting things to see you want to make the most out of it. To do that, buoyancy is incredibly important. With silty sand just a few centimetres below you it is very important to know what your fins are doing . One small misplaced kick can cause a sandstorm behind you and any waving of the arms will cause problems as well.
You will find it much harder to see the creature and you also wont make any friends with your dive buddies (especially if they are photographers!) Slowly slowly is the key as this means your buoyancy is easier to control and you also give yourself the time to have a good look around.
It may be an acquired taste for some divers but once you get the hang of it then it is not hard to see why people return to Lembeh year after year after year. They are still being introduced to new things they’ve never seen before. There seems to be an infinite amount nudibranches to try and ID!
It is important to know that it is not all dark and gloomy down there. While the sand may be black, some of the animals are popping with colour. The thousands of nudibranches come in a variety of eye catching patterns. Peacock mantis shrimp rival their namesake with their beauty. And the flamboyant cuttlefish flashes pinks and purples. Add these to the ever-changing colours of octopus and squid and you’ve got a menagerie of colourful creatures to feast your eyes on.
If you want to experience Muck Diving for the first time then there is no better place than Lembeh, often hailed the Muck Diving Capital of the World. Come over and enjoy the unique, cute, ugly, big, small, fascinating creatures that the Lembeh Strait has to offer!