Among the more than 70 incredible dive sites you can encounter in Lembeh Strait, there is one I particularly like … or rather two dives sites. It is the trip Goby-a-Crab and Trikora with Two Fish Divers Lembeh, off course!
When you think about Lembeh Strait, you first think about black sand bottoms like the ones you can encounter in TK, Tanjung Kebal, Hair Ball, etc… In this case, we are going to dive over white sandy bottoms, rubbles and beautiful corals. Goby a Crab and Trikora are two dive sites located at the South of the Strait, just in front of the busy harbor and industrial town of Bitung.
Goby a Crab stands on a small headland marking the southern entrance of the Strait. This rugged and coastline predicts the underwater topography.
When Karunia, our spacious diving boat, arrives there, we can jump directly to 25 or 30 m in the blue. It is like sky diving in the mysterious depths of the Strait. There, on the bottom made of white sand and rubbles, our dive guides frantically bang their tanks, advising they already found one of the residents of the area … a well-known and familiar blue-ringed octopus, always a delight for our underwater photographer guests. Then, hiding in the middle of brownish and rounded seagrass, we can sometimes see an unworried beautiful red paddle-flap rhinopias, which is growing and growing again since our guides saw him for the first time, a few months ago. It is deep, and we have to take care of our no decompression limit. But our experienced guides already invite us to progress shallower. And then, a beautiful coral reef appears just in front of us, with plenty of rare nudibranchs, bargibanti pygmy seahorses, beautiful shrimps, big cuttlefishes, and reef fish… It is like arriving in an oasis in a fertile desert, reserving always many surprises. After a long safety stop in this coral garden, we already finish the first dive with lots of beautiful images in our mind, to begin our one-hour and something surface interval, with a hot tea or coffee, cookies and fresh fruits.
The boat has already moved in order to get to one of the most unlikely dive sites I have ever seen in my long diving career … but also one of the best. It lays in front of a national concrete monument, architecturally looking like a “Stalinist mosque”, as once suggested Wilfried, one of Two Fish Divers´ Divemaster in training! To be honest, it is a weird place, not really well maintained, raised to commemorate Indonesian independence. A mythic DC3 Dakota from the 60´s Indonesian Air Force finishes its busy career there, facing the Strait and welcoming the local visitors. There are an old pier and a few rusting boats … Not really the typical dive site you are expecting in Lembeh Strait…. Once Sheryl, one of our very nice guest, asked: “are we really gonna dive here?” … My answer was “yes of course because underwater it is just a marvel!”.
Once we enter the water, we temporarily avoid the shallow pier area in order to have a perfect dive profile and arriving at around 20m, there are myriads of nudibranchs waiting for us. It is just another nudi paradise! Again, in-depth, our guides remind us to take care of our NDL, as it is the second dive of the day. And upon arriving in the shallow, the big show begins! There are several Lembeh sea dragons, schooling batfish, mandarin fish, more nudis, and shrimps waiting for us just under this improbable pier, in the middle of an unexpected beautiful bottom made of corals, sponges, and hydroids.
After a 75-mn dive, air supply permitting, everybody comes back to the boat with a big smile. After a comfortable 15 minutes boat trip back to the resort, we are already in Two Fish Divers resort, just on time for a hot shower and the delicious lunch buffet is already ready for us.
Two Fish Diver Lembeh Dive Manager