Now that I have become a little more seasoned as a diver, I’m going to be more picky about where I spend my money. I don’t want to dive just for the sake of diving. I want to know that there is something there to see, something unique and exciting.
Lucky for me one of the best dive sites in the world is located in North Sulawesi, and what’s even luckier is that one of the dive companies, called Eco Divers, offer a discount to all Tasikoki volunteers.
What is the name of this amazing dive site you ask?
The area is known as Lembeh Strait, and it is the best of the best for finding the small and obscure.
Originally I was only going to dive Lembeh once, but after spending the day there, I was hooked. I had to go back for more!
I could barely sleep the night before because I was so excited to get back in the water. 2 weeks had passed since I left TRACC, and I felt like a piece of me was missing.
We arrived at Eco Divers Resort for a quick briefing and some breakfast before heading out to the boat.
Out of all the groups I have gone diving with in the past, Eco Divers definitely has the best set up. We took a smaller boat out to the main boat that stays docked in the strait.
This is where we spent our surface intervals and ate lunch which is perfect since the boat has wifi and a huge sundeck upstairs. What more could you need?
The first dive was at one of the most exquisite coral reefs I have seen to date. It was so lush and pristine. Thankfully bomb fishing is non-existent in the strait!
Almost the whole time I was diving Pom Pom Island we were trying to find a pygmy seahorse. In Lembeh, I saw 2 in the first 10 minutes! Of course that is with the help of our amazing guide. Pygmy seahorses are only a couple millimeters in size! I can’t spot that on my own…..yet!
Another fish I had been dying to see was the frogfish, and Lembeh is filled with them.
Right off the bat we came across a giant frogfish hanging out in some coral. They aren’t the most attractive fish, but they sure are interesting.
Did you know frogfish actually walk! Well it’s more like a waddle than a walk, but either way it’s pretty cool to see!!!
The next 2 dives were in spots that would be considered muck diving since there really isn’t a reef to look at. It’s more sandy bottom terrane.
Before, I would have been turned off since I always thought the reef was one of the best parts of a dive, but Lembeh has so much to see, you don’t miss it.
Sea snakes, flamboyant cuttlefish, many different kinds of octopus, and lets not forget my all time favorite…..nudibranchs! And loads of them!
The whole day was perfect. The dives were great and in-between dives we pretty much spent all of our time up on the top deck sunbathing and relaxing.
As soon as we left that first day, I was already planning the next dive trip.
One week later I was back at it.
The second day diving with Eco Divers is going down in history as one of my best dive days ever. Everything about it was incredible. Only myself and another guy were diving in our group and our guide, Aghi, was the best!
All you had to do was tell him what you wanted to see and he would find it for you….no questions asked.
My buddy wanted to see hairy frogfish and he got 2 on the first dive.
Aghi found us probably the smallest frogfish in existence. How he saw it, I do not know because this little guy was no bigger than the tip of my pinky finger.
We saw beautiful cockatoo waspfish and graceful mandarine fish. It seemed like every time we turned around that day, we were spotting something.
Our third dive was the most exciting for me because I actually had a spot of my own that some of the most seasoned divers could only dream of.
As we were looking at a bunch of nudies crawling around a rock, I noticed something colorful down in the cracks. I got closer for further inspection and noticed they were moving almost as if they were dancing.
I had to scream out to get Aghi’s attention so I could point out the peculiar little creatures.
As soon as he got to the rock and saw what I was pointing at, he became ecstatic punching the water and then shaking my hand.
All of us were almost out of air, so we used the last bits to watch these funny little creatures dance around before heading up.
Once on the surface, Aghi explained that the 2 pink and purple spotted animals were called harlequin shrimp and they were very, very special.
THAT was a proud moment for me as a diver.
Once the sun went down, we loaded the little boat one more time for a night dive, and again my eyes were opened to some of the most odd critters one could think of.
Have you ever seen a stargazer fish? I hadn’t before that night, and let me tell you….they are creepy looking. Seriously! Look them up!
My final week at Tasikoki I decided to dive one more time. Who knows when I would have the opportunity to go again once I get to Europe. Better to take advantage of the opportunity while it’s there.
Aghi was my guide again, and as before he did not disappoint.
I asked for a specific nudibranch and he gave me 5. We wanted to see more octopuses and he produced. Again it was another wonderful day in Lembeh.
Besides all the awesome diving, there was another draw for going to Eco Divers…..the food.
Their lunches were really good, but they offered a dinner menu that was soooooo tasty. Since we had been eating the food at Tasikoki day in and day out, we were all starving for something different.
Ugh!What I would give for a veggie burger from Eco Diver right now!
I’ve already told myself that I will be making my way back to Lembeh in the future I just hope I’ll be Dive Master certified by then and have even better spotting skills.
Want to dive Lembeh? Check out Eco Divers website for more info on day rates and package deals.