PDA

View Full Version : Trip Report Lembeh Straits-Bangka-Raja Ampat 11-09



Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 10:14
This report will be in two parts. Lembeh-Bangka part I November 4th-14 Raja Ampat part II

Finally arriving in Manado from my long arduous journey from LA, I got checked into the Lembeh Resort. Unfortunately they were picking up another guest and he was in the very back of Silk Air flight thus the back of the customs line and had to wait around 60 minutes for him to clear customs. Also I was to be met by a Manado ticketing agent to deliver my ticket to Sorong. The agent was not there, calling the contact individual…he was on Holiday, and then called the office and they instructed me to go to Sorong to get my ticket LOL. The next morning they said the same thing and then I got the General Manager of Lembeh resort Glenn to contact my Travel Agent in the US to figure out what was going on so I did not have to lose any dives. Finally after some finger pointing and from what I can figure out Papua diving did not receive the payment in time and had a new system of delivering ticket via email that was not discussed with my Travel Agent. Not fun to deal with thousands of miles away home. On the way to Lembeh an accident of a truck flipping over so we ended up with a major detour (we could not go around) as the two lane roads going to the boat to Lembeh resort are a little larger than one lane back home. When I finally arrived around 5pm I missed the afternoon dive then I was hoping to do a guided evening dive on the house reef but I opted to contact my Travel Agent to try to get the ticket mess figured out and their internet was out so they hooked me up with what I swear was an old 14.4 dial up connection that took over an hour to send an email.

As usual Lembeh Resort is outstanding, I had room #5 again and I think it has one the best views in the place. Breakfast was buffet style usually a few different fruits, breads, cereals and an omelet station. Lunches again buffet and always an excellent varity and very good. The Dinner menu was a bit different this year going with a more gourmet Indonesian flair. Sometimes a bit to spicy for me but very good.

Diving:21 dives, this time I spent 7 nights and got in 6 days of diving and all I can say is this place rocks. I did my first solo dives on the house reef two were at 5:30 am and one night dive saw some cool stuff. I’m sure if I would have done guided dives it would have seen a lot more but enjoyed doing my own thing. Highlights this year were things I have not seen before like the Flamboyant cuttlefish, Lacy (hairy) filefish, Harlequin shrimp and my final dive saw two Blue ringed Octopus together. Besides that I saw many of the unique critters that make Lembeh famous like Hairy frogfish, different varieties of Waspfish, Dragonet’s, Goby’s, Seahorses, Blenny’s, some of the smallest frogfishes ever (painted and warty), Hairy Frogfish, Scorpionfishes, Leaf fish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Devilfish, Waspfish, Flounders, Boxfish, Nudibranches, Ghost pipefish, Halimeda ghost pipefish, Crocodile fish etc etc. Be careful of one thing, I was taking a picture of a hairy frogfish and it had a couple of Fire urchins around it and if your hand gets poked…big OUCH…The one thing I missed this year was the Rhinopias Paddleflap, they say they have not seen one in months. The dive guides at Lembeh Divers now critters@lembeh are excellent a few trained by Larry Smith. I dove mostly with Ronald, then Andi and Joni, most of the time no more than one, two and (only a couple of dives) three divers with any guide. I had planned to do 7 full days of diving in Lembeh but I took the boat transfer for $125 plus diving to go to Bangka. Met Kerri and Hergen who are the new managers for critters@lembeh really a nice couple and anything you would ask if it was possible…it was done.

Bangka: Leaving Lembeh I did the boat transfer and dove along the way. I wanted to dive Angels Window and California Dreaming in northern Lembeh but the water was a bit too rough thus we headed to Bangka. Not knowing where Angels Window or CA Dreaming was I took Joni’s word for it. That crossing to Bangka from Lembeh side was rough 4’ to 6’ seas and I did not take my seasick meds. Needless to say after 30 minutes I was not feeling my best for the first dive or second dive. By the third dive we were in very calm waters and I snapped out of it.

After the third dive we arrive at the Murex Bangka. It was pretty much as described by Danny Charlton of critters@lembeh very basic, nice rooms (nothing fancy), AC, and hot water. There were a couple of people left a day early because of the roof leaking over their bed when it would rain at night but I never had a problem. The electricity is shut off at 7am (sometimes even earlier) and turned back on at 5pm so you had plenty of time to cool down the room for the evening and charge your rechargeables. The bugs were bad and they lit a smoke bug repellant in the early AM and sunset on your front deck, I also used my mosquito net over the bed. The meals are mess hall style nothing fancy but good. Breakfast was omelets, pancakes, fresh fruit (the pineapple they have there is the sweetest I have ever tasted) Lunch was usually three different dishes a beef, fish and an Indonesia dish, Dinner was beef and fish and rice, prepared in tasty sauces.

Diving: 11 dives, 3 dives with Joni from Lembeh and 8 dives with Aswar the dive guide at Murex. Again I lucked out only myself and one other time another diver on the boat! Aswar was slow and great at finding the unusual and found several nudies and always a pigmy seahorse on every dive. I saw things I have not seen in Lembeh such as the Orange & Multi-banded & double ended Pipefish, Shortpouch Pygmy pipehorse I also saw a good varity of Seahorses, Harlequin shrimp, Pigmy seahorses, Frogfishes, Snappers, Breams, Wrasses, Blennies, puffers, Ghost pipefish’s, Whitetip Sharks, Spadefish and even a few juvenile ones along with all the assorted Tropical reef fish etc. One dive Sahaung II was an exceptionally beautiful dive the coral, rock formations-one spot called the temple (looked like it) and amount marine life it was the best dive I did there. There is both hard and soft corals which are healthy and plentiful on a white sandy bottom. This was very good diving a degree a two cooler than Lembeh it was 80-81F so I put on my vest and beanie being I wear only a short suit. Visibility was around 40’ to 60’ with a white sandy bottom. Definitely a place worth going back to. To be continued…..

chinacat46
12-01-2009, 10:28
Thanks for the report. You dived water under 82 degrees? Thought that was against your rules. LOL Did you do any night dives besides the solo one on the house reef?

Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 10:31
No...not many people doing night dives. Only twice they offered a night dives....fo some reason or another missed em....But I loved the one I did on the house reef....Just my camera fogged up as I was shooting so many pics....yep 82 or less are against my rules....but I was not in control unless I wanted to sit out my dives and Bangka was excellent diving.

chinacat46
12-01-2009, 10:40
Did you use any desiccant packages? I put one inside my case and it keeps it from fogging. How was Lion Air? Did they let you slide with your overweight bags or did they reem you?

Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 11:19
Lion got me on the Sorong-Manado or it might of been the Papua agent...when we got to the airport the flight was boarding and he said he paid 160,000 rupiah for my bag...i decided I just want to get on the flight and paid it.

My new camera does not have room for any of those desiccant pkgs....so Kerri gave me a bit of heads up....Go into the camera room and blow out the camera with compressed air and close it.....did not have another problem.

chinacat46
12-01-2009, 11:24
Mine is pretty tight with the desiccant packs but I can squeeze one in. Get a small one and try it in different spots you might be able to use one.

jet126
12-01-2009, 17:20
Thanks for the report Scott. Took me right back! Nothing like Lembeh ...

The water temps have dropped below 80 here in SoFL. I'm out for the season now.

Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 18:54
here are some pics.....from Lembeh:smiley20:

PACKRMAN
12-01-2009, 20:06
Very nice pictures. What am I looking at here?
http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6061d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc0121-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6061d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc0121-e.jpg)

Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 20:26
That little red hairy thing is an Orangutan crab.

Travelnsj
12-01-2009, 20:28
Hey Chuck what is this http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg)????

PACKRMAN
12-01-2009, 20:32
That little red hairy thing is an Orangutan crab.

Thanks, I was looking at the white stuff and thinking 'realy big for eggs'

gee
12-01-2009, 20:54
Thanks for that report. The way your trip started out made me wonder if you were going to have the trip from hell! But, from your excellent photos & description of the diving, you must have had a great trip! Thanks for sharing.

navyhmc
12-01-2009, 23:53
Water under 82f??? Wow, the diving must have been far better than spectacular :smiley36:

Great photos. I have officially put Lembah on my bucket list now. Thanks for posting.:smiley20:

jet126
12-02-2009, 04:49
Hey Chuck what is this http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg)????

It looks like a file fish with his tail bitten off. And Chuck - what is that purple blob the clownfish are hanging around?

Very cool pics, btw!

chinacat46
12-02-2009, 06:49
Hey Chuck what is this http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6067d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01495-e.jpg)????

It looks like a file fish with his tail bitten off. And Chuck - what is that purple blob the clownfish are hanging around?

Very cool pics, btw!

Definitely a file fish not sure which kind though. Looks like the tail is just bent around though not bitten off.

The white stuff Packrman was wondering about is bubble coral and it is very common to find Orangutan crabs on them.

Joanie the purple blob is the underside of an anemone. You see all different colors underneath depending on the anemone. They roll up and close late in the day and the anemone fish that live in them are forced to hang out above it as seen in the photo. A lot of times you will see cleaner shrimp hanging there as well.

Travelnsj
12-02-2009, 09:27
Here are some more pics from Lembeh a couple I have posted before on another thread.....next pics from Bangka!

Can anyone see the Hairy frogfish in this pic?

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6068d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01611-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6068d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01611-e.jpg)

ParrotheadDiver
12-02-2009, 11:41
Great report!!!! Awesome pictures...thanks for sharing....sounds like a wonderful place

mrm777
12-02-2009, 23:44
Great tip.....and trip saver! Thanks
________________________________
"Go into the camera room and blow out the camera with compressed air and close it.....did not have another problem."

Travelnsj
12-03-2009, 12:53
Here are some Bangka Pics.....forgot to mention the Paradise Pier dive in Bangka which was an excellent dive:smiley20:... It had a natural hot springs (pic below).....the water was around 81 and I did not have my vest on so I was cool. The springs was around 100+....I planted myself over it a couple of times and could only take it for a minute.....

PACKRMAN
12-03-2009, 18:42
I have to admit, the pictures from this trip are spectacular. I have never heard of several of these criters and to have the opportunity to photo them on a single trip is incredible.
Another good reason to stay underwater.

Thanks

Travelnsj
12-03-2009, 19:56
Does anyone know what this is?...and did anyone see the Hairy frogfish?

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg)

PACKRMAN
12-03-2009, 20:11
Was the frogfish on the right?

Travelnsj
12-03-2009, 20:15
Here are the Frogfish...one about 1'...one a little over 1"...and the hairy one!

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6095d1259866372t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02040-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6095d1259866372-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02040-e.jpg)http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6080d1259767544t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01536-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6080d1259767544-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01536-e.jpg)http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6068d1259715280t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01611-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6068d1259715280-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc01611-e.jpg)

chinacat46
12-04-2009, 05:36
Does anyone know what this is?...and did anyone see the Hairy frogfish?

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg)

Looks to me to be a double-ended pipefish. Fairly common in Lembeh.

Travelnsj
12-05-2009, 11:11
Does anyone know what this is?...and did anyone see the Hairy frogfish?

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg)

Looks to me to be a double-ended pipefish. Fairly common in Lembeh.

You are right and I have seen them before in Lembeh but in weeds and not as big as that one....It was crawling on the sand.

DevilDiver
12-05-2009, 11:39
Does anyone know what this is?...and did anyone see the Hairy frogfish?

http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372t-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg (http://forum.scubatoys.com/attachments/asian-diving/6093d1259866372-trip-report-lembeh-straits-bangka-raja-ampat-11-09-dsc02000-e.jpg)


I would lean to the Alligator Pipefish (AKA Double Ended Pipehorse).... What do you think?

http://www.fishbase.org/images/species/Sybia_m0.jpg
Alligator pipefish
Syngnathoides biaculeatus

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 29.0 cm TL male/unsexed

Environment
Reef-associated; non-migratory; marine

Climate / Range
Tropical; 32N - 32S

Distribution
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and Knysna, South Africa to Samoa, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales.

Travelnsj
12-05-2009, 11:42
I think you are right!

DevilDiver
12-05-2009, 11:43
Great report and photos!! Thank you........