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Thread: Raja Ampat-Lembeh Straits Trip Report Oct 5 thru Nov 1, 2011

  1. #1
    Shark
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    08/01/2007
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    Raja Ampat-Lembeh Straits Trip Report Oct 5 thru Nov 1, 2011

    This trip began with one of the longest journeys I’ve done. I left LA to Hong Kong to Singaporeto Manado to Makassar to Sorong and then a 2 hour boat ride to Kri Island in Raja Ampat…..Wow did I have jet lag for a couple of weeks!!

    This trip report will be a bit shorter than my previous reports as I have stayed at Sorido and Lembeh resorts 4 times before. Thus I have already covered meals, rooms etc in my previous Trip reports so I will highlight dives, changes in the operations of the resorts etc. One thing I noticed this year were the amount of German and Swiss diving with a few Americans here and there.

    Raja Ampat- SoridoResort- This was my 5th trip in 4 years. I stayed this year for 10 dive days. Again the resort is excellent from the accommodations, dive operation, meals etc.

    I met up with a couple of friends Lionel and Steve I met at Wakatobi in 2007. Also there were a group of mostly American school teachers who taught at the International school in Jakarta as they were on break. They all loved living in Jakarta and sounded like they had great lives there! One person Scotty was a math teacher who does some spectacular topside and underwater photos, he is one of those people I know I will meet again diving like I have with Lionel and Steve.

    Diving- did some amazing dives at Blue Magic, Cape Kri, Sardines reef, Miles Point etc. The amount of Marine life and diversification in this part of Raja Ampat is amazing. I guess that is why they say that is one of the richest areas of marine life in the world. I did Melissa’s Garden one day which is an hour plus boat ride from the resort. One dive which was a wall dive I must of seen 50+ nudibranchs it was amazing. One thing I have seen changing is the amount of sharks I am seeing on dives. Four years ago if I saw a Black Tip on a dive that was special. In the last couple of years I have seen more and on almost every dive this year at least 1 to 4 either Grey reef, White tip or Black tip were seen on many dives. Saw a couple of Dulongs from the ultra light. One adventure I had being there for 10 nights was the early Wednesday AM departure to Sorong, Rudy (Max’s brother) got me up at 4 am and we took a dive boat into Sorong. The day before the weather was a perfect and the weather forecast for the next day was the same. Thus I decided to spend the night ar Sorido instead of going into Sorong the night before. Well a major storm came in around 10 pm and did not let up until around 4 am. That was a fun 2 hour boat ride on a dive boat to Sorong…LOL.

    Max brought in new managers while I was there, Jimmy from Belgian and Julia from Germany. In 10 days I was there they seemed like they had been there for a while! I wish them the best.

    Lembeh Straits- Lembeh Resort- I took an early AM flight out of Sorong to Manado and arrived at Lembeh Resort around 1:30 pm. Keri (She and Hergen manage Critters@Lembeh) said get your gear and lets do the 3 pm afternoon dive…..I was a bit reluctant being I had been up so early (or almost all night) but she pressed and I agreed. We did Aer Bajo 2 that was one of the finest dives I have ever done in Lembeh! I must of seen around 14 different critters on this first dive....it blew me away!

    Overall the diving was excellent I did 24 dives, 3 which were on the house reef. I have heard from people that have dove Lembeh straits and they say the diving is not what is used to be! Baloney, BS, Not true!!!….I could go on and on….this was my 5th trip and every year it seems to get better. On my last dive day I saw the Mototi octopus at TK-3 also saw a large painted Frogfish, nudis, wonderpus, snake eels, free swimming eels, sponge crabs etc etc...one of the best dives I have ever done in Lembeh.

    The water this year had some cold currents down to 79f. being I wear a 1mm shorty I got a bit chilly on a couple of dives. Being I had been diving for 19 days my core was cooling off. The good thing was I was getting cool on my last dive day.

    Lembeh Resort brought a couple of new managers Helen and Gizmo who are really great. They were always around and interacting with the guests. They did some remodel to the dinning hall and took out the big hexagon bar and replaced it with a newbar up against the wall and have nice chairs on order to fill up the space. The move really opened up the area for drinks before dinner to sit around chatting and sharing photos etc.

    Dinner had a bit more of an Indonesian gourmet flair to it than in the past. Just a tab to eclectic and spicy for me….But if you are in Indonesia……

    Overall got in 50 dives and had a spectacular trip between Raja and Lembeh.

    Lembeh Resort and Critters@lembeh is both an excellent place to stay and the Dive operation is one of the finest I have ever dove with.

    When I left Lembeh I went on to Singapore and spent the night at the Crown Plaza outside customs near Terminal 3. I met up with Cat and her husband whom I met last year in Buyat bay. They took me for Chili crab and afterwards I took them to a coffeeshop for deserts. For some reason Carmel, chocolate etc is very weak flavoring in Asia.These were beautiful deserts but not much flavor!

    After the night in Singapore I went on to Hong Kong for a couple of days. I had not been in HK for years and it had changed. I stayed at the Sheraton next to the Peninsula on the waterfront. Since China has taken it over I noticed some major infrastructure changes especially on the waterfront the area I was staying. Big beautiful museums and cultural centers along with a great walkway that seemed to go on for miles. Really nice additions.

    Now to planning my2012 trip. Next year planning on Buyat Bay-Lembeh-Bangka and then back to RajaAmpat and the Sorido resort.

  2. #2
    Shark
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    here are some of my pics they put on their front page of the Lembeh Resort web page of the Mototi and Blue ringed octo's.....and I have that little Sony...surprised myself!
    Lembeh Resort – Critters at Lembeh in North Sulawesi, Indonesia

    ‚€œIn one word Exceptional!‚€Ě - Lembeh Resort - Critters at Lembeh in North Sulawesi, Indonesia

  3. #3
    Grouper
    Join Date
    09/14/2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    We did our first trip to Manado in Nov 09 staying with Thalassa Dive Center it was very quite with only 5 divers a day (no complaints from me). We didn't get a chance to go to Lembeh, but we did get to see the mandarin fish and flamboyant cuttlefish which was on our "to see" list.

    Next time I'll get to Lembeh.

  4. #4
    Shark
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    Reg if you go back look at doing Bangka or Buyat Bay....great diving to tie in with Lembeh as both are either North and South!

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