On our last trip to Sulawesi, we had dived three days each at Bunaken and Lambeh. This time we planned to spend four days of diving at Lambeh (Lambeh resort, since it was pretty good last time), and three days at Bangka. Lambeh resort is still really comfortable, and in fact this time we were in one of the small numbered rooms on the right side (facing the resort) -- which is more convenient and very nice. The food I think has improved over the years from our last trip here; there are plenty of options, and the setting is perhaps even a bit upscale for a dive resort. All meals are served buffet style, with plenty of choices, western as well as local, and with a nice variety of very good quality fruit.
The diving turned out to be differnet than what we expected, with unexpectedly cold waters and rain on three of four days we were there.
It was so cold that Kitty got a bit sick. I don't think anyone did a night dive through the days we were there. So I did a total of 11 boat dives and one house reef dive, while Kitty only did 8 boat dives. Our dives were made at:
Aug 3: Palau Abadi, Jahir 1, Serena Besar
Aug 4: Makawide 1, Aer Bajo 3
Aug 5: T.K. 3, Nudi falls, Pantai Parigi
Aug 7: Slow Poke, Aer Bajo 1, T.K. 1
Then we headed out to Bangka for three days -- it's a couple of hours by boat from Lambeh; on the way back, it's an hour boat to the pier on the other side of Manado from where we can take the car to the airport. The Murex resort at Bangka (the only one there) is really basic, and the food is also fairly simple, local style fare. Most meals are rice, couple of local veggies like spinach, morning glory etc., togehter with couple of chicken seafood dishes. However, the weather here was just splendid, with sunny days, clear waters, and easy diving. It took me so long to put this trip reprot together that I've totally forgotten the dive site names. I think most dives were done within few minutes by boat from the resort, and none were deeper than 25m. There's one site with a couple of pinnacles at around 25m where the pygmy seahorse live (especially, a couple of fairly healthy pontohi), so we dived there twice. We also spent one full dive scouring the shallow sandy bottom in the site where dugong's are occasionally seen -- but we didn't meet the sea cows. Overall, I'd probably skip Bangka on the next trip to Lambeh area, and perhaps try Gangga island, which is also nearby; but I think the best plan is to stick to Lambeh all the way.
About the photos
Gear: I'm now using a Sony Nex7 with stock 18-55 lens, togehter with an Inon 165 macro wet lens; I use a Sea & Sea YS-01 strobe in slave. Kitty uses a Canon G12 in the Canon housing, and an AdventureX 1200 lumen video light. I've become a real fan of these compact LED video lights (I also have a Light & Motion Sola 800, which I use for night dives). If you'd like the originals of any of these images, email me.