(that is in North Sulawesi, on each side of the end of the peninsula, near Manado.)
I have discovered something: I LOVE muck diving. K. and I spent five days in Lembeh, got 10 dives, and every single one of them was an amazement. Since we are newbies in muck diving, it took a couple of days to adjust our eyes to the local fauna. You ought to look for small, tiny, mini stuff around here. When you drop down and all you can see is dark sand for meters, you sort of wonder where the hell you are. Very little reef, a few bits of coral here and there, trash (a lot of it) but most of the time that’s it. Except that when you start getting close to the bottom and get your nose close to anything that looks like a leaf, dead wood or garbage (well, often, garbage is garbage), you find out that there are stuff there: frogfish, scorpionfish, pipefish, seahorse, shrimps, octopus, etc. The list of things I have seen this week and that I had never seen before is very long. There are also a lot of species around here that are still unidentified because you cannot find them anywhere else in the world.
Leo, the local lovely guy who was guiding us, has been diving here for five years. He had some sort of bionic eyes and when I saw a bunch of boring seaweed he could find a pygmy pipefish.
Anyway, we had a great time, our place was nice and fancy (hot water = fancy), and all we did for five days was dive, eat, dive, sleep, and again.
Then, despite persistent rain that tried to get in our way, we crossed back to Manado in order to get to Bunaken, the other diving spot in the area.
Bunaken is very different from Lembeh, it is more “standard” reef and walls dives I suppose. It was very good nonetheless. As a greeting, we got sharks the first day we got in the water, a couple of black tip came to say hello.
The conditions were pretty crappy to be honest, since it poured down over our heads nonstop for a few days and the area got flooded. Apart from my phone which didn’t like the climate very much and is now half working, there was no other damage around where we stayed. As a consequence, the visibility was not great for a few dives (and my clothes ended up to be very smelly…) but the diving was still good: turtles, plenty of fish, great reefs with nudis and shrimps and crabs and other stuff, a few amazing walls. The place we stayed at, Panorama Diving, was nowhere near as fancy as our place in Lembeh but had a much nicer atmosphere to it.
All in all, almost two weeks of great diving. Now my little travel buddy is flying back home, and I am flying down to Makassar to reach Bira, the end of the world (eeer no of the peninsula, sorry). The vacation is over and the studying needs to start properly, because so far I have not been very serious with it…