So here it is: My second Introduction Post on the NAD Lembeh Blog.
My Name is Serge and after having written the updates here for one year as the Dive Manager i am now back for a 1 month visit and will use my time to keep you updated on what’s going on at NAD Lembeh – on land and of course underwater!
First of all i want to say something about the resort itself: It is amzing how many improvements Simon, Zee and the team have made! New entrances to the Beachfront Rooms, a entirely new Restaurant with a second floor Bar/Lounge area, a new kitchen, improved compressor facilities with a Nitrox membrane (my favourite!) and new boats and engines. I can’t imagine how they did all this in only 6 months, but they did it 😉
And second: I am also suprised by the good diving. There are many Frogfish around, good Blue Ring Octopus action (with sightings basicly every day), some fantastic Nudibranches, crazy Shrimps and tons of other cool critters. I had my third dive day today and i already can’t remember what i have already seen. And with the fantastic team of Dive Guides (Paulus, Joni, Stenly, Johan, Indra, Abner, Marnez and Steven) i am sure i will have a great time.
I could be posting about the Hairy Octopus, billions of Blue Rings, Wonderpus, Bumblebee Shrimps, Harlequins, Ambon Scorpion Fish, Hairy & Green Shrimps etc, but im too busy to go out taking pictures and im so out of practice it will be embarrassing to compare them to Bent‘s Pictures.
In the mean time, Paulus and Joni were able to go out yesterday afternoon and try getting to grips with some different cameras. They were using a Canon 7D in a Nauticam, a Canon S95 in a Canon Housing, and a Canon 5Dmk3 in an Aquatica. We headed out on the housereef and within a few minutes they found a mantis with eggs in about 3 m. So after a while i signaled to them that i would go to the wreck and leave these two highly experienced guides to finish off with the Mantis and then meet up with me at the wrecks.
I happily started taking some snoot pictures at the wreck and got so engrossed I lost track of time, about 30 minutes passed and they still hadn’t arrived. It turns out the two muppets were playing around with the camera so much they had lost their reference points and swum in the wrong direction (about 200m away!). So for anyone that has got lost during a self guided housereef dive at NAD, you don’t need to feel bad, some of the best guides in Lembeh also get lost when distracted with taking pictures!
Eventually when we met up again, they made some attempts at Lembeh Sea Dragon Shots. Next time they are only going to be allowed to shoot some of the easier things, the hit rate of good shots was a little low.
One thing that I found interesting was that both of them only took about 30 pictures between them, if it wasn’t going to be a good shot they didn’t even bother to pull the trigger. Many people only shot like that when they had film in their camera. They also wanted to to the new ‘Shoot 5’ rule that we have been using for the last month, shoot 5 pictures nice and slowly then let someone else get 5 whilst you review. It makes your pictures a lot better in the end as you are forced to check and avoid silly errors, and stops too much unnecessary flashing of the critters.
Soon the other guides will be finished with their guests and it will be their turn to start the learning process!
On a recent dive our Dive Guide Paulus found this beautiful Tiger Cowrie (Crenavolva tigris) on a red seafan, which it feeds on. This Yellow-Black patterned Cowrie is a real beauty and well deserves the name tiger cowrie, which is also commonly used for the much bigger but also much less attractive and less rare Cypraea tigris. Anyway … well spotted Paulus! We hope it will stay on its seafan for a while.
Every day of diving in Lembeh Strait is special – but some days are just more outstanding than others. Today was one of those days. It all started with very heavy tankbanging, when our Dive Guides Stenly (left) and Marnes (right) spotted a Whaleshark in between Aer Bajo 2 and Aer Bajo 3. The Whaleskark came slowly up from the deeper part, passed both of our dive groups, did a turn in the shallows and went slowly back out into the blue (OK … it was more green than blue). It was a very special experience for our guests: they had never seen a whaleshark before (some of them even went already twice to Maldives specially to see one) and so they were very very happy. But the funniest part was Marnes back on the boat: “First a Mola Mola, now a whaleshark – i start liking these big fish” (it was his first Whaleshark he had seen underwater … but he already saw a Mola Mola in October).
On yesterday’s second morning dive our guide Stenly found (amongst other things) this little baby Octopus for his three Japanese guests. The little fellow had the size of a fingernail or a small coin and was still transparent … you could even see his internal organs working. Its colouration was a little bit like a pygmy squid or a bobtail squid. We think it is a newly hatched Coconut Octopus – this would also explain his preference for little objects and shells … it was grabbing anithing it could find in the sand and tried to hide in it. This picture shows two little shells that i offered him as a little present.
Some Critters can be seen at daytime but others only at night – like for example the Bubble Shells: They are burried in the Sand during the day and come out at night. But this Wavy Lined Bubble Shell (Micromelo undata) must have been doing overtimes … our guide Paulus found it on yesterdays’s morning dive at Nudi Retreat out on the sand. Even seen at night, Bubble Shells are not very common, but finding one in the daytime is rather special. A cool find for our guests Tyra and Dustin that finished one week of diving with Paulus as their private guide. Have a safe flight home guys and see you again next year!
Nudi Falls is one of the dive sites in Lembeh Strait that you can dive over and over again – at night, in the morning, for the second morning dive or for the first one. And it is always nice. Some of our guests requested to go to Nudi Falls again so that’s why we went back there yesterday morning for the first dive. The critters were all there and we saw countless different nudibranchs and shrimps (including some nice Hairy Shrimps). But the most beautiful thing if diving there first thing in the morning is that there can be very beautiful sunrays in the shallows – specially when the visibility is as good as it was yesterday. This picture is taken in 4 meters of water right under the boat. Thanks to our Dive Guide Joni for posing for this picture …