Amazing Lembeh

The first time I dove in Lembeh, I swear, as soon as I started bubbling I thought "OMG where the hell did I end up?".
I think this is the most common thought of every diver that have the chance to dive over there! Lembeh Strait needs no further presentation so I will try to focus on the reasons that are pushing me over there since 5 years.

If you happen to land in Lembeh for the first time after you dove in Palau or the Maldives for instance, you'd better be prepared to what you are going to see, especially if you never experienced muck dives. Just to be on the safe side, there are beautiful UW landscapes in Lembeh too! Magnificent walls, wrecks, coral gardens etc, but this awesome place owe its notoriety to muck dives... and there is a Volcano over there (active!) so be prepared to quakes also! :) and hence the sand is black. Plus many villages lay on the shore so you may expect also a lot of garbage and rubbles...

So why the hell one should travel half the world (in my case) 5 years in a row to dive on a black sand bottom full of garbage and rubbles? Simply because under that black sand and rubbles, hidden among and inside the garbage, there is the most magnificent variety of marine species anyone can ever hope to see anywhere else in the world! And all together in the same place!

To make it clear we are talking about critters... Small bugs and snails as big as few millimeters, wonderful shaped and colored, amazing variety and quantity but critters!
If you're not into macro photography or macro life interest in general it might be boring! But if you like Macro, you could die over there! Just be sure you have enough memory cards for your camera! (need to be checked for one week too!)

On the other end, when you encounter (maybe) 1 white tip shark (baby), 1 Manta, 1 Spotted Eagle ray you jump out of the water as happy as you met God!

Let's go back to critters... I remember the first time I saw a photographer shooting macro underwater thought: "is he crazy? What the hell is he shooting at? The sand?" and then I decided I was too far away and got closer... well, when I got closer I decided he was really a crappy photographer as he was shooting nothing! When we came out of the water I went after him to ask him what he was shooting over there and he showed me a wonderfully coloured juvenile dragonet I hadn't noticed! That was the moment I decided I wanted to start macro photography underwater!

So if you are amazed to see crazy dudes hanging around with many thousands dollars cameras shooting at the sand, Lembeh is the right place for you!

Marino Palla

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