Diving Lembeh, 2016

This trip more or less eventuated because I bought some new toys – new BCD and regs (…there goes my 2016 tax return), as well as a new macro lens for my camera. Also, I was really really stressed out and just needed to go for a dive. It’s been a couple of years since my real last trip to Lembeh (because I was convinced I had to go see what all the fuss over Ambon was about), so I thought that it would be a good place to go test out my new gear.

I’d originally thought about switching it up and going to stay at Lembeh Resort for this trip, but given my travel dates and availability of rooms, it just didn’t work out. So I booked in for a week at Kungkungan Bay Resort – which is where I’ve stayed on all my previous trips to Lembeh. Flights were simple enough: Townsville-Brisbane-Singapore-Manado, with a 30kg baggage allowance for the whole trip.

The resort delivered…The old resort manager has moved on (the Brazilian guy), which I am grateful for. He was unpleasant – to put it mildly. And it seems that the resort management is now being done by a couple of locals (Beary and Linda), and they are fantastic! They’re taking care of both the resort and the dive operations, and everything seems to be running smoothly. Sometimes having the locals rather than expats running things works wonders šŸ™‚ My favourite guide has left the resort, and there’s a story behind it, so while it sucks that he’s gone, I do understand the situation. The guide I did get to myself for the week, Jeff, was awesome though.

The diving was pretty good. I had two things on my ever incomplete critter list: a hairy octopus, and a psychedelic frogfish (becauseĀ go big or go home!!!). Obviously I never actually expected to see a psychedelic frogfish in Lembeh, but the utter pain in my heart when I was sitting at Manado airport on the way home Ā checking my social media feeds and the guys at Maluku Divers in Ambon posted on Facebook that they’d seen one that day. You haveĀ no idea how tempted I was to modify my flights (regardless of the cost), get on a plane to Ambon, and go find the thing. My boss could deal with me coming home a few days later, right? Anyway, no psychedelic frogfish for me on this trip. And the hairy octopus was another frustration…The guides at KBR spotted one literally the day before I got there. And obviously, because the world hates me, despite numerous efforts to find it again, we failed. So nothing marked off the critter list on this trip, but still, got to see some cool things.

Photos below. The new macro lens did its job šŸ™‚ I’m still not entirely happy with the photos to be honest. I think a complete system upgrade will be on the cards next year. This one has served me well, but I’m becoming more critical of my own work now, and what used to pass as “not a bad shot” is now getting trashed. Need a better camera setup.

The story behind the octopus in the shell I mention in the image caption? So I took that shot, and was changing my camera settings and lighting to get a better photo, as I don’t like the colours in it much, when some random guide from another resort comes along and pokes him out of the shell so his client could get a photo of the “whole octopus”. Never mind that I was there already and just changing my camera settings to take another shot of him in the shell…Not impressed, and the names I called the guide in question afterwards were…colourful. I never did get the other shot because somewhat predictably, the octopus took off once prodded out of his hiding place.

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