Lembeh Liveaboard Diving, Indonesia

Lembeh Liveaboard Diving, Indonesia

Lembeh Strait is home the most weird and wonderful critters that you can imagine. Diving here is an endless adventure of looking for unique creatures.

Lembeh Liveaboard Diving offers you an endless adventure of looking for the most wonderful and weirdest critters in existence. Lembeh Strait is a world-class destination to experience unique muck diving in the black volcanic sand of this area. It is difficult to find a better place in the world to go critter hunting.

Considered the capital of muck diving, diver’s will be amazed by the variety of unusual and rare critters. Much of the marine life here, divers will have only seen in magazines or coffee table photo books. Creatures are so bizarre that you’ll be wondering what on earth you just saw! The critter opportunities on every dive are endless. There are so many creatures for your dive guides to point out to you that your time underwater will pass in a flurry.

Super rare marvels such as Rhinopias, hairy frogfish, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus are all part of a normal day in the Lembeh Strait. If you think you have seen it all, you need to dive in Lembeh to see more! Night dives will offer up even more extraordinary critters. Fascinating stargazers, crazy looking decorator crabs and Spanish dancers will help fill up your logbook.

Liveaboards visit Lembeh Strait as part of an extended cruise to surrounding areas.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.

Lembeh Liveaboard Diving, Indonesia - 11 LIVEABOARDS

From $197 / day

Maluku Explorer

Maluku Explorer is a 34m comfortable and spacious liveaboard that can accommodate up to 16 guests in her nine cabins. They range from a huge premium cabin to highly valued single cabins. The upper deck has a sun deck with loungers and an air-conditioned lounge with an entertainment system. Both local and international cuisine meals are served buffet style in the dining room. The dive deck is spacious and supported by two zodiacs for easy drop off and pick up.

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From $182 / day

Sunshine

Sunshine Liveaboard in Indonesia is a 30m vessel with only eight guests in the five double cabins onboard over the two decks. The indoor lounge has a charging station for cameras and computers. The upper deck has a large sundeck with mattresses, bean bags and a shaded area, plus a covered relaxation area with tables. The indoor dining area serves delicious meals with local and international cuisine. The dive deck is spacious with a tender used for ease of drop-offs and pickups.

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From $324 / day

Solitude Adventurer

Solitude Adventurer Liveaboard in Indonesia is a 36m catamaran completely renovated in 2017 that caters for up to 18 guests in different cabin types. All have en suite bathrooms, climate control, a safe, hairdryer and large windows as they are located on the main or upper level. There is an indoor lounge with dining area, bar, library and entertainment system. An outdoor lounge has the option for meals to be served there and a large sundeck. Photographers are well catered for on board.

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Best Places to Dive in Lembeh

There are over 35 dives sites in Lembeh, so we cannot list them all here! We have picked out the most popular dive sites.

Best Dive Sites in Lembeh

Hairball

The sandy slopes of Hairball are extremely rich, and this is why it is one of the most popular muck dive sites in the Strait. Hairball is located in an area where the currents bring more nutrients to it than close by dive sites. A typical sandy slope down to 30 meters with small patches of reef, where all the creatures hang around. Algae are also present at this dive site, and it is the perfect habitat for many unique animals such as hairy frogfish, coconut octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish and more.

Nudi Falls

Nudi Falls is a wall, and the name comes from the fact that the bubbles from the divers sometimes cause nudibranchs to fall off the wall. Nudi Falls is probably one of the most popular sites in the Strait. The topography of the site begins with a beautiful wall down to 12 metres with a rocky and sandy slope below. This site is unique to any other in the Strait due to the corals on the wall, rocky slope and sandy areas. It is the perfect environment to see different species of nudibranchs, harlequin shrimps, Rhinopias have been residents of this site and more.

Jahir

Jahir is a very exceptional muck site that can be rich in critters. Along the sandy slope, coral patches are hosting many creatures. The black sand slope starts in the shallows of the site and continues down to 28 meters. There are concrete blocks with some sponge formations on them where many creatures are interested in hiding and camouflage. Making this area exciting with finds such ghost pipefish, frogfish, and along the sand, mimic and coconut octopus.

Aer Perang

This particular site has a great history. "Aer" means water and "Perang" means war. The location was named after the jetty offering fresh water from a well located uphill from the site. The Japanese installed the well during WW2. Air Prang is a large dive site with a spread-out, gradual sandy slope. One of the most popular dives for night dives, Aer Perang is a great muck site during the day too. Harlequin shrimps, all kinds of octopus and the famous yellow pygmy goby that uses glass bottles to hide from predators can be seen here.

Makawide

This site is very different to all the black sandy slopes. The sites at Makawide get their name from the nearby village. This site has excellent coral growth in the shallows and large rubble and sandy slope. Makawide is divided into two dive sites like most of the dive sites in the Strait. Makawide 2 has two pinnacles, making this a fantastic shallow area for diving and snorkelling. An excellent place for cephalopods, nudibranchs, giant frogfish and more.

Mawali Wreck

The Mawali Wreck is the most popular wreck in Lembeh Strait. The name comes from a village nearby to the site, the large WW2 Japanese freighter lies on her port side, offering a coral growth oasis for divers. The extended structure is home to lots of marine life. Lots of lionfish and scorpionfish, as well as nudibranchs, crabs and pipefish.

Nudi Retreat

Nudi Retreat was named after the vast variety of nudibranchs that can be found here, making this site another favourite place to dive. The area has healthy coral growth in the shallows, turning into a sandy slope with encrusted formations of corals and rocks down below with two small walls stretching out to either side. In some areas, the soft coral growth goes right up to only 2 meters in depth. One of the main attractions of this fantastic site is the pygmy seahorses. When the visibility is good, and the current is strong enough to open all the soft corals, Nudi Retreat becomes one of the best sites for wide-angle photography.

Police Pier

Police Pier is located in an area that has a sand and rubble slope with some hard and soft coral and sponges. Around the pier, some pearl farm racks host many fantastic creatures such as painted frogfish, pipefish, Banggai cardinalfish and you can often see the juvenile spadefish and more. Police Pier was named Police Pier due to it being near to the real police station that monitors Lembeh Strait.

Lembeh Liveaboard Diving

Liveaboards will visit Lembeh as part of an extended cruise. Perhaps you will dive in Lembeh at the end of a trip that began in Raja Ampat.

Read more about this fantastic destination below.

Raja Ampat is considered to have the best coral reef diving on the planet. Unusual wobbegong sharks, majestic giant mantas and tiny pygmy seahorses, Raja Ampat has it all!

For more information about Raja Ampat, please click on the photo.

Raja Ampat scuba diving destination

Lembeh Scuba Diving Highlights

  • Common sightings - frogfish, nudibranchs, ribbon eels, seahorses, coconut octopus, pegasus, snake eels, stonefish, Banggai cardinalfish, mantis shrimps, ghost pipefish, cowfish, flying gurnards, the list goes on and on.
  • Special sightings - Rhinopias, mimic octopus, juvenile zebra spadefish, hairy octopus, blue-ringed octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, hairy frogfish, mandarin fish, stargazers, harlequin shrimps, pygmy seahorse, you will be sure to tick off some of the rarer critters from your diver's bucket list!
  • Topography - Lembeh Strait is mostly black sandy slopes with scattering growths of hard corals. There are also shallow walls with abundant marine life. Some dive sites have shallow, hard coral at the top.
  • Visibility - Visibility varies between dive sites and is unpredictable, usually fluctuating in the range of 5-25 meters. Note that most of the diving is very "up-close and personal," so even at minimum visibility, you will still have a fantastic dive.
  • General information - Lembeh Strait diving is open to all diver abilities. Good buoyancy is essential to avoid kicking the sand, stirring it up and disturbing the critters.

Best Time to Go

Conditions throughout the year vary, but you can go scuba diving in Lembeh all year round. Water temperatures hit a peak of 28-29°C between October and March. Then they fall to their lowest at 25-26°C in July and August, which sometimes coincides with the highest number of creatures. The small critters do not travel far, and it seems that sightings of unusual critters are to do with their reproductive cycles than the seasonal movement of creatures.

The October to December period has the best visibility. In January and February, the water temperature is at its warmest, so there can be lower water clarity.

The most significant rains are in January and February. Rough seas may cause some of the sites at the northern end of Lembeh Strait to be unable to dive, due to them being more exposed. In June, when the south-east monsoon winds begin, to September, the surface of the strait can become a little choppy.

How to Get There

Manado International airport is currently serviced four times per week, (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat) direct from Singapore by Silk Air, the regional carrier of Singapore Airlines. There are also several non-stop flights from Jakarta and a daily service from Bali.

Silk Air from Singapore and Garuda from Jakarta allow international luggage allowances.