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Lembeh - are we doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Indonesia' started by diveUAE, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. bintang_shrimp

    bintang_shrimp Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas, USA
    I think you mis-read my original reply, it definitely sounds like a lapse in professionalism. Not necessarily the guide is good or bad at spotting, but the issue needs to be addressed.

    I've never had a non-local guide in Lembeh, unless one of the dive managers was leading it on very rare occasions. I can't imagine they would even want to pay some westerner, the locals work for a lot less ....sadly for them. What else do they have that's so much better assuming all else is equal and guides are local?

    I guess only way to test this is a test of going out on same days with two different shops and comparing notes, otherwise your success rate could have been a factor of weather, animals not being there, one bad day for whatever guide, etc..
    I may go there next year and do 50/50 trial myself for a week and hop from one shop to another to see how it compares. In the end, I'm not a pro photographer and don't sell photos, nor am I a rich kid. UW photo community can become a pissing contest of bagging the most critters and I'm not into that. As long as I see 90% of what is possible to see and get some interesting animal behavior shots, I'll be happy. I can spend the difference on extra dives.

    Btw, I don't spend anything getting there, I have a ton of airline miles from work travel and it's basically free tickets. :wink: Just need time off, so I'm very cost conscious and wouldn't want to spend extra unless NAD guides consistently outperform others in same conditions/dive sites.
  2. chris kippax

    chris kippax Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Australia
    If I could choose only one person in this thread to take advice from it would be luko!
    tursiops, Wingy, paolobl65 and 4 others like this.
  3. diveUAE

    diveUAE Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    Ok, so an update:
    I went to the manager and spoke with her. She was chocked the guide brought his camera as she had already told him not to! So .... she had a talk with him, and our first dive this morning was amazing:)

    So much to see including: decorator crab, finger dragonix (at least that’s what the guide wrote on his slate), harlekin shrimp (yay, so great) skeleton crab (very, very tiny) and best of all: blue ring octopus- that I found (yes I’m still high from finding that one LOL).

    Second dive at “Police Pier” was ok I saw my first peacock mantis shrimp and there were some nice nudies (sorry, not so good with the names) + a nice posing octopus.

    Guide certainly upped his game and was also way better at ensuring everyone saw, what he found.

    At our second dive we also saw NAD divers, and I don’t think they found more, than our guide did.

    Tomorrow we’re going to “Hair ball”, our co-divers were already there and say it’s great.

    Our friends are staying at Lembeh resort and we’ll meet up this afternoon so I’m looking forward to hearing, what they’ve seen.

    BTW: we’re staying/diving with Bastianos. Boat and crew is great.

    Regarding leaving our LOB: it had technical problems and we had a very bad smell of sewage in our cabin:-( Add to that: bad weather so not possible to sail at night= 12 dives in 6 days and we were looking at a 15 h sail for day 7 (after maybe 1 dive). So we decided to leave the boat and I only had very slow internet to find us a place in to go. In hindsight we should have gone to Bangka, but then I would have never gotten to Lembeh.

    Bonus info: the road from Gorontalo to Bitung is quite ok - “only” too us 10 hours by night.
    nudisusie, Wingy, Lorenzoid and 3 others like this.
  4. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    @diveUAE i am so glad you were your own advocate and that things turned around for you!

    I am so sorry about the liveaboard. Where was the boat sailing to/from (itinerary) and what boat was it? Will they give you any partial refund?
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    I was told that some dm will hide the Harlequin shrimp in a secret place and fed them with the limb of a sea-star. No sure if it is BS.
  6. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland

    They aren’t that uncommon. I know guides have been caught doing this with some super rare critters, but never heard of it with harlequin shrimp o_O
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    I wish you had gone to Bastianos Bangka too because I want an honest review of that place, lol.

    Do you mind to tell me the name of your Lembeh guide? Feel free to pm me.
  8. bintang_shrimp

    bintang_shrimp Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas, USA
    @diveUAE thank you for the update! I had a friend dive with them last year and said they were good, so hopefully it was just a one off mistake. Nice to see they respond to criticism quickly.

    I hear rumors of this A LOT, not specific to Lembeh but in other muck diving areas. Harlequin shrimp are fairly rare and high on the request list that guides would be motivated to "spot" them consistently to keep high dollar customers happy.

    One particular egregious example of this is a rumor that some guides in Ambon keep psychedelic frogfish in semi-captivity somewhere and feed them. Supposedly divers were never allowed to see the fish until the guide had a chance to go to "find" them well in advance of the groups arrival, and also stayed behind until everyone left. This is 2nd hand info from someone I met who went diving out there, but I wouldn't be shocked if this were true.
    outofofficebrb and Wingy like this.
  9. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    @WetPup was telling me about this the other day and it happening in Ambon. They would find then hide and move them. o_O
  10. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    ...... Some photographers have a lot to answer for....so I heard.
    Centrals and chillyinCanada like this.

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