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Lembeh - are we doing it wrong?

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

  1. Wisnu

    Wisnu Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Katameya Heights, New Cairo
    Wingy likes this.
  2. Darnold9999

    Darnold9999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    Have to say that the time I saw the psychedelic frog fish I was a bit suspicious as they seemed to appear about half way through the dive in an area that we had all been swimming through at the beginning of the dive. My suspicion at the time was that they were there but hidden under rocks that needed to be moved.

    Glad it is working out and congrats on finding your own blue ring!
  3. reubencahn

    reubencahn SoCal DIR

    The last time we were in Ambon, we were told guides from one resort had moved a psychedelic frogfish and was keeping it hidden from other divers using other operations. I was skeptical but ran into a diver staying at the resort who more or less confirmed this.
    Wingy likes this.
  4. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    I concur. Although sometimes I may not agree with "best time" as I am not a photographer so our needs are slightly different but he does know a destination or two.

    How many resorts are at Lembeh now...and Bangka :( ...I once had it all to myself!

    We're going to see more guides and ops condoning this sort of behaviour because.....we demand it. We turn up there with a neat list and expect it filled...that's what we spent all that money and flew all that way for wasn't it?

    I totally agree any guide having a camera is not on...but today's dive and no doubt a good talking to from the boss have made him lift his game because $ talk and just over 24 hours ago OP was prepared to decamp elsewhere. Guides are going to be pressured to deliver the wish list more than ever the more divers turn up. Word of mouth counts for a lot, net posts that are negative even more. I'm sure they are aware of this thread and have rectified the situation the best they can, OP sounds much happier so alls good for now.

    Cheap domestic flights have given the critters of Lembeh a whole new threat. Guides will manipulate animals for photographers more. Everyone has a go pro and a selfie stick....sorry sarcasm. It's actually not so much a problem that can be headed off by dive operators, it's divers who have to drive this change and stop it.
  5. dirtfarmer

    dirtfarmer Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northern California
    It's done in Tulamben. I've never seen it done in Lembeh, my guides have always had to go try and find one. The ones in Lembeh I've seen are on the small and duller color, the ones in Tulamben tend to be bigger and brighter.
  6. bintang_shrimp

    bintang_shrimp Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas, USA
    This is just sad. I'm sure when there's enough pressure from pushy photo-obsessed clients the guides feel pressured into this. Fortunately Lembeh is critter-rich enough that there's enough good stuff to see.
    Wingy likes this.
  7. Indah

    Indah Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Weda, Lembeh and Rao Morotai
    Luko, what did we ever do to upset you? I think we should absolutely be in the list of reputable dive resorts. :(
    Mike Veitch likes this.
  8. Luko

    Luko Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Paris, France
    In my 10+ times in Tulamben I've never seen that , should be really low end guides doing this : like Wetpup mentions, Harlequins are really easy to find. Except for juveniles I tend to overlook them for more interesting or rarer species. Melasti/Amed although a bit further than Tulamben sites, you can get as much as 6 couples of Harleys within one dive in august season.
    On the other hand I've had first hand reports concerning some guides in Anilao, although not with the same shrimp species.

    On the contrary of what some other mytho "nitwit" (sic) might think, serious photographers try to discourage this kind of bad habits that are mostly encouraged by newbies or "people carrying cameras" (not what I call "photographers" the ones doing images, but more the profile of divers clicking their way on anything). After the nature concerned photographers complained about some obviously scened images a few years ago (mostly asian photogs were targeted), the important UWphotography contests have rules that prohibit moving/herding animals or taking them out of their natural evironment, so this is counter productive.
    The guides I'm using are as much concerned as well, knowing that they should not be messing with their bread and butter, whenever I stumble over a "manipulator", I make things clear asking to stop it during the dive and explaining after the dive that i don't want animals to be touched.

    Not pretending you are not. "...such as..." doesn't mean the list is closed. You neither belong to too big/too expensive nor to the new kids in the block, don't you.
    paolobl65 and chillyinCanada like this.
  9. matador

    matador Nassau Grouper

    I confirm I have seen a DM "hiding" a harlequin shrimp and feeding it with a sea star limp ...
    here is the evidence:


    As an aside, I have dived with 2Fish in the past and the guide (not DM) was awful; he even forgot to replace his tank for the second dive once and had to resurface ... and that wasn't the worst part. Next time I will pay more to go to NAD or anywhere else for that matter.
    dirtfarmer likes this.
  10. cetacean

    cetacean Angel Fish

    Interesting thread (both the original post and the tangent).

    With over 150 dives in Lembeh I find it hard to believe anyone would actually claim they can spot the hard to find critters as well as some of the better (or even average) guides in the area. The first time I dove Lembeh was back when KBR was the only dive resort there. The guides they employed back then were amazing - both in their spotting and knowledge. Since then the number of resorts have ballooned as has the variability of the quality of the guides. Personally, the best guides at Lembeh Resort are some of the best I've experienced. Several of you have commented on the price - I've made a number of trips to Indonesia (from the west coast of the US) just to dive Lembeh - having a little bit of comfort (and some better food) is a small incremental price given the distance traveled, cost of travel, etc. The quality of their guides is also consistently high.

    When I first read the post I was going to comment that Lembeh has changed over the years. Anyone that has been there in the last 5-6 years and thinks it's "critter rich" should have been there 17-18 years ago. Nudi Falls really did have a huge number of nudis - a few of which you could see falling through the water column off the rock wall. It's still really good - just not the same as it once was (which is true for many unique diving locations around the world).

    Side note: for any of you that have seen the National Geographic issue that focused on nudibranchs (shot by David Doubilet leveraging a white surface/background to highlight these amazing creatures) - a number of the nudis shot were from his dives at Nudi Falls, and several others around Lembeh. We were both staying at KBR at the time - fascinating to talk to the Nat Geo team about how they were getting these images.

    Fully agree on the issue of a guide bringing a camera on a dive - that's a huge sign that they have the wrong priorities going into the dive.

    Last - to the comment that Anilao is more expensive - I'm assuming most people know this, however Anilao is only expensive for small numbers of divers (singles, pairs, etc.) because you end up renting the whole boat. If you are willing to dive the same sites as 2 other pairs of divers you can split the cost and the diving gets much cheaper. I actually prefer this to Lembeh's set up because for a few more $ I can guarantee be on a site with just our guide and my buddy (depending on the site).

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