Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Maldives or Lembeh?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Bombsight

Bombsight

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South East Texas
  • Interests:Trying to make the world look perfect

Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:25 PM

Looking to go to either Lembeh or the Maldives.

Can the Wetpixel forum help me decide?

If anyone who has been to both or either of the two, please fill me in on the scenario & which one would be best for whatever.

I hear Lembeh has cold murky water & the Maldives reefs are badly bleeched. Have read bad reports about the dive operators in the Maldives also.

My wife & I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary & one of these spots will be host.

I'm a photographer & she is only OW certified.

I've never been west of Hawaii so thanks for any & all info.

#2 Longimanus1975

Longimanus1975

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 162 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Uk

Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:32 PM

Not been to Lembeh, but have done a liveaboard in the Maldives.

I found the diving in the Maldives great, more fish orientated than corals, lots of schooling fish, sharks, rays and then the obvious mantas and whalesharks.

When I visited the water was very flat, but once under the water the currents were quite strong and if you do go I recommend a reef hook so you can hook into the reef and hang there.

I didn't see any bleached corals, but that is probably due to dive guides taking us to the better places.

I would say it could be quite challenging for a new open water diver just due to the currents

#3 eyu

eyu

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 740 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wilmington, DE

Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:49 PM

I would suggest neither. A new open water certified diver who does not take photos would get bored at Lembeh Straits since the critters are small to very small and for the most part just a sandy bottom. The water at Lembeh is 80ish and I would not say it is very murky. As Longimanus pointed out Maldives has current that would a bit much for a new diver.

You should look into places with beautiful hard and soft coral with more than just macro critters without big currents. Sipadan comes to mind and another is Palau. Palau has some current at the Blue Corner, but otherwise it is gentle.

Nikon D800E, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#4 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10647 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:57 PM

I'd concur and suggest you forget Lembeh. Just north of Lembeh in Bunaken, are a few island resorts which have good sites close to the resorts and also close by is the national park. A bit of on land adventure as well.
The Maldives is a good destination for honeymooners etc. Just choose the right resort so the dive sites aren't too far. As been said, it's fishy and full of life. There are resorts that are luxurious and have wonderful spas etc but it's basically lazing around on an island for the duration.
Have fun.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#5 pooley

pooley

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 100 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:england

Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:30 AM

Been to the Maldives twice, each time to Kuredu island. Yes there are sites with strong currents but there are also plenty if very easy dives. For example Kuredu has the house reef which can be dived independently with virtually no current, the caves site at the back of the island is teeming with turtles, again usually all but no current.

Feeling a bit braver, try the Kuredu express or fushivaru thila for mantas in the right season.

Just bear in mind that you'll be island based and if you choose a smaller island not much else other than beaches and water.

#6 bvanant

bvanant

    Giant Squid

  • Team Wetpixel
  • 1581 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles (more or less)
  • Interests:Science, photography, travel

Posted 07 July 2012 - 12:21 PM

We have been to both and to much of the rest of the South Pacific as well. For a land based trip, particularly for a honeymoon based one I would probably choose Bali. Spend some time diving in the North (easy, warm water) and yet have great choices for food and other romantic options. If a liveaboard is your option, I would recommend something like the Bilikiki in the Solomons. Great boat, fantastic diving, warm clear water, good variety and nice people. Our Maldives experience was quite poor (no big stuff at all, big currents etc) so I can not recommend it.

Bill

Bill
Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.
www.blueviews.net


#7 chavala

chavala

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 66 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:TX

Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:09 AM

i agree a non photographer would be bored to tears in lembeh. but i think the maldives is ideal for an anniversary trip. i stayed at bandos many years ago when i had under 50 dives and i felt very comfortable. the took the newbies to the easy sites. my husband and i are going back next month for our first anniversary and doing it right this time; a week on the aggressor and a week in an overwater villa at the new hyatt. i cant imagine a more perfect trip.

#8 Bombsight

Bombsight

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South East Texas
  • Interests:Trying to make the world look perfect

Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:56 AM

I'm confused more than ever now but, anyway ....

Found out recently that the Maldives is out of the question. Long story.

Looks like Lembeh is our only option.

We're staying @ The Lembeh Resort.

Could somebody who has been there give me the full scoop on things .... including alternate excursions?
I can be happy with just muck diving and shooting things around the resort, .... but my wife, she would like to do something besides watch my z240's create backscatter. lol

Best time of year? Water Temps, clarity? Any wide angle opps? How are the guides?
Volcano tour-worth it? Sunsets, .... should I bring any topside gear (i.e. pano, gnd,)?
Flight time from Houston, Texas?
Do's & Dont's?

Thanks for all of the opinions so far. :)

#9 Oceanshutter

Oceanshutter

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 387 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:02 PM

The real stars of lembeh are the critters underwater. Although the little monkey tours I heard are fun. After being there in April, and talking to the guides it seems that October/November are the most critter times of the year. So if I were to go again, it would be then.

I have heard the temps can get lower in August......but I don't have experience with that time of year. Visibility when we were there, was probably 50 feet. This isn't really a place for the crystal clear water. Wide angle ops.... You can go up to the north sites..(California dreaming)....and get some decent wide angle, but again, people typically go to lembeh for the small stuff. As this will give you the best photo ops.

Being your anniversary, the spa at lembeh resort will be very nice for you. Congrats. My wife and I will be celebrating our tenth leaving for Komodo this week.

The flight is a long haul. We went, slc>sea>nrt>sin>mdc. About 23 hours of flight time. We did a layover in Singapore and booked a room at the transit hotel in Singapore. That is the way to do it....really nice and clean and you don't have to leaving immigration. Then take a silk air flight to mdc. From Houston, you probably have options to get to Singapore with united/continental. Then do the silk air flight. Also, Singapore air might have a flight from Houston, you would want to check on that. That could be easy for you.

Hope this helps.

Dustin


Website - www.OceanShutter.com

My Video's on Vimeo

My Video's on Youtube

 


#10 chavala

chavala

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 66 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:TX

Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:09 PM

Lembeh Resort is absolutely beautiful, but you have to know there is NOTHING to do around the resort except diving. There is a very small spa and yes, there is an excursion to go see those big-eyed monkeys (Tasiers?), but you can't even walk to anything -- it's surrounded by jungle. There is a nice pool but no beach. It seems to me if you want to make it to year eleven (wink), you should find someplace with more activities for your wife. Bali would be IDEAL. Beaches, shopping galore, temples...and fantastic diving, muck and all.
Or if you want a more secluded romantic resort, how about Wakatobi? At least there is a beach, and you can do shore diving or snorkeling with your wife.
Best way to Manado, Bali, the Maldives or anywhere in that part of the world from IAH is with United via NRT to Bangkok or Singapore, then connect thru there. (there is no more Continental)
Are you using an agent? You may want to give Reef and Rainforest a call. The can answer all your questions and probably come up with something perfect.

#11 eyu

eyu

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 740 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wilmington, DE

Posted 08 July 2012 - 03:26 PM

At Lembeh there is not much to do topside besides the monkey tour. There are no white sandy beaches or quaint towns. You are at a dive spot in the middle of the jungle. Lembeh is not an anniversary spot unless your wife does photos or video and likes small critters in muck.

Check out places like Bali with great topside attractions, Sipadan and look at Sipadan Water Village.

Edited by eyu, 08 July 2012 - 03:43 PM.

Nikon D800E, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#12 operam

operam

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NJ, USA

Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:35 PM

Singapore Airlines also does Houston-Singapore via Moscow five days a week. Don't know how the flight times compare with United, but based on service, I would choose Singapore Airlines over United. From Singapore take Silk Air to Manado. FWIW, Silk Air is affiliated with Singapore Airlines, so might make the booking easier if you use Singapore Airlines and Silk Air.

Edited by operam, 09 July 2012 - 12:38 PM.

Nikon D7000 in Aquatica AD-7000 housing | 2x Inon Z-240 with 4600K diffuser | Tokina 10-17mm | Nikon AF-D 60mm | Nikon 105mm VR | Kenko 1.4TC | Aquatica 6" dome | Aquatica AF/MF macro port | Aquatica +5 and +10 diopters

#13 jlyle

jlyle

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 415 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hermosa Beach, CA

Posted 09 July 2012 - 03:22 PM

EVA Airlines through Taipei would be my choice going to Singapore on the way to Lembeh. Make sure you check your luggage all the way to Manado so you don't have to pick it up in SIN. The transit hotel is an excellent option if your connections are long.

See my trip report: http://diver.net/bbs...002/75277.shtml

From an earlier trip: http://diver.net/bbs...002/72865.shtml

FWIW, I've been to both the Maldives and Indonesia. I enjoyed both.
Olmpus OM-D EM-5 in a Nauticam housing with dual Sea and Sea YS D1 strobes
8mm, 12-50mm, 45mm lenses
My web page.

#14 liquidguru

liquidguru

    Eagle Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 327 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Baguala Bay, Ambon
  • Interests:Staying Alive....

Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:18 PM

We have many divers who come to our resort in Lembeh without cameras. They have a wonderful time. Why does seeing seahorses, mimic octopus, wonderpus, ambon scorpionfish, etc etc....even things like tiger shrimp and many of the crustaceans are easily viable with the naked eye...why can they only be enjoyed when using a camera? Lembeh is not some elitist scary camera-pro only destination, it's great diving and we get many newly qualified divers here. Ok, so the vis is so-so, but if it wasn't, you wouldn't get all the critters!! They need the nutrition in the water to feed on. Our coral sites are fantastic (thanks to all the nutrition in the water). There is something for everyone.

We also get many divers coming with non-diving partners (we have two couples with us right now where just the men are diving). It's a beautiful quiet place. We have an enormous private bay which you can snorkel and dive with tons of coral and fish, lovely spa, great pool. No complaints from any of our guests, whether they have cameras. no cameras or not diving Posted Image

Edited by liquidguru, 09 July 2012 - 10:33 PM.

Sony XR500 - LMI Stingray+ G2 - 2x LMI Sola 4000 LEDs
Liquidguru's Website
My weekly Blog from Ambon, Indonesia


 DIA_sig_new.png


#15 Bombsight

Bombsight

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South East Texas
  • Interests:Trying to make the world look perfect

Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:43 AM

Thanks for all of the info. everyone! It will all be very helpful.

I won this trip to Lembeh. So, I guess we kinda got a trip for two @ 1/2 price.

Next year we will most likely book a trip to Bali for our "real" 10th anniversary (July 3rd). We are actually only in our 9th year of beating each other up. lol

Until then, seeing the rest of the world cant be all that bad. :)

#16 Luko

Luko

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:10 PM

Lembeh Resort is a very nice place, the manager team Helen and Gizmo are wonderful hosts. My non diving wife didn't get bored an hour there even though there's little to do.
May I suggest that you also look at Gangga island resort which is only 1,5 hrs boat ride, it would be ideal for a honeymoon. The place has a nice beach, a pool, a spa, gorgeous bungalows, italian management, great food and fantastic diving around including coral dives. You could probably cut your stay in half Lembeh resort/ half Gangga.
As for the period of stay I would either favor april-may or september-october.
Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#17 helengomez

helengomez

    Brine Shrimp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:54 PM

Hi,

I would agree with Liquid Guru - you do not have to be a avid photographer or videography with tons of experience to enjoy Lembeh! I am a non-photographer who lives here and loves the diving.

I have had many newer divers come here and they have also loved it - being able to give them a good mix of the diving that Lembeh has to offer - muck dives, coral dives, wrecks and we can even do trips to Bangka or the South of Lembeh to give them something a little different.

Topside there are land tours, cooking classes and spa. I am sure that you and your wife will be fine (if you are not beating each other up Posted Image ) Enjoying the sunsets is lovely especially with a cool drink! If you would like more information on the 'land based' activities then contact the resort directly and they will be able to help.

Re Flights - I would look at Houston-Moscow-Singapore-Manado with Singapore Air this is definitely the best option for you!

Edited by helengomez, 11 July 2012 - 05:55 PM.


#18 UnderDC

UnderDC

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:33 AM

My wife is a non-photographer diver. Our most recent trips have been to Raja and Komodo. I was shocked when she asked if we could go back to Lembeh.

Muck diving can be very addictive. Often on the liveaboard boats the divers don't understand muck so it's hard to convince the operators to spend much time at the muck sites. For us, muck diving is like a treasure hunt. My wife seaches for critters and then I photograph them. She will also mark the spots where the guides have found something so that I can take my time without worrying about missing a good find. Over the years, our teamwork and relationship have improved from our combined effort to find an photograph unusual creatures.

I think you will have a great time in Lembeh but it is definetely a vacation that is focused on diving. Durring the first two weeks we spent in Lembeh, I saw something I had never seen before on every single dive!

I would suggest that you add a week in Bunaken to the trip. The diving is beautiful and once you have incurred the cost and time to get to Lembeh, it's worth it to spend some time in the surrounding area.

#19 randapex

randapex

    Tiger Shark

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lynnwood, Washington USA

Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:21 PM

Lembeh is a great destination. It's, as mentioned, critter diving but there's plenty there, more so really than most dive destinations. I've been several times and will be back in September. Since it is your anniversary, I'd suggest routing through Bali. Spend some time there relax, catch up on sleep, wait for your luggage....lol, then catch a flight to Menado. I've gotten fairly decent rates from Lion air to Menado. As I recall, the airfare was about 1/2 of Silk air via Sing. I route on Cathay Pacific. Sea-Lax-Hkg-Dps.
Rand McMeins
Nikon D2X. Subal ND2. 2 Inon Z220S

Greenwaterimages

#20 fforbes

fforbes

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Los Angeles area
  • Interests:diving warm and cold, photography, golf, travel of every kind

Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:24 PM

We went to Lembeh with 2 non-photog friends and they had a fantastic time. At first they stuck close to the guide, who pointed everything out to them, then they started treasure hunting themselves. One thing that made difference for them was that they each had a good light. If your wife doesn't have a comfortable light for seeing the critters, you may want to give her an extra anniv gift.

Don't worry, if she likes diving, she'll love Lembeh.
Fletcher

fletcherforbes.com
Nikon D800, Subal, Sea&Sea D1's