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Ambon or Lembeh in Jan


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#1 kun1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:10 AM

Looking for advice on the two destinations above. I have not been to either of these places. I have done muck/critter dives before (Bali, Komodo, Lombok, Mabul, Malapascua etc) most were a few years ago without a camera, so i'm treating it as if i have never done this type of dive before. so, I am looking for the place that's going to offer me the greatest variety of critters, Flamboyant cuttlefish is top of my list.

I have narrowed it down to either Amon or Lembeh but which is going to offer me the greatest variety of critters, i understand they can be seasonal? Going to be there last week of December first week of Jan. I will then be going over to Sipadan.

I can travel to Manado from Singapore to get to Lembeh, so not much of an issue there.

What about Ambon, do i have to spend a night in Jakarta or Bali? Can i get to Ambon in a day?

Edited by kun1, 20 November 2012 - 01:15 AM.


#2 Drew

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:38 AM

JT790 JKT-AMQ has business class. If I'm staying in JKT to see friends, I usually take this flight because of the biz class. Otherwise it's GA640 if connecting in CGK. No biz class but no need to change terminal @CGK. Arrives a bit earlier than Lion Air. Both flights land before 0800 so you can dive the whole day.

Personally I like Lembeh for critters but Ambon area for variety and viz. I've seen more Flambos in Lembeh but more Rhinopia and of course the H. Psychedelica in Ambon. I like Ambon over Bitung and even Manado as a city, especially for souvenir hunting from the other islands. Check out Sister Francesca who help the islanders sell their crafts to tourists as a favor (although I think she's leaving or left already!).
I say do both! Can't tell you which one should be first though. My best single critter dive was in Ambon waaaayyyy back in the early 90s. I spent 8 hours in the water shooting 12 rolls of film. It's not nearly as productive anymore in one area but has diversified out to other areas. It's sad to say but Lembeh is "cleaner" than Ambon, but both can be nasty when the rains hit and wash all the junk into the sea, Ambon is just nastier! Disinfect your sinuses often!

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#3 Luko

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:22 AM

I think I gave you my advice on another forum.
Just some other stuff I can add on Ambon :
- don't count on the Psychedelic frogfish, nobody's seen it since early 2011.
- If you want additional luggage weight with no business class cost better take Garuda flights which accept up to 35kgs for divers (even though Garuda's raised their domestic flight prices this year). Just specify "Menyalam, boleh tiga puluh lima kilo" pointing at your dive bag :) ...

As for the cleanliness of water, it depends on the tides : rising tide Ambon bay is quite clean with sometimes vizibility that Lembeh would never expect. I 've already had 25-30m in Laha. But don't ever dive a strong flowing ebb tide you'll get all the disgusting stuff from the bottom of the bay.

If you've never been to both and you're starting with photography I'd suggest Lembeh at first hand. Easier, denser in terms of critters, Ambon is more of a specialist spot. As for the environment, and except if you stay in your hotel or at Maluku Divers it will be more difficult for you to get understood downtown than in Northern Sulawesi. Be prepared for a little bahasa.

Out of scope : Drew you have to give me your hints on oleh-oleniah hunt from the outer islands in Ambon. Never found anything interesting, I reckon Bandanaira is a much interesting place for that (at least for edible stuff).
Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
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#4 Drew

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:34 AM

Luko, Sister Francesca is famous in Ambon. Catholic dutch nun. I know where the shop is but only from the Ambon harbor or big mall! :) I don't have her number anymore. All the operators know where she is.

FYI the Garuda flight is Rp1.6-3mil (depending on what tix are available) and the Lion Air biz class is Rp3.6mil each way. Both Garuda and Lion will toss bags off if the plan is too heavy but Lion will keep the biz class bags as a priority.

As for viz in Laha, it can also turn solid muck and be a braille dive if the tides and rain are working in collusion.

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