Diving In Lembeh, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia
I am a big believer that we should go through life smiling, counting our blessings and expressing our gratitude towards life, and towards others with whom we cross paths.
So I go through life smiling, and often life smiles back at me.
Before we left New Zealand, we spent a few days in Auckland.
The highlight of our stay was the dinner we shared with the family who bought our house in the Hokianga.
They prepared a delicious Tongan feast, which tasted fabulous and was very healthy.
We truly enjoyed their conversation and sweet energies as well.
It felt like we were leaving NZ on a high note.
From there, we flew through Australia to Bali and on to Manado, in Northern Sulawesi, a total of about twenty hours in transit.
After a night in Manado, we were picked up for the transfer to Lembeh, which included a long taxi ride and a brief ride in the resort’s small boat.
The resort we booked is a small dive resort.
There is not much to do in Lembeh beside diving.
Every day, we get up early for a 7am breakfast.
Because we go diving right after breakfast, I eat a light breakfast that is easy to digest, a few pieces of fruit sprinkled with seeds and a tiny veg omelet.
At 8 am we go diving.
The boat is small and there is only one other couple staying at the resort beside us, plus the manager of another resort, who is taking his vacation in Lembeh.
We dive the first dive at a different location every morning.
I have a lovely local young woman who is my dive buddy and guide.
She ties a yellow rubber duck to her air tank, so I can recognize her underwater among other divers.
We dive for about an hour.
After the dive, we rest on the boat for an hour and share what we saw, or eat some snacks.
I do not eat so I will not get seasick.
I drink only water.
After an hour of rest, we do the second dive in a new location along Lembeh Straits.
After the boat returns us to the small but exclusive resort, we eat lunch at a communal table, along with the other guests and the people who run the resort, a man from France and his beautiful girlfriend from Malaysia.
After lunch, instead of opting for another dive, Jules and I go for massage treatments.
The price of a massage here is similar to those in Thailand, about $20 per person for an hour.
At these prices, I feel comfortable getting a daily massage.
Five days’ worth of massages will cost us what a one hour massage costs in a spa back home.
To get to the massage spa, we have to hike over the cliffs and down many sets of stairs to the next resort, which is a bigger facility.
Our spacious wooden cabin overlooks the water.
Ours is an exclusive dive resort, but it is not pricy considering that we get two dives per day, all our meals and endless mineral water and tea.
Our cabin has a strong AC and a large bathroom.
It is situated on a steep hill and every day we climb up and down many sets of stairs, to go diving, to eat and to rest in our cabin.
Before walking our pilgrimage, I am glad that we have a chance to relearn to love climbing…..
It is a good preparation for things to come…
All the meals are freshly made and each morning we place our choices for lunch and dinner.
The food is a mixture of Indonesian food with European sensibilities, meaning that we get an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, not the usual collection of small dishes and salads that are eaten by locals.
It is quiet and calm here.
From our wooden patio, we look at the nearby volcano and at the tiny hummingbirds who come to drink the nectar of the tropical flowers, and we are lulled by the waves of the sea.
Now…. about the diving, which is why people come here.
Most of the Lembeh straits offer “muck diving.”.
The volcano here has erupted many times, and the sand of the sea is black ash mixed with broken coral.
In this ‘muck’ a lot of tiny creatures live.
There is not a lot of colorful coral in Lembeh, although there is a bit here and there.
I have asked to be taken to the coral, because when I dive, I do not just look to spot an interesting fish, shrimp or crab here and there. I look at the landscape underwater like an artist, a painter who is looking to create artwork in my studio later on.
Some of the coral looks like it is teeming with life and is very active in the water.
It will make great abstract paintings with contrasting colors and textures.
By the end of the day we are tired.
Dinner is a communal affair in which our little group of people of many nationalities share thoughts and travel tips on the good nights, and gently banter over politics and world views on the bad nights.
Now that we are feeling more free to wander and roam, I sit and look at the sea and feel so grateful….
This week we are in Lembeh, next week we are in Bunaken….
Thank you for all the love, for all the blessings, for all the beauty on the earth and under the sea….
With lots of love,
I will be sharing photos from my dives in Sulawesi, Indonesia in the next few posts.
I took all these photos with my tiny Olympus tough camera which goes underwater up to fifty feet.
It is the first time I am using this camera and I think I found a new thing I like doing…. underwater diving photography.