Tucked away in the Northeastern corner of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia is the Lembeh Strait—an amazingly weird place. Sulawesi is located smack in the middle of the Coral Triangle, which is a rich ecosystem with close to 600 unique species of reef building corals and nearly 2000 species of fish. I just returned from the Lembeh Strait where the Lembeh Resort and their resident dive operation, Critters@Lembeh held their annual Capturing Critters at Lembeh Underwater Photo Workshop. This year they asked me to come out to share some seminars on Lightroom and underwater photography. Interestingly, lush and diverse coral reefs were not the big attraction there. Instead, this is a place to get your muck diving on.
As gross as the term muck diving may sound, it’s a term for reef-less sandy bottom, muddy bottom, or “mucky” topography. To the untrained eye, a muck dive is a featureless, colorless landscape, but spend a little time looking around, spend a little time paying attention to the details, and a fascinating world starts to emerge. Small and strange critters start to reveal themselves. I photographed hairy frogfish, mantis shrimp, double-ended pipefish, crocodile fish, and ghost pipe fish while I was there—just to name a few. From my first dive in Lembeh to the last, I was overwhelmed. There wasn’t a dive I returned from where I didn’t feel disappointed. Not because I didn’t see anything. On the contrary, I saw too many things and was sad I had to end my dives. But when your tank gets low, your tank gets low, I guess. There is only one thing to do… plan a trip to go back.
Lembeh Resort: www.lembehresort.com
Critter@Lembeh Dive Center at Lembeh Resort: www.lembehresort.com/dive-center