Lembeh is most probably simply the best place in the world for macro photography! Lembeh plays host to a cornucopia of weird and wonderful creatures to be found here and here alone. The island creates a calm channel, protected from both the north-east and south-west monsoon. Prevailing currents are also concentrated by the strait, bringing a rich supply of plankton, causing the visibility to range around 10-15 metres.
The more you go to the North and out of the bay the dive sites gradually change into more Coral reef and wall diving sites with better overall visibility.
Around the island there are some small but beautiful Coral reefs and at the Northern tip at Batu Kapal, the currents attract large fish like Mackerels and Sharks. There are also four beautiful covered wrecks, two of them large and all within limits for recreational diving. Unfortunately, since this area is not a national marine park, the wrecks are still being plundered for metal scrap.
Water temperatures are generally rather cold for the tropics ranging between 24-27°C. Almost all of the dive sites are in the depth range of 3-25 metres, so combined with the temperatures: 5mm full suites!
You can dive in Lembeh all year but the conditions do vary. January to June is variable (but still fine) conditions and less divers. August has the poorest visibility but the richest numbers of critters. September to October are probably the best two months overall.
The busy port of Bitung, the main shipping harbour for North Sulawesi, seems an unlikely choice for diving. Yet just north of the port, in the strait formed by Lembeh island, is some of the most unusual diving anywhere in the world.
Do not expect spectacular walls, huge reefs or white sandy beaches; here it's all about 'muck diving'. Black volcanic sand and rubble is the domain for a whole array of rare and unusual sea creatures; Seahorses (at least 7 different species including the Pygmy), Mandarin fishes, Sea Spiders, Stargazers, shrimps like the Harlequin and Skeleton Shrimp, the Pegasus, the Hairy Frogfish, the Mimic Octopus, Ghost Pipefish and so on...
The last 10 years Lembeh has seen an enormous increase in dive operators and quality accommodation on both the island and the main land. But diving here can also be done through day trips from Manado; it's approximately a 1½hour drive from the bay of Manado to Bitung. The dive boat will be stand-by to take you directly to the dive sites. Or the strait can be done as part of a live-aboard cruise, covering the North of Sulawesi and its surrounding islands.