Why I like Scuba Diving in Lembongan
I learnt to dive 16 years ago. It all started with a try dive in a swimming pool at an island resort while on holiday. I then returned to New Zealand to do my PADI Open Water course. I spent the next 5 years diving in Wellington harbour, which was a 2 hour drive for some pretty “interesting” shore diving. Wellington harbour is known for its cold waters, surf entries, limited visibility due to the very silty bottom and little fish life. Most people dive there to collect shellfish. This is where I did my divemaster and instructor courses and taught in these conditions before moving to work in the pacific islands.
I have spent the last 9 years teaching diving around South East Asia, from the Pacific Islands to India. Over this time, I have seen many different creatures underwater, some healthy reefs and some unhealthy reefs. I have worked with some great people and worked against some very competitive dive shops. And then I moved to do scuba diving in Lembongan.
The scuba diving in Lembongan was a very nice surprise. After seeing reefs completely bleached by warming waters, reefs dyeing from commercialization and rubbish, it is so nice to see such healthy coral growth while scuba diving in Lembongan.
The diverse colours of the hard and soft corals makes each dive special for me. After learning to dive in a harbour with no reef, I have a great appreciation for the amazing reefs here. This healthy coral brings great reef life. From small creatures like the orang-utan crab to the majestic manta ray, there is something for all types of divers here.
On my first dive at Manta Point, I saw more manta rays in that one dive than I had seen in my 4000+ dives. The ability to almost grantee seeing these underwater creatures is such a special treat for me as a dive guide and as an instructor. It is great to see people’s reactions after seeing the manta rays for the first time.
But this is my job and this is my workplace, so I do also have to say that the logistics here are quite easy. The dive sites are close by, a 20 minute boat ride is a lot nicer then a 2 hour car ride. Yes, there can be strong currents and this does affect my dive planning a bit. But it does not take long to get comfortable diving in these currents and it is great for new dives to experience this.
I would much rather guide a drift dive then having to circle navigates a dive site in very limited visibility. It is very nice just to shoot up an SMB and have the boat come and pick me up rather than making sure that I am in the right place at the right time before surfacing on the dive.
It is also nice to have consistently good visibility, 20 meters is a normal day. For me and the experience I have, I find the diving here very easy, which makes my job easier, which means I have more time to look after my students and explore the reef.
The diving community on the island is also great. The dive shops work together really well and are always there to give a helping hand if need be, as are we. The instructors that are living and working on the island often meet for a beer and a chat about the weeks adventures, what creatures have been spotted and how the diving is going.
I am happy to call Lembongan my home!