Blackwater Dives are all about the weird and wonderful. Strange larval fish that you haven’t seen before, little crustaceans seemingly just floating around, and hunting squids are all part of the regular sightings we get here in Lembeh. One critter that is not so common but just as strange and interesting is the paper nautilus, also called the argonaut!

Paper Nautilus
Paper Nautilus

The Paper Nautilus (Argonauta spp.) is a pelagic species of octopus which means that it spends its entire life living in the open ocean. Quite a few other species drift around in the open water when the are juvenile, but when they start to reach adulthood they will settle and live on the ocean floor. Paper nautilus however will never do this, and will sustain by feeding on crustaceans and other small marine life floating through the water.

They paper nautilus exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism in both size and life span. The males are lucky to grow over 2 cm in size and are only able to reproduce once in their short life span. The female however can lay eggs multiple times, and reach a size up to 10 cm and produce shells up to 30 cm in size! This is also where the common name “paper” nautilus comes from, the paper thin shell that the female produces. This shell has 2 known purposes, one for buoyancy and one for reproduction. The females will use the shell as a flotation device, in a way to conserve energy. She will go up to the surface and capture a bubble of air in the shell, which will be used to find neutral buoyancy in the water and this way she can just happily bob along!

Male Paper Nautilus

The other purpose of the shell is to act as an eggcase. During mating, the male will insert and release his hectocotylus, which is an arm containing sperm, into the female and leave it there. Since the paper nautilus is a pelagic species, there is nowhere to lay the eggs safely. So instead the female then produces her shell, lays the eggs inside, and she will then reside in the shell herself with her head and arms protruding out of the opening. This way both eggs and the female are safe!

Sometimes we see either male of female argonauts hitching a ride on jellyfish, salps or seaweed. It is a good way for them to conserve energy and get a little extra protection from predators lurking in the dark. However, argonauts can swim incredibly fast, as you might have noticed if you’ve ever seen one. They use jet propulsion and can disappear right in front of you! The paper nautilus is a fascinating little critter, and one we are hoping of seeing many more of. It is definitely something you should put on your Blackwater wishlist!

Female Paper Nautilus

Why Dive With NAD-Lembeh Resort?


NAD-Lembeh Resort is a small, owner-operated, photography-oriented dive resort in the Lembeh Strait. We are situated in a private bay on Lembeh Island, away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. We guarantee a 2:1 guest to guide ratio as standard, which makes for a private dive experience and lots of time to take pictures.


All our rooms (10 Beachfront Rooms, 5 Seaview Bungalows) offer ocean view, air conditioning, hot water, wifi, including full board. Our resort has only few steps, which makes our layout extremely convenient to get from your room to the restaurant, camera room, bar and floating jetty.


Our dive team consists of 15 full-time guides, with over 100 years of combined experience! Air as well as Nitrox and various cylinder sizes (both DIN and Yoke are available onsite).


NAD-Lembeh has 4 large, purpose-built dive boats. Each at around 15m long, they offer lots of space and comfort for the divers. Boats feature onboard toilets, towels, drinks and snacks and first aid/ oxygen.

Our jetty allows our guests dignified and quick boat entries – all our dive boats can be moored simultaneously, so there is no wading through the shallows to get on the boat for the dive!


Our focus at NAD is to take your underwater photography to the next level. We offer 1:1 photo classes and our guides are all proficient with photography, using our rental equipment for fun dives when not diving with guests.

We shoot video up to 8K, along with Nikon/ Canon SLR and mirrorless setups. This gives us a rounded knowledge of all cameras. We are also the go-to location for natural history filming in the Straits.


Our newly renovated, huge camera room offers one work space for each and every guest. The spacious, individual benches with lots of power points were purposely built for underwater photographers. NAD’s dedicated camera room is also the perfect place to work on and edit your pictures.

Several rental cameras and strobes are available onsite. We have basic tools and spare parts in our gift shop in case of minor camera problems as well as a drying cabinet, and computer for you to work on and edit your photos.