Diving the Lembeh Strait is something that all divers should try at least. These black sand bays and coral outcrops hold an outstanding amount of marine life. Especially if you are an underwater photographer, the Lembeh Strait should be on your “must visit list”. Likely multiple times!

Divers visiting Lembeh are likely to see a vast list of must-see critters. Frogfish, Rhinopias, a huge array of Nudibranchs and Octopus, the Blue-Ringed Octopus and Mimic Octopus, being a highlight. Lembeh is not just muck diving though! We explore all over the island and beyond to find some of the best reef diving in South East Asia.


The Lembeh Strait is also famous for people carrying pointing sticks, pokey sticks, Lembeh sticks or whatever else you want to call them. In the right hands these are invaluable tools. Trained guides will coax unusual critters out of their hiding place for the divers to take photographs. It is imperative that the animals are put back to where they came from to avoid stress (and the running off). Animals that have been stressed will move, so it is difficult to find them again on your next dive! And people often want to revisit a site to get better pictures. Whichever operator you dive with and in any muck dive environment, please remind the guides to ensure the critters are well looked after!


Photographic etiquette is also an important thing on muck dives. Often first timers are so over-whelmed that they end up taking 200 photos on a single dive. A better way would be to take less photos, but better quality ones. During your stay and if you feel you are ‘machine gunning’ the critters with your flash, please feel free to ask some of the staff/ management for advise on how to get some better shots. Excessive flashing has not been proven to kill critters, but it certainly cannot do them any good. With up to 9 boats a day hitting some of the Lembeh dive sites, for sure the fish get a headache! So remember: Stop, Look, Think, Shoot! No one needs 10+ photos of the same frogfish in the same position using the same settings 🙂


We’ve put together a little video with helpful tips and tricks to make diving in Lembeh even more enjoyable and fun for everyone!


  • Black sand/ silt is very annoying for photography when it has been stirred up. So try to keep a head down, fins up position when moving around between the critters. Also, if you rest on the sand to shoot a photograph, please use your buoyancy to get yourself back up into the water column (breathing/ inflating BCD a little), rather than kicking.
  • Be nice to your buddies! If someone is taking a photo and you want to take a look, by all means go ahead. But don’t swim over the top and kick sand onto the subject (it sounds silly but you’d be suprised how often it happens!)
  • Photographic etiquette also includes sharing the critters found by your guides. If you think you want to spend a long time with a subject, maybe take a few snaps so you have a record of the critter. Then let everyone else take some pictures, and return to finish off your set. This can be difficult if the animal is at depth! Feel free to discuss your requirements with the management or your guide in order to get the best experience you can.
  • A grey area – what if you found the critter and not your guide? Finder’s keepers? We’ll leave that one for you to discuss on the boat with your fellow divers!
  • There have been occasions when guides from another boat have been a bit naughty. They encouraged a diver to leave his current critter and catch up with the rest of his group. We do not believe in this practise and encourage you to hold your ground until you are finished (without hogging of course!). If you are reading this and are thinking “Hey, a guide from NAD did that to me!”, then please contact us.
  • Non-photographers like to see things too! Please give non-photographers some time with the critters before taking photos. They have a short attention span and swim off to the next critter quite quickly. Non-photographers are the strangest critters in Lembeh, they just swim around and enjoy watching the fish…
  • Lembeh has some beautiful coral formations and algae/ marine plants. Please encourage your guides to behave responsibly round them. Also mind your fins when in these areas. Even boring algae serves a purpose on the top of the sand, it’s a place for newly settled frogfish to hide!
  • DO NOT use gloves! This is a company rule at NAD. Divers wearing gloves are a lot less careful about touching – whether it’s the sand, corals or even critters. Remember that Scorpionfish and other venomous marine life can even sting through the glove! So better: gloves off, no touching at all.

Diving and underwater photography is a really great way to meet new friends. These points above are not rules, just recommendations to help you get the best out of your holiday, both socially and photographically.


Lembeh Strait Dive Sites