23 September – 4 October 2009

As much as we appreciate the diversity of creatures crawling about Lembeh Strait, we appreciated more our guides who led us to them.

Ronald giving a dive brief. All guides ended each brief with "thank you for your attention, have a good dive!"

Ronald giving a dive brief. All guides ended each brief with “thank you for your attention, enjoy your dive!” And we did! Every dive!

Visiting divers will never get to see critters without the help of our Indonesian dive guides from Lembeh Divers Resort. They see the animals like they have a map in their heads – an internal GPS that leads them to animals they know by scientific names.

Indonesian Guides on duty sandwiched by dive managers Hergen and Kerri

Indonesian dive guides on duty sandwiched by dive managers Hergen and Kerri

Our very own guide Paulus would quietly hover like a falcon a meter above the muck and after 5 or so minutes, dive down to confirm his find. He showed us a staggering array of animals. What amazed me most was his constant finding of 4mm baby orange frogfish. When he knew I was going to write a baby critter blog entry, I got it from him big time! He showed me one baby after another!

Paulus patiently finds us our subjects and waits for Yogi to finish before leading us to the next, annd next, and next, until we were out of air . . .

Paulus patiently found us our photo subjects and waited for Yogi to finish before leading us to the next, and next, and next, until we were out of air . . .

Some of the Indonesian guides from Lembeh Divers have been diving for more than 10 years, when Lembeh became known to the world as critter mecca. One dive guide Abner has been diving Lembeh for 11 years, and guess what, he’s been logging his dives since he began. He has logged more than 6,800 dives and I’m pretty sure a PhD student analyzing his logs can make an interesting scientific paper – a 10-year critter history of Lembeh Strait.

Abner shows me a peculiar mangrove fruit that is not edible but can make a great puzzle game when you have to put the pieces back together

Abner showed me a peculiar mangrove fruit that is not edible but can make a great puzzle game when you have to put the pieces back together

It was International Clean-up Day on 28 September, and I joined the resort staff to clean up a nearby beach.

Resort staff and dive guides clean Lembeh above and underwater

Resort staff and dive guides clean Lembeh above and underwater

Oh my! The entire beach was FULL of trash. Plastic was everywhere, and one day was not enough to clean them all away.

This bay just catches all thhe trash the wind and surface current brings from the neighboring kampungs or villages

This bay just catches all the trash the wind and surface current brings from the neighboring kampungs or villages

PADI Aware's International Clean-up Day and we gathered so much plastic and yet thinking, this trash is never going to end is it?

PADI Aware’s International Clean-up Day and we gathered so much plastic and yet thinking, this trash is never going to end is it?

Lembeh Divers Resort staff with the Freunds. Lembeh Divers is owned by Angelique Batuna and Danny Charlton. Angelique also was a Project leader of WWF Indonesia in charge of the Bunaken National Park programme

Lembeh Divers Resort staff with the Freunds. Lembeh Divers is owned by Angelique Batuna and Danny Charlton. Angelique also was a Project leader of WWF Indonesia in charge of the Bunaken National Park programme