May, 2001
October, 2001
The region combining mainly waters of Sulu Sea and Celebes sea and surrounded by Borneo, Sulawesi and Philippines harbours the richest variety of marine species in the world. WWF identified this area as Sulu-Sulawesi marine ecoregion - the global center of marine biodiversity.

Lembeh strait - North Sulawesi

Located just behind the tip of Minahasa Peninsula from Manado (2 hours drive from the airport), Lembeh strait is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic dive spots in the world. With a fishing port town of Bitung in the middle of the strait it doesn't promise much of a tropical paradise. In the first few moments after submerging into murky water of the strait and finding the bottom composed mainly of black volcanic sand I was asking myself: "What am I doing here? Is it some kind of a joke about the diving paradise?". This disappointment didn't last long. It was substituted with a ten-minute long photographic ecstasy but was replaced with another frustration - I ran out of film. In lembeh strait just on a few square meters you can find more bizarre creatures and various nudibranchs than during a week dive trip in other places. After two visits to Lembeh strait I am sure I will come back again (but with a digital camera - 36 shots of film are not enough for a dive in Lembeh).
Banggai cardinalfish
Pterapogon kauderni
Pink anemonefish
Amphiprion perideraion
Round burrfish
Cyclichthys orbicularis
Map puffer - Arothron mappa
Striped catfish
Plotosus lineatus
White ribbon eel
Pseudechidna cf. brummeri
Juvenile razorfish
Xyrichtys sp.
Brownbanded bambooshark
Chiloscyllium punctatum
Ornate ghost pipefish
Solenostomus paradoxus
Robust ghost pipefish
Solenostomus cyanopterus
Longtailed ghost pipefish
Solenostomus armatus
Pygmy seahorse
Hippocampus bargibanti
Spotted seahorse
Hippocampus kuda
Seahorse - Hippocampus sp. Painted frogfish
Antennarius pictus
Painted frogfish
Antennarius pictus
Warty clown frogfish
Antennarius maculatus
Lembeh frogfish
Antennarius sp.
Frogfish - Antennarius sp.
Juvenile lionfish
Pterois cf. volitans
Spiny devilfish
Inimicus didactylus
Ambon scorpionfish
Pteroidichthys amboinensis
Leaf scorpionfish
Taenianotus triacanthus
Leaf scorpionfish
Taenianotus triacanthus
Leaf scorpionfish
Taenianotus triacanthus
Cockatoo waspfish
Ablabys taenianotus
Short dragonfish / Sea moth
Eurypegasus draconis
Flying gurnard
Dactyloptena sp.
Stonefish
Synanceia verrucosa
Spiny flathead
Onigocia spinosa
Beaufort's crocodilefish
Cymbacephalus beauforti
Hinge-beak shrimp
Rhynchocinetes durbanensis
Commensal shrimp
Periclimenes holthuisi
Commensal shrimp
Periclimenes tosaensis
Commensal shrimp
Periclimenes venustus
Commensal shrimp
Periclimenes sp.
Thor amboinensis Sand prawn - Metapenaeus sp.
Dasycaris zanzibarica or
Pontonides unciger
Xenocarcinus tuberculatus Lobster
Panulirus cf. versicolor
Elbow crab - Cryptopodia sp.
Anemone spotted porcelain crab
Neopetrolisthes maculata
Box crab - Calappa philargius Orang-utan crab - Oncinopus sp
often called Achaeus japonicus
Volute - Cymbiola vespertilio
Marginated octopus
Octopus cf. marginatus
Needle cuttlefish - Sepia aculeata Cuttlefish - Sepia sp Flamboyant cuttlefish
Metasepia pfefferi
Chromodoris kuniei Glossodoris cruenta Hypselodoris kaname Risbecia tryoni
Nembrotha lineolata Nembrotha cristata Nembrotha kubaryana Ceratosoma trilobatum
Cuthona sibogae Tambja sp.
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