NAD--Nomad Adventure Divers.
right next door to Batianos, a lot smaller but very homey and practical...a wet and dry camera room? now how practical is that ?? shore dives are on the house, check out dive was a night-dive and what a thrill it was to see so many types of shrimps, crabs, cowfish, eels and snails. it was a perfect intro to 3 days of pure diving nirvana... no need to climb the hill slopes like next door. everything on the gnd floor, board the boat from the front lawn? the food is excellent.
boat is big. easily sits 8 divers? coffee, tea and light refreshment is served on the boat after yr first dive. no battery charging facility. Nitrox is chargeable. first tank of air that i got had a strange smell but the rest of the dives was ok. got 2 tubs of freshwater to soak cameras.
we saw so many hippocampus (sea-horse) yesterday, we thot got turf club meeting!!!
and plenty of banded cleaner shrimp..huge fellows. hmm no nudis though. and that electric fileclam, still there. video was abit tough cuz of the surge at 2 M.
weather is cool and dry during the day. it rained heavily one night but cleared at dawn. we saw a boat coming to top up water at NAD, so they are are not using rainwater in any way. the beach is sheltered and the waters are clear, perfect for our partners who do not dive ? refer pictures for the walk down to the beach from the rooms.
we have nvr seen a regular sized sea-horse, but now they are all galloping in our direction!! they hang around a place where there are fish fries and they are having a buffet!!
Jahir I and Jahir II...it will forever be etched in my heart. the critter count went up to 1 per minute!!! it was like lightning underwater!! there were so many divers and the strobes were firing non-stop, you would think there was a celebrity nearby and the paparazzi was shooting away. there were so many so share, you could compose to your hearts content and still not get that tap on the shoulder.
stargazers!!! 4 of them......flamboyant cuttlefish....bobtail, flatheads,cockcatoo leaffish....the list goes on....
wow this is my best dive ever!!! seriously.
how many DC do you know that have 2 camera rooms bro ? one for you to wipe your camera after the freshwater soak? then disassembly..then a second room to upload/photshop/post? both rooms have ample charging stations for yr batteries. the second is air-cond.
ok to be honest, they are not resort style like KBR, Bastianos, Hills..(very beatiful at night in front of Jahir I) but it suits me fine.value for money.
come to think of it my friends, forget Manado just come to Lembeh and make your camera happy!!!!and the owner will too i am sure, you should see the grin on my face. the only thing about Manado is Bunaken and Bunaken is like Sipadan.
the car- ride is about an hour and a bit, then Bitung harbour you take a boat about 20 mins to most DC and the shooting starts. will be leaving tomo to go back to singapore for work, but i am already scheming to come back here asap.
5D4N--8 boat dives, 1 night boat dive, 2 shore dives (free), airport transfer (taxi plus boat from Bitung), dive permit all set me back US$501, 3 square meals a day, snacks on the boat after the first morn dive. second dive then back to the Dc for lunch, and the afternoon dive is at 1430 hrs.
the mosquitoes made me feel at home in penang, cuz my house in penang has swarms of them..be warned! the mosquitoe coil did not work. maybe long pants might.
the water pressure was very poor in room 2. we had to shower Balinese style, in the open at the DC where they also had a gas-fired water heater. WiFi in the dining hall was good. Bintang beer-big--US$4 per bottle.
the freshwater for cleaning bcd, dive gear and wetsuits was very limited. and no hose or tap to force water into the bcd to rinse the bladder. the boatcrew will clean all your equipment for you if you are lazy but as i said, no chance to really clean your stuff. the water for rinsing cameras seem ok. on the last dive of your stay, better to clean the gear yourself and dry it in the open, my gear did not dry at all in the store room. it was soaking wet. if travelling by low cost, it could affect your excess baggage....
drinking water is readily available, so is hot water!! hurray.
night dives may affect the dinner time as they wait for all to come home before they serve dinner. so if u are NOT out for a night dive, you may have to wait...
they supply towels for the boat dives but, only one for the entire stay! the room towels/bed sheet are changed every 3 days. do you read before you turn in for the night? better bring your own bulb...very dim or maybe my eyesight is gone? this is one of my pet hates about DC, the dim lighting. even at the dining hall, it is so dim...how to recognise what we just saw on our dive? nvr mind-lah next time i bring own bulb...
did i mention the mosquitoes?
the DM are all very polite and eager to please. best is to have a list of sites and/or critter list so they can plan the itinerary. better still, tell them you want to do a night boat dive as soon as you check in, so they can ask the other guest. believe me it is the highlight of lembeh trip!!
i must say i was not disappointed, i saw everything that i requested. and then some......
still poring over the books trying to identify what the heck we shot...
the food on all 5 days was beyond my expectations. and my 2 friends from the UK who were vegetarians felt they had a feast as well.
the kueh dadar was exceptional. fresh fruits available every meal and so sweet.
most rooms are standard, only 2 bungalows avail for folks who want more elbow room. the bungalows need some hill climbing.
there is no TV...so internet and swapping dive tales are the only entertainment.on the way back from Bitung harbour to airport, there was a long cue for petrol, our driver decided to chance it and not re-fuel!! bad decision, he had to buy bottles of petrol at this road side stall. next time i am going to check the fuel gauge before i board the taxi (if it works at all?) my wife and i will definitely be back for more of this muck diving soon.
as always my wife and i paid for the entire package.