Saturday, September 19, 2020

Diving Kungkungan Bay Resort

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Do you want to experience some of the world’s most Fantastic diving in one of the world’s most Beautiful settings!! It’s called Kungkungan Bay Resort (affectionately known as KBR ), located in Lembeh Strait, N. Sulawesi, Indonesia. To see a full portfolio of images from the resort Click Here

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Kungkungan Bay Resort

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In 2001 I spent 5 weeks at KBR while I was designing their website, and this past November – December I spent 2 months as their digital photo pro offering digital workshops to guests, updating the website and expanding my digital still portfolio. So after more than 3 months at the resort I can honestly say that Kungkungan Bay Resort is truly one of the world’s finest diving experiences.

The Resort

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Kungkungan Bay Resort is an upscale dive resort set in a large bay on the protected side of the beautiful tropical island of North Sulawesi, just a 3 hour flight from Singapore. The resort sits directly on the shores of Lembeh Strait, which has become the premier macro and critter diving destination in the world. KBR offers great diving, unusual critters and an experience that I found completely unique.

The resort was built on the site of an old coconut plantation on the Sulawesi coast of Lembeh strait and was specifically designed to achieve a pleasing aesthetic effect with minimum impact on the environment. All the rooms and central complex were made from the local tress that were cut down during the building process and the design of the resort was based on traditional architecture while adding western style bathrooms and amenities to provide international standards of comfort, convenience, safety, and privacy.

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I have traveled to many destinations over the past 10 years, and my personal feeling is that regardless of how good the diving might be, the quality and comfort of the accommodations has a direct impact of the quality of my dive vacation. I would consider KBR as close to a liveaboard experience as you can get at a landbased resort.

KBR is located on the sunrise side of the peninsula, and every room has a beautiful ocean view. This, combined with a mild tropical climate with gentle breezes year-round, makes KBR certainly the most comfortable landbased resort that I have visited. Daytime temperatures are generally in the mid-eighties cooling into the seventies at night.

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I found the English speaking staff incredible, the food varied and delicious, and the accommodations totally comfortable and inviting. It was obvious that the staff has been trained to attend to the guest’s every need As an example: when you come back from your 2nd morning dive or the night dive, someone from the restaurant staff is waiting to take your lunch or dinner order right at the dive dock. So when you get to the dinning area after your shower, your food is ready and waiting for you.

The resort has a beautiful restaurant and administration complex, which is centrally located for guest convenience. It also serves as a social hub before and after dives. Guest and Pro slide and video presentations are shown here both in the upstairs lounge area as well as downstairs in the central complex.

The Diving

Scientists believe that life in the sea began in the area that encompasses Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and areas of Malaysia and the incredible biodiversity at KBR and Lembeh Strait reflects this. Hairy Frogfish, Devil Scorpianfish, Mimic Octopus, and numerous other incredible creatures are found daily. National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and many scientists have visited and written about the diving found at KBR. It is also an underwater photographer’s heaven. But there are just as many "regular" divers who come to the resort to experience this incredible biodiversity.

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Virtually every type of dive site available within minutes of the resort, so if I wanted to dive a coral garden or even a wreck, I could simply tell the dive manager and he would try to tailor the dive site agenda to accommodate me. And things didn’t stop after the dive. There was always a cold drink, fresh fruit and a fresh towel as soon as I got back on the boat. They even had hot chocolate on night dives!

I found the dive staff to be the absolute best I have every experienced for finding the unique animals that make diving in Lembeh Strait so special. Divers could write their "wish list" of creatures on a board at the dive area and usually the guides were able to find creatures that are so well camouflaged and so integrated into the surrounding environment that many are easily missed by less experienced guides. Having lots of photo equipment, I was glad to see that the dive staff was specially trained in dive and photo gear handling.

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I was able to do 4 boats dives per day including night dives, plus fantastic and unlimited shore diving on the House Reef. This is one of the "special treats" at KBR, and when I was at the resort, I found reef cuttlefish laying eggs continually for over 10 days.

Water temperatures are generally between 78-82 degrees and conditions vary very little throughout the year. The sheltered conditions of Lembeh Strait make it ideal for year round diving. The resort has 4 fast boats that take divers to any of over 30 dive sites in less than 15 minutes. Each boat takes a maximum of 6 divers so there is never any overcrowding, either on the boat or the dive site.

Dining

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Many dive operations have food because it is necessary, but here the food was a real treat. Can you believe that the restaurant is open 24 hours a day, so you can eat whenever or what every you want…The menu was created by professional chefs from Singapore and I found an almost unlimited choice of food.

Extras

Because the Lembeh Strait is the home of so many unusual and rare underwater inhabitants, resort has found that guests wanted more than just diving. The divers wanted to know more about the creatures they were seeing and learn how to better capture these elusive beings on film, video or digital stills. So the resort schedules visiting photo pros and fish experts at various times throughout the year who stay at the resort for a month and are available to the guests anytime during their stay.

I had a great time as the digital photo pro and the workshops that I conducted during my 2 months at the resort were well received. These workshops were given free to any guest at the resort.

Kungkungkan Bay Resort should not be missed. You can visit their website for more information. www.kbronline.com

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