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  1. #1

    Bitung & Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi - Indonesia

    Bitung & Lembeh Strait

    The port town of Bitung with its fine natural harbour protected by the adjacent island of Lembeh is the centre for shipbuilding and maintenance as well as commercial fishing. Also, since the harbour in Manado silted up, large ships now all call into Bitung, including some of the magnificent passenger cruise-liners. The town itself has a quaint provincial charm and is distinguished by its 12m replica of the Eiffel Tower at one of the roundabout intersections leading into town. Apparently the unusual monument was built by a previous mayor who had studied in Paris in his earlier years, and was built as a testament of his love for the "City of Lights".

    Take a boat ride across and down the Lembeh Strait and you’ll come across an equally odd and intriguing monument; the Trikora Monument. Constructed in the 70s this mammoth structure towering some 100 meters into the sky was built to celebrate the success of the Indonesian military’s campaign in Irian Jaya. With an enormous Monaslike tower flanked by two annexes which look something like robotic flowers in bloom, the inside wall which encircles the base of the monument shows scenes of recruiting soldiers and then sending them off to war.

    Attached to the monument has been mounted an old DC3 aircraft that was used in the military campaign. A ladder on one side provides access inside where you can go and sit in the cockpit and live out your fantasy of being a fighter pilot – bring your own sound effects. This is a popular hangout for local kids.

    You can’t mention Bitung and Lembeh without mentioning the diving in Lembeh Strait. Relatively unknown compared to Bunaken, Lembeh has fast developed a reputation as being the place for muck. That may sound disgusting but allow me to explain. The sheltered straits form a kind of bottleneck in the surrounding sea, which has led to an abundance of plankton. This siltybottomed strait therefore doesn’t have the same spectacular coral walls of Bunaken but it does mean that the conditions are just right for serious divers to see a menagery of weird and wonderful creatures up close that they rarely, if ever, get to see anywhere else. Creatures with weird descriptive names that conjure up all sorts of strange images are common here – the ornate ghost pipefish, neon coloured nudibranchs (a kind of seaslug), mimic octopuses and flamboyant cuttlefish, as well as the diminutive pygmy seahorse and the aptly named frogfish can all be seen hiding among the crevices of the Lembeh Strait. Several dive resorts have been built here and offers easy, direct access to Lembeh, without the need for the long boat ride from Manado for day-trippers.

    The reputation of Lembeh Strait as a mecca for divers interested in odd and rare macro fauna continues to grow. Visitors coming during different times of the year are treated to a variety of seasonal deslights. June brings a mixed blessing, being when the south-east monsoon winds begin. While these winds don't effect the generally placid waters on the Bunaken side of North Sulawesi, these winds that appear daily at midmorning on the Bitung side can bring choppy waters at unprotected dive sites in the strait until September when the monsoon abates until the next year. But on the positive side there is much to reward intrepid divers beneath the surface. One of the most sought-after macro subjects, ornate ghost pipefish, move into the shallows to breed, exhibiting a rainbow of colour combinations to delight those who find them hiding amongst the arms of feather stars or alongside sea fans.

    There seems to be an increase in the variety and numbers of nudibranchs on show as well. In addition to all that colour, certain cephalopods, including any of the four species of mimic octopus as well as the captivating flamboyant cuttlefish can be found shortly following their spring breeding cycle, prowling the black sand bottom. These critters are just some of the parade of fascinating creatures that are commonly encountered in Lembeh, alluring divers from all over the globe who wish to accumulate "firsts" or for underwater photographers who want to fill their viewfinders with what is considered rare elsewhere.

    Bitung & Lembeh Strait
    Fast Facts

    The city of Bitung is located approximately 47 km from Manado. Its land mass covers a total area of 30,400 ha with a population of 118,633 people (1996). Bitung is a signifigant commercial port in Eastern Indonesia and as well a tourist gateway. The port is well equipped with a pier capable of accomodating modern cruise ships. A major asset for Bitung is the Lembeh Strait and Lembeh Island which acts as a natural shield protecting Bitung from wind and rough seas.


    LEMBEH STRAIT. Lembeh Strait is a 12 km long stretch of water separating Lembeh Island and the mainland. Bitung is actually the half way point along the shores of Lembeh Strait. This pristine section of water in North Sulawesi is home to many unique sea animals which include the pygmy seahorse, mimic octopus, ghost pipefish, as well as other larger species. It is a fantastic dive area for underwater photographers and the diversity of smaller creatures ensures many memorable photo opportunities.
    There are several undeveloped beaches on the shoreline of Lembeh Strait which are excellent for swimming and snorkelling.

    JAPANESE MONUMENT. As Bitung played an important role in WW II as a home base for the Japanese Forces, it became the last resting place of their soldiers who died during the War. To commemorate this time in history and the men who died, the Japanese and North Sulawesi Governments constructed this monument located at Manembo, 7 km from Bitung center.

    Is situated on a bluff at Lembeh Island Beach, the DC3 monument and park offers a nice opportunity to observe ships going by as well as being a gathering place on Sundays and holidays. Reachable by motorized outrigger.

    Located at the foot of Dua Saudara Mountain, the area is comprised of rolling hills and valleys with a variety of hardwood trees and unusual plant life.
    The animal life is also quite varied, and one can often view Tarsius Spectrum (world's smallest primate), black tailless monkeys, Maleo Birds, wild pigs and kuskus (marsupial family). Tangkoko Batuangus Reserve offers a suitable protective environment to help prevent these animals from becoming extinct. Tangkoko is located in the northern sector of Bitung, and comprises an area of 3,196 Ha, and takes about 1.5 -2.5 hours to reach from Bitung or Manado, respectively.
    Please note that the road to Tangkoko is somewhat difficult and visitors are recommended to visit with a local tour operators to ensure a safe journey and to take advantage of an experienced guide who can assist in spotting the wildlife. Losmen (simple guesthouses) are available for overnight stays.

    Bruce Moore

    "What's Happening?"
    Manado Safari Tours Newsletter

    Lembeh Strait.jpg

    Watch movie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwPgi4S7AFs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Hello www.indonesia-tourism.com

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Darainifs View Post
    Very interesting name by the forum www.indonesia-tourism.com

    Completely I share your opinion. It seems to me it is good idea. I agree with you.
    Hi, have you ever been in Indonesia before?
    Indonesia Welcoming The World

  4. #4

    Photo by: a55i.wordpress.com

    Photo by: tripadvisor.co.id

    Photo by: diversiondivetravel.com.au

    Photo by: facebook.com

    Video by: rocky6132
    Last edited by exoventura; 24-05-2012 at 09:25.

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