Southeast Asia

Indonesia's Lembeh Strait: Relax & Enjoy Muck Diving & More

Harlequin shrimp on sponge, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

For underwater photographers, when we talk about Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, lots of macro subjects and small critters come to mind. “Muck diving,” which involves diving in muddy areas where lots of small animals can be found, is actually the main business of the localresorts and dive centres. But as you will find out in this article, there are lots of other things to see here too.

Indonesia's Banda Sea

Diver with mushroom leather corals, a purple sea fan and orange soft corals on the reef at Hatta Island.

Five minutes into my first dive in the Banda Sea, I came face-to-face with a scalloped hammerhead shark, gliding effortlessly in its underwater realm as it emerged from the depths to investigate the alien visitors descending from above. A second hammerhead swam past a moment later but was less bold in its approach and quickly disappeared back into the abyss.

Southern New Britain: The Secret Place in Papua New Guinea

Aerial view of Linden Harbour, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Aerial view of Linden Harbour, New Britain, Papua New Guinea

The southern coast of the large island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea is a truly remote location isolated from the northern coast by high, rugged mountain ranges with no real roads through them. There are no commercial airports here—only landing strips and old WWII airfields used for small-scale charter flights. Practically, the only way to get to the southern coast is by boat from Rabaul, on the eastern tip of New Britain.

Lembeh: Expect the Unexpected

Juvenile pinnate batfish at Nudi Falls, Lembeh, Indonesia.

Ting-ting-ting-ting-ting-ting-ting! Someone, somewhere, had found something really exciting! One of the dive guides was tapping frantically on the side of his cylinder with his metal pointer. Ting-ting-ting replied my dive guide Opo, only to receive more frantic tapping in response. My pulse rate upped a few more levels in anticipation of yet another exciting find.

Timor-Leste: Off the Beaten Path

Midnight snapper and sea fan on reef, Timor-Leste

Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about Timor-Leste until I started seeing a lot of great images of the diving there on Instagram. I became curious and started following a local dive operator’s Instagram feed, watching them post daily photos of cuttlefish, nudibranchs, peacock mantis shrimp and beautiful reefscapes. Where was this place and how did I not know about it?

Southwestern Halmahera

Halmahera epaulette shark, or walking shark, Halmahera, Indonesia. Photo by Andrey Bizyukin.

The appearance on the radar of a new world-class area for scuba diving is a rare and extremely welcome event. It is even better news when it is a place as steeped in history and culture as this one.

The Philippines' Puerto Galera

I have spent decades covering the Caribbean for major dive magazines. But when it is time for a personal trip, I usually set my sights farther from home. One destination that has become a personal favorite over the last ten years is the Philippines. The waters of this island nation lie within the “Coral Triangle,” a region recognized as having one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on the planet.