Kungkungan Bay Resort - or KBay as it is affectionately known
- is an exclusive resort set by a coral-filled bay on the Lembeh
Straits, just a few miles north of Bitung on the eastern side of
Sulawesi's northern peninsula.
The resort is strung along a small bay with a black sandy beach,
in marked contrast to the lush green palm trees that lean gently
towards the sun kissed sea.
The main reception and dining area are famous throughout the northern
Sulawesi region, being built on stilts over the water's edge. From
the restaurant you can enjoy commanding views of the sea and islands
beyond. Food at KBay is an exceedingly important part of your stay!
Open 24 hours a day, the kitchens provide an astounding array of
Indonesian dishes, and some Western style ones too, in case you're
hankering after a burger & chips! Room service takes on a slightly
different meaning at KBay. Upon returning from a pre-meal dive,
you can give your order for that meal at the dive jetty and it will
be waiting for you when you return from showering and changing!
After all, you can't be wasting time waiting for food when you just
have to get back in the water!
The resort has eight deluxe beachfront Cottages and eight deluxe
beachfront Traditional Houses. The cottages are all one-room suites,
five of which contain two queen-size beds (maximum four people per
suites), two have one queen-size bed, and one suite has a king-size
bed. Three of the traditional houses are junior suites containing
two queen-size beds, while one is a two-bedroom family suite with
one king-size bed, and two twin beds. There are also now four new
rooms that have a king-size bed, large living area, and a private
veranda. All of the rooms are colourfully decorated in local style
and are steps away from the black sand beach. Each offers excellent
views of the Lembeh Straits.
The dive centre is located at the jetty, a short stroll along the
beach from the restaurant and bungalows. The dive centre offers
a range of rental equipment for those who do not have their own
gear, tuition, daily E6 slide processing and a comprehensive camera
workshop for those who like to fiddle with the cameras! Both 110v
and 240v electricity is available for battery & strobe charging.
Up to four dives a day are available from the resort's fleet of
4 fast speed boats; because each boat only takes a maximum of 8
divers and each boat goes to a different place, overcrowding is
not a phenomenon that occurs at KBay! Each boat has a special area
for camera equipment and all the dive staff are properly versed
in the handling of your expensive gadgets! Shore diving is available
free of charge on the resort's house reef. Just grab a tank and
KBay has possibly the finest "muck diving" in the world.
While there are singular places in Papua New Guinea, spiritual home
to muck diving, that offer as fine (or as mucky) an experience as
KBay, there really is nowhere in the world that offers such a magnificent
range of bewildering creatures in such a relatively small area as
the Lembeh Straits. But KBay is not just about muck diving. The
resort also has 3 nearby wrecks from WWII, a sunken Taiwanese, all
covered in a colourful area of corals, and many fine reefs for you
to explore if you have had your fill of mimic octopi and flambos!
Since the resort's conception 10 years ago the dive team have explored
and mapped out dozens of dive sites that cater for the needs of
the discerning muck diver. Noone knows why the Lembeh Straits has
such an extraordinary amount of weird and wonderful sea creatures.
It is certainly not due to human impact that they originally settled
there, as they have been there for a considerably longer time than
humans! It is probably a combination of factors such as currents,
local rainwater run off, marine topography and the fact that the
northern parts of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are the true epicentre
of global marine biodiversity.
Leaping in the water for the first time in the Lembeh Straits and
you may be forgiven for thinking "What on earth am I doing
here?" Black coral sand and slit, relatively low visibility,
often strong currents, and the daily plying of fishing and cargo
ships through the straits make it look like somewhere almost to
avoid, let alone go diving in! But look closely and you will see
some of the most amazing beasties you will ever set eyes upon -
such creatures as Rhinopias aphanes & Rhinopias
frondosa (leafy & weedy scorpionfish respectively), Ambon
scorpionfish, stargazers and sanddivers, pygmy seahorses, manta
shrimps, mimic octopus, wonderpus, Shaggy frogfish, and flamboyant
cuttlefish are normal occurrences rather than the exception. There
is a saying at the resort: "If you can't find it at Kungkungan
Bay Resort, it probably doesn't exist."
And to be honest, they're most likely right!