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A flying gunard in Lembeh Strait. (Darryl Leniuk)
A flying gunard in Lembeh Strait. (Darryl Leniuk)

Dive deep and get into the muck: Try muck diving in Indonesia Add to ...

Try this: Muck diving

What's the deal?

Scuba-dive on a sandy bottom and search for weird creatures.

Where's it at?

In the 1980s, scuba divers began seeking out new environments, away from coral reefs, in search of unusual species. Some of those spots included muddy bottoms, garbage-strewn marinas and mangrove beds. When the volcanic sand-covered Lembeh Strait, in northeastern Sulawesi, Indonesia, was discovered, it became a muck-diving hot spot.

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Stay at Lembeh Resort (lembehresort.com), grab your underwater camera and follow your dive master as he points out the weird and the wonderful: frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, flying gurnards and devil scorpionfish. One of the most sought-after creatures is the mimic octopus, a cephalopod known to copy the appearance and behaviour of up to a dozen different animals by contorting its shape and colour. It can eerily resemble a sea snake, lionfish and even a stingray.

Finding frogfish is an art. The masters of camouflage resemble a giant tadpole with hand-like fins, which they use to walk on the bottom. Look closely at sponges, their favourite hiding spot, where they blend in colour and texture, and you might notice an eye looking back at you. One can be inches from your nose and you won't see it. After you've gone cross-eyed looking, chill out by the resort pool comparing digital photos with your dive buddies.

Who's it for?

Budding National Geographic photographers and divers who have already dived too many coral reefs.

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