medas2005 - Bluewater Dive Travel



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Reviews (22)

Diving in Raja Ampat


For any serious diver, Raja Ampat should be the destination on the top of their list. No other spot in the world offers the variety of pristine coral reefs and reef fish that Raja offers. While liveaboards are the preferred way to see the region, several very nice and elegant dive resorts have popped up.

While not a part of the region per se, Triton Bay to the Southeast ranks as one of the most exotic dive areas of the world. Unfortunately, my attempt to make it there was foiled by sea pirates who try to extract money and gasoline from divers. While I understand the situation is better, it is still a risky spot to go (not for your life, but for your diving). Several people on my boat had been there and confirmed that it was very good, but visibility is limited and currents can be tricky. I still want to go there someday. One other note, Triton Bays boats leave from Kaimana instead of Sorong. A year before we were there a plane crashed on landing, so it is not without some risks.

The first area of south Raja Ampat of diving note is Daram Islands. Like the entire area, the seas are warm and the area is filled with schools of fish and clouds of antheas. It is very remote and rarely dived except by liveaboard, so it is outstanding.

Onward to the dive sites around Misool. This is the pinnacle of this area and therefore the pinnacle of the world's coral diving. The currents can be very strong here however. My teenage daughter got caught in a washing machine whirlpool current and had to be rescued by a divemaster. She is a good diver and was not in danger, but it scared me. One could easily spend a week here which is why the MIsool Eco Resort has been so successful. We stopped by there and had lunch and the place is heaven on earth. Even my non-diving wife would be blown away by the place I am sure. My favorite island was Boo and the Windows site is pictured on most picture books of the area. You get the idea.

We dove the Blue Mangroves which was great. A diver was bitten there once by a crocodile a few years earlier so our Indonesian guides refused to go into the water. We had one diver hang out as a lookout and we had a great time. My aforementioned daughter did stay in the boat here however.

The diving in the north part of Raja Ampat is not quite as good (by a small amount) as the diving in the Misool area. The center of this area is Cape Kri which is a point out into the Dampier Straight with very very good diving. You can easily spend a day here. About a 30 minute boat ride away is Manta Sandy which is supposed to be the most reliable place in the world to see mantas. I have been there 4 times and the only mantas showed up on the dive I skipped. Oh well. I did see the largest octopus that I have ever seen though and it kept us entertained for 30 minutes.

The Aboratek peer is also a very good site and I took an award winning photo there of a large school of fish that frequents the peer. The peer poles are covered with multi-colored soft corals which go all the way to the surface.

All in all you will see just about everything imaginable here. We saw 4 kinds of pygmy seahorses. We saw mandarin fish in several locations. We saw an enormous clam that was big enough to hold a small human. You see everything here except for sharks which hopefully will return some day. We did see a couple of black tips and there is hope, but not a lot to be seen right now.

We were there once in March and the weather was beautiful. We were there a second time in early July and the weather was perfect then as well although that is classified as off-season. I do know that the Misool area is not so good in our summer months.

Visited on 07/2012 - Submitted on 02/10/2014
Read all Diving in Raja Ampat Dive Travel reviews

Seven Seas


My teenage daughter and I spent 10 days on the Seven Seas in July of 2008. Getting there is relatively easy with a short flight out of Bali and landing in Labuan Banjo where the boat is ready to go. Of course, don't miss a chance to spend a few days in Bali. We dove Crystal Bay and got to see three mola mola fish which was a pleasant bonus for the trip.

While not specifically a family trip, the week was definitely more oriented in that way than any other liveaboard that I have been on. Jos Pet, the owner of the boat, had his entire family. Several other families from Bali were on the boat as well. Thus, it had a different feel to it than every other liveaboard that I have been on.

Despite this, the boat did a good job of accomodating divers such as myself who were a bit more experienced.

The land walks to see the Komodo dragons were spectacular. I have since seen these beasts in zoos and it is always disappointing to see them through the glass. One hike was fairly lengthy and we got to see some spectacular vistss. We also saw nesting sites were the dragons had their young. Impressive sites.

The rooms were pretty small, but comfortable. I do understand that since we were on the boat, the rooms have been redone (2 eliminated) to make for a bigger space. If you are going to Komodo, you have lots of options. If room size is important, I would compare square footage and get the space you want.

The food was very good and we had special meals on the top side of the boat that were especially good. On two nights we had "picnics" with a bonfire on small spits of sand. That was special and I don't remember doing that anywhere else.

Summer in Komodo means north and south maybe. North was great with some very classic sites such as Chimney Rock. These pinnacles are exposed to current which is good for fish but bad for humans. The crew was extremely careful to make sure the current was quiet when we got in. I am sure their caution was extra high because of the children on board. For that, this crew was actually perfect.

The setup for dive photography was good, but not fantastic as it is on the Damai and Arenui. Because of the folks on board (only one other very serious photographer), it worked fine. However, with a boat load of photo guys, it would have been very crowded.

The highlight of the trip was mantas. We had mantas on a half dozen dives. Even the couple of swimmers had mantas with them. A handful of gray tips were seen on several dives. The Cauldran dive was specacular and filled with purple corals. But the currents were strong so this is not a dive for the beginner. But my favorite dive was Batu Bolong which is out in the open current. Our boat was very careful with the currents. (Just two weeks earlier, two British divers had been swept away from here). It is also easy to go deep. We blew up a picture of my daughter's dive computer display to see that she was at 140 ft in depth.

Our only disappointment is that we were totally unable to go to the south at all. We had strong winds which kept us totally in the north. That wasn't awful, but we did miss half of the park. That was unusual, but it did happen occasionally.

The coral was very good, but not quite as good as Raja Ampat. This is probably the best shark diving in all of Indonesia and certainly a great place to see mantas.

Visited on 07/2008 - Submitted on 02/11/2014
Read all Seven Seas Dive Liveaboard reviews



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