wchung

wchung

My Dive Map

Reviews (1)

Indo Siren

5
5
5
5

INDO SIREN - WORLDWIDE DIVE AND SAIL REVIEW

In early 2011, my wife and I were looking into booking a liveaboard trip. Previously, we had never been on a liveaboard, so we researched as much as we could about places, ships, best time of year to go to what places, etc. We eventually settled on going to Komodo with Worldwide Dive and Sail because we liked the location and Worldwide Dive and Sail was offering a 15% discount. However, we were also a little hesitant to book this ship because we could find little to no reviews of Worldwide Dive and Sail. Adding to our concern was the fact that the ship that was going to be used for this cruise was still being built. Needless to say, our concerns were for not.

Our trip started in San Diego, CA. After a long flight, we arrived in Bali, Indonesia. Due to the fact that Indonesian airline flight schedules are notoriously unreliable, our travel agent (as well as the travel agent of every other diver on our trip) recommended we arrive in Bali a day before our scheduled cruise and spend the night in Bali, which we did.

We spent one night before the cruise and one night after the cruise at the Santika Premiere Beach Resort. We stayed here based on our travel agent’s recommendation specifically because this place was close to the airport. It is close the airport. It is only a 5 minute cab ride from the airport to this hotel. However, being close to the airport did not mean this place was bad. To the contrary, this place was fabulous and only cost about $100 US per night. It is a large resort with two pools, great restaurants and bars and direct beach access. An unbelieveable buffet style breakfast was included in the room price. The resort is also close enough to walk to the popular shopping areas of Bali. So, if you do not have a personal preference for hotels in Bali, I would recommend the Santika.

The next day, we flew Merpati, a local Indonesian airline to get from Bali to Bima, where our ship was docked. My wife and I had 90 kilos in luggage as we had brought all our gear, including, backplates, drysuits (more on that later), canister lights, etc. Thus, our baggage was overweight by 42 kilos. Travel tip. Everything in Indonesia is negotiable, including baggage overage charges. The airline asked me to pay $600,000 Rupiah (or $67 US) for the overweight bags. I told them that was too high and the ticketing agent asked me how much I wanted to pay. I told him $400,000. We settled on $450,000.

Upon arrival at the Bima Airport, after a 20 minute drive, we boarded the Indo Siren.

THE BOAT

The Indo/Siren is a 40 meter long ship. It was brand new in 2011. Our group was only the 3rd group to have been on this ship. Suffice it to say, I think the ship design was well thought out for diving. The cabins were spacious and comfortable. Each cabin has its own bathroom, air conditioner, desk and TV. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Each day, while you are diving, a crew member makes your bed and cleans your room.

As for diving amenities, on the dive deck each diver is assigned a station. There are sixteen stations. Each station has storage drawers and a table. So, you can store all your dive gear at your station. For the duration of the trip, that station will be yours.

Inside the ship’s salon, each diver is also provided with a storage drawer. So, for anything you might want to keep dry and have ready access to, you can keep that in the storage drawer.

For the photographers, there is a large table in the salon where you can store your camera gear and recharge all your batteries.

Needless to say, the boat and its amenities all met or exceeded my wife and my expectations.

THE TRIP

During our 10 days on board, we did 32 dives. During the main part of the trip (i.e. excluding the first day’s check out dive and the last day of diving), we dove 4 times a day. The schedule was get up at 6:45 a.m. boat time (they advance the clock one hour to maximize daylight). Have a light breakfast of toast or cereal. First dive at 8:00. Big Breakfast at 9:30. Dive at 11:00. Lunch at 1:00. Dive at 4:00. Snack. Dive at 7:00. Dinner at 9:00. Drink and play games. Go to sleep. Repeat.

The 32 dives ranged in variety from muck dives to crystal clear blue water dives. We also had two wall dives and one wreck dive (a liveaboard ship that sunk in 1992). We dove off an active volcano where the sand was completely black and gas bubbles were coming from the sand. There were mellow dives, drift dives and high current dives (although there was not as much of the high current dives on our trip as there normally would be due to the phase of the moon.) I was never disappointed by any of the dives.

The Indo Siren did not require us to dive with our dive guide. Rather, you could go and explore each of your dive sites on your own if you wished. Nor, were there fixed time limits on dives, except for night dives which had a 45 minute limit, but we still did 60 minutes on these dives. Rather, the rule was that you had to return to the ship with at least 30 bar or 400 psi in gas. (TIP: The guides and all of the divers on our trip used bar to measure tank pressure. Being from the good ‘ol US of A, I use PSI. This caused a little bit of confusion. On one of the early dives, when I told my guide I was going to ascend, my dive guide asked me how much gas I had left, and I told her “5,” she thought I had 50 bar left, not 500 psi.) Most of the people on our cruise seemed to have good SAC rates. So, typically people were getting 60 to 70 minutes out of an aluminum 80. (If you need more gas, the ship also has aluminum 100’s. So, make sure you ask them to give you a 100 if you want it before dive 1.) If you go off on your own, just make sure you know how to deploy a SMB from depth as that is how the dingy driver is going to find you.

Water temperature ranged from 81 to 84 degrees fahrenheit for 31 out of the 32 dives. On one dive, the thermometer dropped to a bone chilling 79 degrees. My wife and I did 31 out of the 32 dives in DUI TLS350 drysuits. (The 32nd dive I did in board shorts and a rash guard and my wife in a 3mm as we thought we should at least try diving wet in the tropics. With the water temperature being 84 degrees, I was rather quite comfortable doing a 60 minute dive with no wet or dry suit.) The boat crew had never seen a drysuit before (and why should they have.) After every dive, the boat crew washes your wetsuit and takes care of your gear. After dive 1, the crew took my drysuit, zipper open, and dunked it in the wash tank. Doh!

We dove drysuits because that is what we normally dive in and we figured because we are doing repetitive diving, the drysuit will keep us warmer. We needed no undergarments under our drysuits to keep us warm. I simply wore board shorts and a long sleeve tech t-shirt to keep my skin from contacting the suit directly. Because we did not have to get suited up in direct sunlight or have to stand around in the sunlight, we never felt overheated in our drysuits. I would dive drysuits in the tropics again.

The marine life on this trip tends to be of the smaller variety. For example, pygmy seahorses, lady bugs, and dwarf cuttlefish are some of the highlights of the dives. Therefore, if you go to Komodo and are expecting large marine life, you will probably be disappointed. However, we did see large marine life, including, white and black tip reef sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, bumphead parrotfish and humphead wrasse. So, it is not exclusively macro-marine life on this trip.

The Indo Siren’s food was 4 and 5 star restaurant quality. Food ranged from western style offerings to classic Indonesian dishes. Food is served buffet style. There was always plenty of food. The dinner desserts were always exceptional. Everyone on the trip always looked forward to the dinner deserts!

The ship also has an excellent automated coffee machine and a soda machine which is always available.

All the beer you can drink is included in the price of the trip. So, drink up. While our group did drink, apparently other groups drank more than we did. We were told that on the cruise before ours, the crew was seriously concerned that they were going to run out of beer before the 10 days were up!

The Indo Siren and its crew were exceptional. They went out of their way to make sure very guest was happy and comfortable. Within the crew, there is one crew member that is known as the “fixer.” It is his/her job to make sure you are happy and comfortable. So, if it is within their control to make it happen, they will make it happen. For example, I was told by our cruise’s fixer that if someone showed up with tank bands and a manifold and asked to double up two 80s and dive the entire cruise in doubles, she would have said yes.

My only criticism of the boat is a very minor one. While the Indo Siren has plenty of lead weight, the weight they have are only in even amounts – 2 or 4 pound hard weights. Without 1 or 3 pounders, even though I knew I was overweight, during the 32 dives we did, I did not try to dial in my weight any better because the lowest amount of weight I could drop was 4 pounds vs. dropping 2 pounds if they had 1 or 3 pound hard weights also. I simply did not want to risk finding out I was a little underweighted at the end of a dive when I popped to surface.

Also, before I went on the trip, I contacted Worldwide Dive and Sail and asked them if I and my wife could use our DIN regulators. I was told that they only support yoke fittings and that they would provide us with a converter. Because I did not want to use a converter, I converted both of my and my wife’s first stages from DIN to yoke before the trip. Upon arrival, I found out that their tanks had XS Scuba valves that use the valve inserts so using a DIN regulator is not a problem, and, in fact, half of the divers on the trip had DIN regulators. I would have much rather used my DIN setup. But, it was not that big a deal.

The Indo Siren and Worldwide Dive and Sail are a class act. The boat, crew and diving were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Visited on 05/2011 - Submitted on 08/05/2014
Read all Indo Siren Dive Liveaboard reviews

BE THE FIRST TO GET NEWS AND SPECIALS

Sign up for the mailing list today