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June 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Raja Ampat Liveaboard Update

from the June, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

As our writer noted, liveaboards sailing Raja Ampat have mushroomed from two to a dozen in just a few years. The numbers keep fluctuating as boats come and go.

These three liveaboards have received recent good reviews from Undercurrent readers (read their entire reviews, as well as other divers’ reports, by logging on to “Instant Reader Reports” at Undercurrent):

Seven Seas. This 20-diver boat started a year and a half ago; IMAX filmmaker Howard Hall has selected it as the base for the film project expedition he is doing this fall. “Dive crew and captain were outstanding,” says Les Bates (Centennial, CO) who went in March. “My wife only snorkels and the cruise director made sure she was in great spots.” Raja Ampat cruises go from October through February; a week-long cruise is $382 per day (www.thesevenseas.net).

SMY Ondina. This boat is geared toward the camerawielding. Deb Fugitt of City Seahorse regularly charters this boat for her photography seminars. It’s also geared for more experienced divers as the boarding requirement is a minimum 50 dives. “Crew did all the hard work so we could use our energy for maximum diving enjoyment,” says Paulino Gonzalez (New Port Richey, FL). Fugitt has 2009 trips in April, May and November; the 11- and 12-night trip rates are $3,755 and $4,095 respectively (www.cityseahorse.com).

MV Pindito. The wooden yacht with 16 divers maximum was extensively refitted and furnished in 2006. Owner Edi Frommenweiler is a Raja Ampat diving pioneer. “I was able to dive with him and learned so much,” says Kimberly Bayless (Coronado, CA) who went in January. “Food is unreal, all drinks except wine are included, and there is a personal masseuse on board.” The 11-day cruises go from October through April and cost $3,795 (www.pindito.com).

The newest addition. Ocean Rover, Fantasea Divers’ boat currently cruising Thailand, arrives in North Sulawesi this month, and will cruise Raja Ampat from September to December. The 10- to 12-day cruises are $4,700 to $5,640 (www.ocean-rover.com).

The MV Odyssea I is no more. Having just finished its Raja Ampat season, the motor cruiser had docked in Manado on May 11 when it got caught in a bad storm and was pushed on top of a reef, fatally damaging its hull. In a note on its website, Odyssea Divers said it was planning to help divers booked on the boat with “alternatives and assistance.” For more details, e-mail info.desk@odysseaasia.com.

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