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Dive Review of Amira in

August, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Bode, Braunschweig, DE
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6715 has 1 Helpful vote
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Thailand, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Phillipines, PNG, Solomon Islands
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
22   to 26    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 25    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive time 60 min. Could be extended. Usual depth limits when diving on air
(40m) or NITROX (30m).   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There is a large, dry camera area behind the dive deck with a lot of space
for charging and changing your gear. There are two big water tanks on the
dive deck for watering cameras only. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was my 3rd trip with M/V Amira. I joined the group in Bali where we
went on board for the 14-nights trip to Komodo. Getting out of the surge in
front of the south coast of Bali was a bit rough but as soon as we turned
into Lombok Straight and continued our way to the east along the north
coast of Lombok and Sumbawa the sea calmed down and the seasickers returned
to the upper deck.

The weather was fine during the whole trip. The only problem were the
strong south-eastern trade winds in August. I have been to Komodo already 5
times before but never encountered such strong winds on any of my earlier
visits to Komodo. Also water temperatures were more extrem than usually. We
meassured 26°C in the north and only 22°C in Horseshoe Bay in the
south. So most of us were wearing some kind of head cover to protect our

We followed the north coast of Sumbawa with dives at Moyo and Sangeang.
Especially the latter volcanic island offers interesting black sand critter
dives. We found lots of different members of the scorpion fish family and
many different kinds of nudibranchs.

After three nights we at last reached the northern highlights of Komodo
National Park and started more serious diving. For divers with a tighter
time budget it is adviceable to start a Komodo trip not in Bali but in
Labuhan Bajo on Flores or Sape on Sumbawa. The trip from Bali to Komodo
takes quite some time and though the diving on the way is nice it is by far
not as spectacular as the top dive sites of Komodo.
For us this was no problem. We spent the days on the upper deck, visited
Satonda island with its big crater lake in the interiour and had lectures
on marine biology by Robert Hofrichter, an Austrian marine biologist.

Diving in Komodo was spectacular. We had lots of sharks (Whitetip,
Blacktip, Grey Reef Sharks) and schooling fish at Crystal & Castle
Rock. There were even some dolphins coming quite close during the end of a
As Komodo is getting more and more popular there were a lot of other live
aboards and smaller diving boats from the diving centres in Labuhan Bajo
around. So we never had these top spots for us alone. There were always
other groups of divers in the water with us.
We also did some more action packed dives like Shotgun and Golden Channel
which were good fun and a way to get out of the crowd. 
Unfortunately we did not see the Mantas at Karang Makassar this time.

To get out of the crowd we headed south into Horseshoe Bay. This proved
quite tricky as we had to ride through the high waves in the south. The
Pindito had not made it in the night before but we managed to slip into the
calm waters of the bay quite easily. At last we were on our own with only
the komodo dragons on the beach behind Canibal Rock watching us. 
Water temperatures were a shock. We never measured more than 23°C on
our computers. Most dives took place in 22°C cold water. Visibilty was
around 15 m - far from excellent. So we put on our makro lenses and
concentrated on critters in this makro heaven. 
Due to the cold water our dives were not es long as normally but we saw a
lot of frogfish, ghost pipe fish, zebra crabs and colemani shrimps. After
the night dives we were welcomed back on board by the crew with warm
towels, hot chocolate or ginger tea.

After leaving Horseshoe Bay we spent the rest of our trip between Komodo
and Rinca. We visited the komodo dragons on Rinca and had excellent makro
dives at Wainito where we discovered a beautiful Blue Ring Octopus. 
We finished our 14 nights trip with more dives around Padar Island, Tatawa
Kecil and Tatawa Besar. Batu Bolong was another highlight with crystal
clear water and big fish.

This was my third trip on board of M/V Amira. Compared to the other two
trips before I must say that the overall standard and the attitude of the
crew has improved continuesly during the last two years. The manager and
crew are doing a good job. Especially the guys on the diving platform in
the back of the ship are an excellent team. They are very helpful and
before you can ask somebody for help they are already there and give you a
We used all three speedboats for diving. As some of the guests did not join
all the dives there was always plenty of space on the boats. Tanks were
always well filled up. European divers also can use DIN first stages. So
they do not need to carry INT-Adaptors. There are also 15l tanks available
on request (5$ per tank extra).
NITROX is offered free of charge. There was one dive guide for a maximum of
5 divers. During many dives we were only four or even two divers and our

The spacious a/c cabins are cleaned every day and have ensuite bathrooms
with hot and cold water. The best cabins are on the upper deck with big
windows. The whole ship is really huge (54 m) and there is enough space on
the shaded main deck, in the huge restaurant or the big lounge in the back
for relaxing and talking after the dives.
Food was excellent with a small buffet style breakfast before the first
dive and a big by order breakfast after the first dive. Lunch was also
served buffet style. For lunch the chef offers an excellent mix of
indonesian & asian cuisine which I enjoyed most. For dinner there is a
three course meal with asian & western cuisine. I personally would have
prefered more asian food for dinner. 

There are also two small kayaks on board for those who want to skip a dive
and do something else. Since August guests can join rebreather courses and
rent one of the two units of Poseidon Discovery MKVI rebreather sets.

In the lounge is a big flatscreen tv for presentations, watching movies or
for having a first look at your underwater video footage.

Though I really hate cold water I enjoyed this trip very much. I learned
quite a lot of marine biology during the trip, thanks to Robert Hofrichter,
who mercilessly rang the bell for a new lecture after dinner. 
This was a special trip as normally the Komodo trips start in Labuhan Bajo.
If you are interested in more out of the way destinations in Indonesia
watch the schedule of Amira. They are always trying out new itineraries. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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