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Dive Review of Amira in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat & Halmahera

April, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Bode, Braunschweig, DE
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6528
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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

Water Temp
28   to 29    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 30    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
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 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 below with 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):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
2 stars   
5 stars    
I joined the Amira on an exploratory trip from Sorong to Ternate
(Halmahera). We were greeted at the airport by members of staff with a
bottle of water for every one. Transfer to the boat was easy and fast. Due
to problems with Sorong imigration we had to spend one day in Dampier
Strait where we had three excellent dives - so we made the most of this

The day after we already arrived in Misool where we started with diving the
Daram Islands. As Graham Abbott from Diving4Images had joined the trip as
dive guide we had good briefings and excellent dives on colourful reefs and
big schools of fish. The next days we slowly continued further west to
Fiabacet and Pele and reached eventually Nampele Island with the Blue Water
Mangroves. We were lucky: No saltwater crocodiles but excellent viz and
many very good wide angle pictures.

Our next stop were the Pisang Islands in the Halmahera Sea. Situated in the
middle of the Indonesian Throughflow we had very fishy dives in the current
and some surge in the end of the dive. We saw many huge Napoleons, some
reef sharks (grey/blacktip) and schooling fish.

From Pisang we continued further west to Obi Island with the aim of
exploring some potential sites on the south-western edge of this huge
island. The surveys we did and also the dives were disappointing. We only
found two decent spots with average coral growth and some fish but most
potential diving areas in the south and west seem to be destroyed by
dynamite fishing. On our way north towards Halmahera we saw huge schools of
pilot wales.

Our first dive close to Bacan Island was fantastic. We saw the biggest
school of Barracudas I have ever seen. There were als schooling Jacks and
some Napoleons Wrasses and blacktips cruising in the deep. Inside the bay,
not too far away are some very good critter spots. We found a Rhinopias (R.
eschmeyeri), Blue Ring Octopus, Ghostpipefish and other interesting stuff.

Further north we had some very good dives at the Goraici Islands. We found
excellent hard coral and in the current colourful soft coral. We spent a
whole day in Manta Bay searching for Mantas but saw only one. According to
the locals there are sometimes hundreds of Mantas cruising in the bay. The
bay itself has been heavily bombed in the past. All the flat reef tops are
destroyed and there are only coral left on steep slopes and walls.

In the end we had some critter dives on the south-eastern side of Mapia
Island. This was quite disappointing as we saw very few critters and nudis.
Maybe water temperature was too high.

I chose the trip on board of Amira because it offered not just the usual
Raja Ampat itinerary. This combination of excellent diving in Raja Ampat,
open sea dives at the Pisang Islands and new or seldom visited dive sites
on the west coast of Halmahera made the whole trip a lifetime experience.

Amira is a very huge boat. With a total length of 54 m she can accomodate
up to 18 guests in twin and single a/c cabins with ensuite bathrooms. The
cabins on the lower deck are a bit bigger, upper deck cabins have big
windows and more light. There is a huge shaded area in the front and
another smaller shaded area on the sun deck - our favourite place for a
sundowner. There are enough deck chairs for relaxing between dives.
Behind the restaurant is a tv area with a huge flatscreen.  The outside
lounge in the back of the main deck is used for briefings and relaxing
between dives.

Food was excellent and varied. There is a small breakfast before the first
dive and a big breakfast after you can order before you go diving. Lunch is
served buffet style in the restaurant and there is a three course meal in
the evening.

The crew was very helpful and friendly. Escpecially the guys on the dive
deck made a good job and always gave a hand when needed. 
We went diving on three speedboats. With 19 guests on our trip some of the
dive boats got quite full.

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 some 15l
tanks available on request. NITROX is offered free of charge. There was one
dive guide for a maximum of 5 divers. During most dives we were only four
divers and our guide.

As mentioned before, this was a once in a lifetime trip. Bruno Hopf, the
Skipper is from Switzerland and used to work on the Paisabatu before. Now
he is co-owner of the Amira. He is always willing to try out new
itineraries. So watch the schedule of Amira.
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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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