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Dive Review of Archipelago Expeditions/Sea Safari III in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat/Misool

November, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Joan Fuhry, CA, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 5798
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Banda/Maluku, Galapagos, Micronesia/Chuuk/Pohnpei, Malaysia, Caribbean,
Florida, Monterey Bay, Red Sea, Hawaii, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
78   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth/time limits gently, enforced; however, early surfacers were taken
back to the the mother ship as long as another tender remained for later
divers.  Pretty much we all dived our own profiles.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Freshwater rinse tank for cameras.  Crew very careful with photo equipment.
 Topside padded table for cameras between dives with dry towels.  No
pressurized air jets.  Multiple power strips for charging stations inside
dining salon area.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
5 stars    
As a previous client of the Archipelago Adventurer II in Banda/Maluku area,
I was excited to return to the AAII for the 12-day Raja Ampat itinerary. 
Upon arriving in Sorong, we found that the AAII had been damaged in an
accident on the previous trip and was in drydock for repair. The management
scrambled and within a couple of days had leased the Sea Safari III
(formerly with Kararu-Komodo) and prepped her as a substitute boat to save
our dive trip, including buying and installing 2 new air compressors. 
Outstanding effort by Archipelago Adventures management and staff!!!  The
SSIII's captain and engineering crew came with the boat, but the superb
AAII service and dive op crew transferred over, to our delight.  The SSIII
proved to be so much more stable and comfortable compared to the pronounced
side-to-side rolling of the AAII, even in flat water (the AAII's
biggest--and only--negative). 

There were some drawbacks to this arrangement though:  we missed the
luxurious accommodations of the AAII which we had experienced and expected,
including the large rooms with breatheable air, the dedicated camera salon,
in-room amenities, outdoor dining deck and surrounding cushioned banquette,
but also on-board Nitrox and watermaker. The SSIII's rooms were
generously-sized with ensuite combo marine toilets and showers, with
varying water pressure from drips to good.  Beds were comfy and linens
changed x3 during voyage. Many of the lower rooms were gassy with diesel
fumes, causing some guests to escape to sleep on upper outside decks on
lounge cushions and/or chairs. Respiratory difficulties affected many of
the lower cabin guests, causing some lost dives.  Accommodations for the
large AAII staff were inadequate, so that some staff had to sleep in the
dining salon on the floor.  They're such a great staff, we felt badly for

The dive op is top-notch:  Ali has departed, leaving the irrepressible Made
as lead DM, with his famous yellow socks, infectious laugh, hammerhead hat,
and great briefings  ending with "Let's go DIVING!!" Cruise
Directors Erwin (NZ) and Nora (Germany) were professional, fun, helpful,
and responsive, as is the entire AA operation.  I especially appreciated
Erwin's efforts to keep divers from accidentally injuring marine life. 

A couple of freebies thrown in (like comp'd alcohol or a T-shirt) would
have been a nice gesture for the lack of the AAII's benefits like Nitrox,
the usual generous amount of fresh water, and breatheable air in the lower
cabins; but the fact that we were able to complete our dive trip in its
entirety meant the most.  And for this the AA folks deserve major kudos. 

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Other dive reports on Archipelago Expeditions

All Indonesia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Indonesia
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