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Dive Review of Arenui in

September, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Laura Goddard, Singapore, SG (1 report)
Report Number 6315
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Egypt, Honduras (Roatan), Belize (CayeCaulker), California, Australia (East
and West coasts), Maldives, Palau, Thailand (Kao Tao, Similians),
Philippines (Anilao, Tubbataha), Malaysia (Aur, Sipadan), Indonesia (Bali,
Gilis, Bunaken, Lembeh, Raja Ampat, Komodo)... for now!
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
24   to 29    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
5   to 25    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Usual safety rules on depth/time etc  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
I usually have a camera setup (compact but with strobe, macro lens,
wide-angle lens and extra night light), while boyfriend usually has video
setup, so fair amount of kit to handle.

Arenui is ideal for photo/video as plenty of room to setup, store, clean,
charge etc and crew helpful with helping to rinse and carry onto tenders
prior to dive.

Specific info: at least 2 charging table areas with lots of plugs including
some for 110v if needed, needless to say they have adaptors too but also,
in restaurant/lounge area there are lots of other tables most of which also
have plug sockets in reach, so generally there was never a problem finding
space to charge equipment or settle down with laptop to edit etc  then,
also in lounge/restaurant, there are 2 computers setup for both PC and MAC
operations with software for editing and they also have 2 LCD screens in
restaurant/lounge which can be used to show videos or slideshows or even to
help if photo pros are giving talks, plus they use these for dive briefings
so you get to see dive site map and also some samples of critters at that
specific site in dive prep area (front of boat) they have rinse tanks just
for cameras, as youd expect  crew have large plastic crates to
transport/store equipment between main boat and tender for diving so all
very easy! Plus, the cruise directors are both there to help with tips and
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Its a stunning looking vessel, no doubt. It sounds like a cliché,
but I love the fact that it looks like a pirate ship! When the big black
sails are up it looks very impressive and they let us take a ride out on
tender boats just so we could get photographs!

The first trip was in November 2009 (we actually went out on 2nd ever trip
they ran, so that was late Nov 2009 but in Raja), so its not an old
vessel, but the wood has a great worn-in feel since most of the wooden
areas are reclaimed wood (from Javanese house etc) so when you run your
hands across the banisters or pillars theres a real sense of history and
craftsmanship too. Having done a few more modern style liveaboards, Id say
I still prefer this wooden style. Its just a much more interesting way to
cruise through an area like Indonesia. After all, youre on holiday to see
the region so it should reflect the style of the region too (I think) so
the Bali style thats so famous obviously suits a liveaboard sailing
through Indonesia.

In terms of layout, its 8 guest cabins: 4 upper deck (2 of these are
master-suites with great views since the windows stretch along one whole
side of the room, and you enter these 4 upper cabins along the side of the
boat, just behind the restaurant/kitchen area), 4 lower deck (which you
access via staircase that goes through centre of restaurant/lounge). By the
way, dont forget to take a look at this staircase as its a great example
of this reclaimed wood thing where the panels are authentic Indonesian
carvings, presumably from some old house!

Aside from the 4 upper cabins, the rest of that level consists of a
restaurant/lounge (with kitchen tucked in behind too) and then the outdoor
dive prep area (this takes up space all the way to the front of the boat).
The restaurant/lounge is spacious there are seating areas against the
sides of the boat (on each side, so perfect for a couple on either side),
with great views as you sail along, and also on the sides they have created
corner seating areas (with tables) and the design is more like a
daybed/sofa so also great for relaxing if watching a film or slideshow etc.
Either side of the central staircase you have 2 long tables so ideal for 6
or maybe 8 guests on each (ideally 3 down each side, so only 1 person has
to sit in the middle). While talking about lounge and seating, this may
seem an odd point but I have found on some other boats that they make a big
seating area all against one side so then its hard to let everyone move
around. For instance, if youre having a buffet lunch is can be a pain if
you end up being squashed in at the middle. On the Arenui theyve been
clever with space so this isnt an issue. The side seating is obviously no
problem and then the central tables still only have one side against the
staircase which means only 1 person could be locked in.

The front dive prep area is a nice open space. Seating in the middle, so
you dont have to wobble around with booties. At the side there are spaces
for each persons kit so I put literally all my dive stuff there (extra
lights, rash guards, pointers, spare mask etc etc) and just left it there
the whole trip. The rinse tanks are out there too, so as usual one for
masks etc and then a separate one for just cameras. With 2 tenders, we
usually kitted up in 2 groups but enough space to all kit up together too.

On the roof you have the wheelhouse, an outdoor dining area and the
skydeck. The dining area is big enough to have everyone eat up here (which
we did a few times). In front, you have 2 sun-loungers (both like double
loungers so great for 4 guests). This is probably the best place for
sunbathing but of course it gets pretty hot, so a lot of people used the
back of the deck (behind wheelhouse). This is the area best for massages
too. There are 4 big daybed/sofa areas (2 on each side) and another sofa
area along the edge basically theres lots of room for lying down! There
are covers so you dont get burnt, but depending on where the sun moves to
you can also find a spot for sunbathing!

CABIN: We were lucky enough to be in one of the master-suites on upper
deck (cabin name = Rama), with windows down the side of the room so a real
panorama view! The bed is really comfy, with a bedside table and lights
above the pillows for reading. Theres a sofa/daybed against the window
side  too. The bathroom is pretty (and clean! which is the main thing most
people want from a bathroom)  its a step-in open design with wooden
floors so no fear of slipping over when boat moves! Ive been on some boats
where taking a shower means the risk of banging your head from badly placed
fixtures etc but no worries here on the Arenui 

FOOD/ENTERTAINMENT: Not much to tell you except the food is delicious hard
not to over-eat every day! Its the usual setup with small breakfast
before early morning dive, back for big breakfast before late morning
dive, then buffet spread for lunch before afternoon dive/s, afternoon
snacks with combo of sweet and savoury before a night dive, then 3-course
a-la-carte dinner!!! The crew ask you what eggs youd like before the
1st dive and then later at lunch they check your preference for dinner from
the menu choice that day! Key difference to other liveaboards Ive done
(apart from the a-la-carte and overall quality) is the range of healthy
salads etc. Some dive trips you fill up on pasta/rice/heavy food, but here
you have a lot of lighter options too! Only concern I heard about was some
people asking for more fresh fish (especially sushi) but there are
reasons I find that stupid:  youre in a national park area with no-take
zones so we need the fish down there for our dives not served up on the
plates (and personally Im not eating fish nowadays as read too much about
decline in fish stocks the world over so find it hard to justify being part
of the problem when there are other things to eat)! Aside from the food,
youll have plenty of chance to catch up on some reading (lots of magazines
and fish books onboard) or go out on one of the kayaks  to explore the

DIVING: As mentioned, you dive from two tenders  max 16 guests, so never a
problem with space. Generally dive groups are small (with 2 cruise
directors and 3 guides) so in our case we went out with eagle-eyes Toby
(me, buddy/boyfriend and guide just 3 of us for EVERY dive)! Again, diving
is easy to tailor if youre looking for certain kinds of marine life to
photo you can let the guide know or if you just want to follow and be lead
then thats easy too. I felt safe and looked after with all the diving but
also had the freedom to do my own thing (within usual safety standards of
buddy system). Back-roll off tenders is easy and the crew are there to pass
down cameras etc. Sturdy ladder for return and all the pampering and help
youd expect from 5-star service including a refreshing face-towel when
you get back to the main boat and/or a hot chocolate after the night dive

Komodo is fantastic as youd expect for somewhere at the centre of the
Coral Triangle with such incredible biodiversity! We saw lots of critters
that Id not seen elsewhere with muck dives to rival Lembeh. My notes say;
pygmy (bargibanti and denise), pipefish, razor fish, giant and spotfin
frogfish, devil fish, wasp fish, cowfish, stone fish, leaf fish, star
gazors (first time!!!!), ornate ghosts, giant mantis, marbled and clown
snake eel (both firsts for me too!!!), banded sea snakes, ribbon eels,
orangutan crabs, Xeno crabs, zebra crabs (stunning!!!), boxer crabs,
cuttlefish, octopus (reef, coconut, starrynight and white V), lobsters,
squid and even bobtail squid (possibly juvenile!!), not to mention heaps of
nudibranchs and weird corals/sponges/sea-apples (cuter than normal sea
cucumbers) etc!

We also had really fishy dives with schools swarming the reef and those
great sounds from fast moving packs! On top of that there were chances to
see manta (we had a few nice encounters but as always its a lot about luck
so fingers crossed you get a big group and nice visibility in manta
alley) and even some big eagle rays! Log-book says; sweetlips, triggers,
unicorns, surgeons, needlefish, anemones, barracuda, bumpheads, dogtooth
tuna, manta, torpedo rays, eagle rays, bamboo sharks, grey reefs, white
tips, turtles and so on

I wont go into much more about diving Komodo as you all know that every
dive is different, so no 100% guarantees for any site plus there are heaps
of other places to read up on what diving is like in this area so my main
objective was to let you know what its like to dive from this specific

FINALLY: Overall, I would (and have been) recommend the Arenui. For those
on a tighter budget, Id still suggest trying to save up for a special
occasion as this kind of luxury liveaboard is worth it.

For those who like mucking in and being hard core divers who prefer to
think of liveaboards as more basic, then I can understand but I guess for
me a dive trip is also supposed to be relaxing. Too many other boats Ive
been on arent good for really relaxing, so you end the trip exhausted.
Its great to feel tired after a week or two of diving  and inevitable if
you do 3, 4 or 5 a day  but if you also feel totally shattered from maybe
not sleeping well or not eating healthy then thats no fun! Id rather know
I can get some good rest as well as great dives, so this is perfect
balance. I also guess some divers are almost concerned that the more
luxurious a boat is the less priority will be given to diving, but thats
not the case here. The whole setup is ready for 5 dives (or 4 if moving
boat) and even if youre the only one who wants the night dive then the
crew are still very happy to take you out for a one-on-one guided tour!

I also think the area lends itself to a relaxing cruise. The scenery is
beautiful so when boat is moving between sites you get to enjoy the
Indonesian archipelago, but the other advantage to diving Indonesia
(specially Komodo) is that there are so many dive sites scattered around
that the crew can adapt to wheres best to dive. If they know some other
boats might be heading for a site they can usually move the schedule
around, or if there are any weather issues again its easy to move things
to different days. Some places Ive dived seem to have a few really
incredible dive spots, surrounded by mediocre ones, so that means everyone
heads to the same places  or it means changing the schedule is tough. But
in Indonesia the areas are so packed with options that the crew can tailor
things. Of course they still have a planned schedule (which you can see
before you book) and will make sure they visit the really famous sites at
least once, but they can also react to current situations or guests needs
so a trip on this boat really feels like youre out there in the middle of
nowhere, exploring!
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Other dive reports on Arenui

All Indonesia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Indonesia
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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