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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Arenui, Apr, 2012,

by GlobeTrotter, Buckingham, GB (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 6584.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Thailand, Majorca
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 29 to 30 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 8 to 20 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 30m recreational diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Although I am not an underwater photographer, I could see that everyone who was seemed quite happy with the facilities. Debbie and Jerry always there to help out with any queries, spare batteries, and such. There is a Mac for people to view their photos and other people's, and lots of space for charging cameras and other equipment.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our second trip on Arenui and, if anything, it was even better than the previous time. The crew were just as welcoming and efficient. As for Debbie and Jerry - impossibly, they were even more brilliant. Debbie's welcome briefing was upbeat and amusing and covered everything that the guests needed to know. She has such a lovely bubbly personality and is super-efficient at her job - what more could anyone want?!

Jerry's amazing grasp of many languages ensures that all guests know exactly what's going on, no matter what their nationality. Together Debbie and Jerry make a fantastic team - nothing is too much trouble for them and not even the most demanding guest could find fault.

The diving was amazing. We were in Debbie's group and, as with everything else, her guiding underwater is brilliant. She finds the tiniest critters and spots everything else with the greatest ease.

We had a fantastic dive at the Manta Sandy cleaning station, where we were entertained by so many graceful and beautiful mantas as they circled and swooped - almost on top of us! Breathtaking!

We did a few night dives and oh! the luxury, as you climb on board, of being greeted with a hot flannel and a cup of delicious, steaming hot chocolate!! Such decadence! Not only that, but after every dive nice dry towels are waiting as you come out of the shower on deck.

We also did a dusk dive hoping to see mandarin fish mating. We didn't have to wait very long before several of these beautiful, multi-coloured little fish came out to play. That was a very special dive as I had only seen them in photographs before that.

Another highlight was seeing three giant frogfish, such amazingly ugly but really endearing creatures! The corals are so breathtakingly beautiful, the marine life so colourful and strange huge
turtles munching the coral a few feet away, bumphead parrotfish, scorpion fish, tiny pygmy seahorses and other tiny critters - far too many to mention here. Indonesia seems to have it all.

The shore excursions we did were really good too. We had never been to the Banda Islands before and we visited Banda Neira, where the original Dutch fort has been restored - a fascinating piece of history. We visited a plantation where nutmegs, cinammon, mace and cloves grow. A couple of other times, the tenders took us to the beach where we could swim and do a bit of beachcombing. Back on board we are greeted with a very welcome ice-cold flannel.

Another fabulous dive was over the lava field - it looked a bit like a moonscape at first, all hard coral with many fish darting in and out. Large, weird tree-like structures of hard coral rising from the bottom - all very different from any other dives we had done.

At the end of each dive, the tender is there waiting for you and all your dive gear taken from you before you climb up the nice long ladder into the tender, and a bottle of water handed to you.

The food is out of this world. How on earth the chef manages to produce such succulent and varied dishes after being at sea for over a week is beyond me! Breakfast and lunch are buffet but dinner is served. When the boat is not moving, dinner is served upstairs in the sky restaurant under the stars - this is gourmet dining at its best.

The sundeck was amazing plenty of wide wooden sunbeds, facing in various directions, out in the sun or in the shade (your choice), with really thick comfy mattresses. Again, more towels supplied on deck for you to use on the sunbeds. Here, also, you can have a massage - a real luxury lying there while the boat gently sways, lulling you to sleep.

All in all, a trip on the Arenui is the most wonderful experience, whether you've done 100 dives or 5,000. If you want first-class diving and first-class luxury with first-class cruise directors and crew, this is the boat for you.
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Subscriber's Comments

By William Bynum in TX, US at Jun 11, 2012 22:03 EST  
Can you tell me what the diver to guide ratio was? Thanks
By Patricia Benton in ZZ, GB at Jun 12, 2012 04:28 EST  
There are four guides for maximum 16 divers. Hope this helps!
By Dean Conrad in TX, US at Feb 23, 2013 23:36 EST  
Have a question for you about payment - We were told by the owner they cannot accept credit cards, so we would have to wire him the money. This just seems a little shady and scary, and I was hoping you could tell me if this was how your payment was handled? Thanks so much for any info!
By Laura Goddard in ZZ, JP at Mar 21, 2013 03:39 EST  
Arenui takes credit cards onboard (ie; at the end of the cruise for any onboard bill - maybe extra massages, alcohol, souvenirs or possibly additional extras not finalized before balance paid; hotels, flights etc booked by our Bali office). We can take CC onboard as we have the machine on the boat - where the card can be swiped and signed for in person - which is acceptable to Indonesian banks. But for deposits etc we ask for a wire transfer; usually internet banking nowadays. This is because Indo banks are very inflexible on CC payments without the card in person (machine payment) as they have had too any cases of fraud, so we also dont feel it would be practical at this time. FYI; we are still looking into other options, but haven't found anything we feel 100% comfortable with yet as secure payment for our guests ... but overall it's really not been an issue for the majority of our guests (especially given that internet banking makes it so simple) ... in fact we find ourselves 75% fully booked until 2016 with many of those 2+ time repeat guests :-)
By Laura A. Sonnenmark in VA, US at Jan 05, 2014 20:12 EST  
This is my dream trip--including the Banda Islands! I wonder if you could give me a more detailed idea of what the currents are like? I mean, are we talking fast drift diving or washing machine up-and-down?
By Laura A. Sonnenmark in VA, US at Jan 05, 2014 20:33 EST  
This is my dream trip--including the Banda Islands! Can you tell me more about what the currents were like? I mean, were they like fast drift dives or more like the rip-roaring, washing machine up-and-down variety?
By Laura Goddard in ZZ, JP at Jan 05, 2014 20:40 EST  
Mostly calm dives and then some fast drift dives; nothing like the washing-machine stuff you get in other locations! Really great reefs and lots of fish life as pretty untouched still. Hope this helps :-)
By Laura A. Sonnenmark in VA, US at Jan 06, 2014 15:58 EST  
Thanks and sorry for the double posting! I'm also very interested in the shore excursion to Banda Neira and the plantation. This was all in one day, yes? Were there any other opportunites for shore visits--I don't mean going to the beach (although that would be lovely) but things of an historical or cultural nature?
By Laura Goddard in ZZ, JP at Jan 07, 2014 01:05 EST  
There's a visit to the plantation which also includes a walk through the village, visit to the fort and stop off at a museum etc, but the Maluku-Raja itinerary also includes other shore visits like the beach village in south Raja and if the longer itinerary then also a trip up to the pearl farm of Raja. More on all the dive sites but also shore visits at the itinerary page; thearenui.com/Maluku-Banda-RajaAmpat-SA.html (if easier, email me for more info; laura @ thearenui .com)
By Laura Goddard in ZZ, JP at Jan 07, 2014 01:50 EST  
There's a visit to the plantation which also includes a walk through the village, visit to the fort and stop off at a museum etc, but the Maluku-Raja itinerary also includes other shore visits like the beach village in south Raja and if the longer itinerary then also a trip up to the pearl farm of Raja. More on all the dive sites but also shore visits at the itinerary page; thearenui.com/Maluku-Banda-RajaAmpat-SA.html (if easier, email me for more info; laura @ thearenui .com)
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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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