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Dive Review of Damai in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat, Triton Bay

March, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Emerson, MN, US
Contributor   (13 reports)
Report Number 5421
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Komodo, Ambon, Lembeh, Fiji, Palau, Solomons, Mergui, Galapagos, Hawaii,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, dry  
Water Temp
78   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We were allowed to dive responsibly with no real limits on our diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 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  
See review below
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 $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
In mid March, my teenage daughter and I spent 12 days aboard the newest
Indonesian liveaboard, the MSY Damai.  We flew from Jakarta to Kaimena
where we were looking to dive the sites of Triton Bay and then move
northward through the Misool region and ultimately finishing in Papuan port
of Sorong.

The trip got off to a rough start when we learned that we would have to
skip the Triton Bay portion of our trip.   Local thugs were demanding high
fees and threatening the safety of the boat for those who did not pay.  We
later talked to another captain who had been threatened by these locals. 
Until this situation is resolved, visitors should plan to avoid this area. 

The Damai provided an incredible experience for a group of  8 divers.  Each
of the four double rooms were spacious and comfortable, more like a nice
hotel than what liveaboard visitors are accustomed to.  The cruise staff
was top notch and everyone focused on making sure that our experience was
outstanding.  The food was very good, but fell a notch below what it will
probably be in a year after the boat gains more experience.  If you never
spent anytime in the water, you would enjoy your time on this beautiful

The facilities for a dive photographer were convenient and spacious.  Two
of our travelers were professional photographers and three more of us were
serious amateurs.  Simon Buxton was the headline professional who provided
tutelage to those of us who were wanting to improve their skills.  My
photos got better throughout the week and his tips were invaluable.  Of
course his work set a high bar for us to aspire to some day.

Of course, the real stars of the two weeks were the reefs, fishes, and
critters of Raja Ampat.  Other than a manta free manta dive, each one of
our four daily dives provided incredible sights to see and photo.  The
reefs of Misool were spectacular.  I have enough soft coral reefscapes to
bore my friends and family for years.  We visited the mangroves of western
MIsool, which was controversial since most boats have avoided that region
since the croc attack last year.  We were careful and had a croc free day
although I did have dreams that night about big reptiles swimming out of
the mangrove roots.  

I was also surprised at some very nice muck diving along the shores of
Bantana where we saw many of the critters one would find in Ambon or
Lembeh.  Of course, every dive included some time looking for one of four
species of pygmy seahorses that inhabit this area.  My photos document the
many sea fans where they live.  Finally, the dive sites near the Kri eco
resort in the north were every bit as fishy as the brochures tell you.  The
density of life is amazing and reminded me of the signature pinnacle dives
of Komodo.

Since most of us were experienced divers, we were left to dive until we
were out of air and growing gills.  On the other hand, the dive crew was
there to ensure safety on a couple of sites where we learned about the
intense (and even whirlpool type) currents that can appear suddenly.  We
always had one dive guide for each pair of divers.  While you dont have to
be a super diver to vacation here, you should be comfortable in some
difficult situations.  As a father of a young diver on the trip, I was
always impressed with the care taken to ensure that we were all safe.

So even without Triton Bay, this trip exceeded my high expectations. We saw
an underwater world that can only be seen in a handful of places on our
small planet.  I definitely recommend a liveaboard option for anyone going
to this vast area of diverse diving.  A minimum of ten to fourteen days
should be taken to cover the major sub regions of Raja Ampat.  Go and you
will not be disappointed.  
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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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