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Dive Review of Dive Damai in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Dive Damai, May, 2012,

by Daniel Benson, OR, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 6568 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving The world. Egypt, Hawaii, Philippines, Malaysia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, surge, currents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Be an adult.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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 We were a group of photographers so the amount of gear we had in the camera room was pretty outrageous. The camera room is a little small, but laid out well and accommodated us. There are 10 stations, each have 220 and 110 v outlets.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This is arguably the best dive live aboard in existence today. It's spacious and has 10 guests maximum. It travels about 5 knots, but to maximize the diving it travels at night. Although the brochure advertises 5 dives a day, we routinely got 4 dives a day since each dive was at least 1 hour, with many being upwards of 90 minutes.
The itinerary is outstanding, with a large variety. We saw mantas (12 at one time) and pygmy sea horses and everything in between. We did muck diving, mangrove diving, sea mount diving. Current and calm. We did it all.
Our trip went from Tenate to Sarong in 2 weeks. It was a group of photographers.
Toward the end of the trip we were comfortable enough with each other to share our secrets, and turns out every one of us were breathing our tanks down to 150 psi or less. The diving was that good!
Cabin #5 is the largest. It's also right above the water line. It's closes to the engine room, and is somewhat dark and smells of diesel fuel.
Cabin #6 is next largest, but the nicest because it's bright and has a semiprivate deck.
There is another cabin that is delightful. Sorry I don't know the number. It's got a bunk bed, and is the only on on the top deck. It has it's own semiprivate deck, and breathtaking sunsets are part of the deal. Email me if you need the cabin number.
As large as the Damai I is, the Damai II is even larger.
It would be nice to have a hot water shower on the dive deck. Most people toweled off, then headed for their room for a hot water shower after each dive.
The dive guides are excellent. They sure can find the critters! We would spend as much time as we wanted photographing a subject, then turn to find the dive guides waiting patiently on the next perfect subject! There were no more than 4 guest to each dive guide.
At first I was enticed with the idea of unlimited massages. However, the diving was so good I only got 1 massage because I want to miss a dive!
Even in this remote part of the world we saw evidence of dynamite fishing with the consequent reef destruction.
The airlines (LIONAIR) has a very stiff surcharge for baggage over weight. (One of our group paid $400.00 in over weight charges.) The boat has scuba gear for you to use. Take my advice: LEAVE YOUR GEAR AT HOME. Your gear is no better than theirs. I took my hoseless dive computer and primary regulator since I have a special mouthpiece on it. Otherwise I used all their stuff. We only had to pay $40.00 extra!
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Subscriber's Comments

By William Bynum in TX, US at May 31, 2012 19:03 EST  
Just returned from second trip on Damai 2 (ternate to ambon) Exceptional organization and staff. Anyone considering an Indonesia liveaboard should take advantage of this extraordinary experience.
By David E Reubush in VA, US at Jun 07, 2012 16:26 EST  
I'm running behind (as usual). I was on the Damai II in Raja Ampat in March with Burt Jones. I'll try to get around to a full review shortly. In any event, diving was its usual RA wonderful as mentioned by Daniel. However, I have now been to RA in March, April, and May. In both of the previous trips the weather was fantastic. This year in March all it did was RAIN. The constant rain made a couple of things obvious that otherwise would not be a problem. The boat needs someplace where you can suit-up out of the rain. Putting on a soaking wet wetsuit in the pouring down rain is not fun. Also, the boat needs more racks/bars to hang up wet bathing suits in the room when you can't hang them up on the lines on the deck. I will also note that the D2 does have a hot shower on the deck - it just sometimes takes a bit of time for the hot water to get there.
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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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