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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

January, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Kimberly Krebs, MD, US
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports)
Report Number 6141
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Belize, Kona, Little Cayman, Turks & Caicos, Key Largo
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
80   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No depth or time restrictions.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large dry camera table inside and fairly large camera table on the dive
deck.  Indoor camera table had plenty of outlets and offered both US plugs
and Euro plugs.  During a fairly huge rainstorm, the roof above the indoor
camera table leaked and photographers suddenly had to jump into action to
remove everything from the table.  Beware of this!!
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
We were originally booked aboard the Archipelago Adventurer II, but it and
its replacement boat were removed from service before we could go on our
trip.  He had booked 18 months in advance and were suddenly without a boat
4 weeks before our trip.  We scrambled to find another liveaboard, and must
give many thanks to our travel agents at Reef & Rainforest as well as
Grand Komodo for getting us booked aboard the Raja Ampat Explorer for the
exact same dates that we had booked for the AAII.   We were two of six
total divers on board, all of us relocated from the AAII.  

We stayed in the below deck cabins while the other two couples were in the
two cabins on the top deck.  We were given full run of the lower cabins, so
we had more than enough space - we ended up keeping our luggage in one room
and sleeping in another.  We slept in the room all the way forward, which
was the only room downstairs with a double bed (the rest of the rooms were
two twins).  The two cabins upstairs were both double beds.  We had a
reasonable amount of storage space, and the rooms were fine.  Since we had
been looking forward to a much more luxurious boat, I would call the
accommodations just adequate.  The bathroom included a marine head and a
shower.  Bathrooms were clean, but seemed dingy and moldy.  The hot water
did not work in the cabins all week, but no one brought this up with the
crew, so I don't know if this is the usual or not.  The showers on the dive
deck were hot.

Water was not drinkable, but the crew provided bottled water in all rooms
and would fill up our bottles for us if we left them around.  I stayed
hydrated so well on this trip!

There were roaches on board, and I mean LOTS of roaches.  One of our fellow
divers who had previously been on 58 liveaboard trips stated that it was
more roaches than he'd ever seen.  They must have sprayed before we
boarded, because the critters were the most active the first 2 days.  They
crawled everywhere, and got into everything, including one walking across
my face the first night.  We slept with at least one light on in the room
for the rest of the trip, which seemed to help.  However, they were still
around, including in eating areas, etc.  I understand, since it's a boat
and these things happen, but just be aware.

On board were 15 crew members.  The captain was excellent, and steered us
out of a pretty significant storm several days in.  All of the crew members
were BEYOND helpful and were just spectacular.  Few spoke English, but they
enjoyed teaching my husband to speak Indonesian.  Our dive master and
cruise director Weka was superb and spoke excellent English.  He also
assisted us at the airport as we were checking into our flight to Bali.

We traveled at the end of January, which should be the best season in Raja
Ampat.  We did have a few more cloudy/rainy days than expected, but vis was
reasonable and the fish life was amazing.  This is my first Pacific diving
beyond Hawaii, so I don't have a lot to compare, but the reefs were so much
more alive and there were so many more fish than anywhere that I had ever
been.  Schools of Barracuda numbering in the hundreds, huge schools of
jacks, nudibranchs all around, and a Wobbegong on nearly every dive.  We
didn't see any sharks besides the Wobbegongs.  We also had an excellent
Mandarin Fish dive.  The dive at Manta Sandy was one to remember - with
about 5 or 6 mantas staying above us for the entire dive, swooping in very

A reef hook is probably desired, the crew expected us to have one (we
didn't, so they made us hooks).  Currents were often fairly strong, but
diving was done from pangas and all dives were drift dives.  The crew also
took us on two boat trips around the islands - one in Wayag and one in
Mansuar.  In Wayag, we also had the opportunity to climb to the top of one
of the islands.  This was excellent, but only for those in great shape - it
is truly a CLIMB!

We did 3-4 dives per day, and our group elected to do dusk dives instead of
night dives on most days.  

Grand Komodo also owns the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge, and we docked there on 3
nights.  We could get out and walk around and spend time on the beach if
desired.  The Lodge seems very nice.

Food was Indonesian style, with toast and coffee/tea before dive 1,
Indonesian style breakfast with some American offerings after the first
dive.  Delicious smoothies and fresh fruit were served with breakfast every
day.  Lunch was after dive 2, usually stir fry or Indonesian food.  Snack
after dive 3 (friend bananas - yum), and dinner included soup each day, and
stir fry or Indonesian food.  The captain caught a large wahoo one day and
we had sashimi at lunch and dinner that day.  Beer and sodas were available
for an additional cost - the honor system was used to keep track.

The top level of the boat was a covered sun deck, which was perfect for
relaxing between dives.

Overall, if you are looking for a boat in this price range, you can't do
much better.  The crew and diving were spectacular, but the roaches left a
little something to be desired.
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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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