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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- TemuKira in

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Jose Miguel & Peggy Duran, TX, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 6 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5673
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean,Sea of Cortes, Galapagos,Solomons, Philippines, Thailand,
Andamans, Palau,Papua New Guinea
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None. Could dive as freely as our experience and judgement allowed and as
long as our air lasted.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or  
1 or 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or  
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  
Large camera table at gearing up area. Two large fresh water rinse tanks.
Large charging and camera work stations at the lounge. Crew extremely
careful handling cameras in the boat and dinghy and rinsing/drying them
after dives.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
We spent 12 days cruising and diving in northeastern Indonesia from
Halmahera to the Togian Islands to Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi aboard
the TemuKira, a 110 Pinisi sailing boat operated by Grand Komodo Tours in
April-May, 2010.

Due to the Icelandic volcano, our flight through Europe was cancelled and
we had to reroute via LA to Tokyo, then Singapore and Manado.  We arrived 2
days after the boats scheduled departure, but kindly enough, our fellow
passengers agreed to wait for us, while diving around Ternate, and Grand
Komodo efficiently rearranged our flights and accommodations in Indonesia.
With the changes, it took us 5 days to get to the boat, but it was
definitely worth it.  Initially we dove several small islands and seamounts
to the southwest of Halmahera, starting at Tuapen and Lata Lata Islands. 
Large schools of surgeon fishes, pyramid butterflies, and sweetlips, also
Napoleon wrasses and big easy-going humphead parrotfish greeted us.  At
Bacam Island  a gorgeous black sand dive site had threadfin sand divers,
razorfishes, a variety of puffers, nudibranchs galore and the largest
golden seahorses we have seenand that was only the beginning.

Then we had a smooth crossing to the coast of central Sulawesi --the
TemuKira is a very stable boat and has an experienced captain.  Batu Tolek
had large schools of slick unicorns and bannerfishes.  At Mentawatu Dua on
an afternoon dive, we had the most unusual sighting of about 2500 dives.
Hundreds of thousands of schooling white-bellied tobies covering a
tremendous expanse, so dense we could not see the coral or each other.  We
spent almost the whole dive taking videos of themit was magical.

From there we moved to the Togian Islands, known for offering all major
reef formations: fringing, barrier and atolls. The Tomini Bay has extremely
calm waters and we were surrounded by beautiful volcanic islands and
atolls.  UnaUna offered wall, channels and deep point dives, large fish and
invertebrate diversity, incredible sponges, fans and healthy soft and hard
corals. We had not been back to the Togians in 11 years and it was good to
see the coral so intact.  During the entire trip we never saw dynamite
damage nor bleaching.  At Batu Dua we had a fantastic night dive with
decorator crabs, large and pygmy cuttlefishes, huge sea hares and a host of
varied sea stars, urchins and gastropods.

During the days we enjoyed large varieties of colorful tropicals, sharks,
mantas and pelagics.  Our companions were very interested in nudibranchs
and critters and the divemasters kept finding them in large numbers.  They
also checked the currents very carefully before each dive and we never had
an unpleasant surprise. Visibility usually was very good as was the
weather. Divemasters and crew showed commitment to safe diving practices
and environmental and coral preservation. It is their country and they want
to protect its beauty.
Afterwards we sailed north to the Gorontalo coast in North Sulawesi where
we found some unexpected pleasures on several still unnamed dive sites
before moving to Lembeh Strait where we dove for another 3 days.  Polisi
Pier was wonderful as was Coast Guard Pier and Kasuari Beach.  We had just
enough of a taste of their unusual critters to leave us thirsting for more.
 Lembehs amazing diving has been described so well so often we do not need
to add our praise.

The TemuKira offers ample room and comfort for the 12 divers it can carry
in six AC cabins, 2 with double beds and one on the upper deck.  The boat
sailed with only four divers so we felt pampered.  Showers and toilets
worked well in the en suite bathrooms. The lounge is very comfortable and
quiet, with a large charging station/camera work area, TV and DVD player as
well as a Fish/Invertebrate ID library. The dive gear up area is roomy and
well designed with a large camera table, two rinse tanks and a
toilet/shower. A large sun deck with awning and beach chairs was a great
place to photograph the Technicolor sunrises and sunsets and dolphins and
a whale.

As in our previous fourteen trips on Grand Komodo boats, the divemasters
and whole crew excelled in providing great service. Dive briefings were
complete and we could dive as freely as our experience and good judgment
allowed. Almost every day we did two morning and one afternoon dives and
then a night dive. The divemasters knew the sites well and were always
there to find unusual sea life but letting us dive our own profiles and
focus on our personal interests. Whether we stayed down an hour or ninety
minutes, the dinghy was always there to pick us up. Our safety sausages and
Dive-alerts never got used.
The cook and her assistant gave us a variety of western and Indonesian
dishes, from family style to gourmet. We were served all the meals at our
tables and had great snacks, smoothies, fruit and cakes between meals. 
Fortunately the water was warm enough that we could dive four times a day
to burn almost-- all the calories we ate. The divemasters were fluent in
English and most of the crew spoke it enough that we rarely had a chance to
try our very basic Bahasa Indonesia.
Last year we had a great voyage sailing and diving on the TemuKira from
Raja Ampat to Maluku to Halmahera and this years trip was a perfect
complement to that itinerary allowing us to sample the diving of the whole
northeastern region of Indonesia.  Just for invertebrates and nudibranchs,
this region is simply fantastically rich.  For divers who like large
schools or rich coral panoramas for their wide-angles, there is also a
profusion of them. The natural beauty below and above water is
Komodo, Raja Ampat and Manado diving have been famous for years, but
Maluku, Halmahera and the Togians will surely become the next major
destinations to attract divers who appreciate pristine corals, uncrowded
areas, and fascinating discoveries.  After almost twenty years of diving in
Indonesia we were still amazed and delighted with the rich variety and
quality of diving experiences this area offers. Well be back.

Jose Miguel & Peggy Duran
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Subscriber's Comments

By irenedabania at Dec 28, 2012 15:44 EST  
do you have experience diving cenderawasih bay with komodo tours? did you
book through the USA agent or some other way?
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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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