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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- TemuKira in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat-Misool

May, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Peggy & Jose Miguel Duran MD, TX, US
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6371
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
The Caribbean, Sea of Cortez, Galapagos,Papua New Guinea, Philipines,
Maldives, Palau, Solomons,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
35   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None. Dictated by your experience and common sense.  
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
  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  
Large camera table plus rinse tanks on dive deck. Large charging stations
in lounge. Crew extremely careful handling, rinsing, drying cameras..
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
We spent a few days diving Misool and Raja Ampat during our previous
TemuKira cruise in December 2010 from Alor to Sorong and it whetted our
appetite for more diving in Misool, so we returned for a second trip in May
2011 on the same boat operated by Gran Komodo Tours.

After over 30 hours flying from Corpus Christi to Houston, Moscow,
Singapore and Manado in Sulawesi, we were looking forward to a dinner at
our favorite seafood restaurant "Wisata Bahari" and a good night
of sleep before our flight to Sorong in Papua Barat the following morning.
But we were met at the airport by a Grand Komodo agent with news that our
flight had been cancelled. With their usual efficiency they saved the day
by getting us last minute tickets with Lion Air for their flight to Sorong
leaving in 40 minutes!! He hustled us to the money changer -excess luggage
fees-- and the domestic terminal, helped to negotiate down our 20 kilos fee
and put us on the plane. Three hours later we were at a very nice new hotel
in Sorong where we were able to rest before boarding the TemuKira to a warm
welcome from all our friends in the crew.

Good checkout dive at Mantan Island, cut short by one of my video lights
flooding. Agus, the engineer, was very helpful while I tried to fix it
--unsuccesfully, but the manufacturer replaced it after the trip. The
following morning Mioskon Reef offered lots of color with schools of
five-lined and blue striped snappers, two tasselled wobegong sharks, some
truly giant tridacnas and beautiful coral. A great start. 

We followed this with Blue Magic at Mansuar Island with large schools of
big mackerels and yellow-fin barracudas weaving their hypnotic magic.  Then
Mike's Point where abundant fish life and turtles reminded us of Batu
Bolong in Komodo.  In the evening we stopped by to see our old friends Ibu
Reno and Pak Nyoman, the hard-working owners of Grand Komodo, at their new
gorgeous Raja Ampat Dive Lodge.  They had recently hosted there a huge
European TV crew filming a documentary on Raja Ampat.  They can be
rightfully proud of the fine job they have done building this resort with
its lovely Balinese flair and breath-taking views and sunsets.

We had a great long encounter with four manta rays at their cleaning
station at Manta Sandy.  The visibility was not as good as at our previous
visits there, but it was an awesome dive nonetheless.  Lalosi was a garden
reef with giant cuttlefishes, wobbegongs, bumphead parrotfish and
pipefishes.  Gam Channel was going through a sandstorm but there was still
lots to see: juvenile batfishes, spot-tail dartfish, juvenile ribbon eel,
and lots of baitfish.

Mbrainuk Reef had electric pink anemones and hundreds of yellowtail
fusiliers, a school of tuna on the hunt, winged pipefish and giant
sweetlips.  Barracuda Point on Fam Island had an 8 foot tawny nurse shark. 
It was a lovely island seen through a gentle rain.  Anita's Garden had
pygmy seahorses and razorfishes plus lots of macro life.

My Reef on Fam Island showed off deep, colorful soft and hard corals,
schools of two-spot snappers, wobeggongs, lobsters, we got so distracted
seeing so much that we had to do a long deco stop.  We dove Fam Channel
under a welcome returning sunny sky.  Striped surgeonfish and lots of
butterflies reflected the light.  Melissa's Garden in the late afternoon
had an enchanting quality with streams of fish moving all around us.

The crossing to Misool took 13 hours and sometimes got rather rough during
the night, but mysterious, dark Batu Kembar (Twin Rock)with its haunting
forest of fans and gorgonians with 2 octopi slithering through gave us a
good welcome in the morning.  Farundi Cave with its enchanting swim-through
and Fiabacet #2, a tiny beautiful rock with 2 trees on top, was the tip of
an underwater wonderland.  We felt blessed.

The surface landscapes of Misool make it one of the most memorable and
beautiful places we have ever seen. Lush layers of green sit atop quaintly
shaped mushroom islands. Sunrises and sunsets worked their technicolor
magic and were duly documented in video and photos.

At Raja Ampat (Four Kings), we went down to see shark silhouettes in the
deep and then up to enjoy the soft corals, Napoleon Wrasses and yellow
jacks.  Gorgonian Passage was bright under the sun and a slower current
allowed us to appreciate its beauty better than during our previous visit. 
Kelig Rock began with a fast down-current.  Although the divemasters always
checked the sites beforehand, these can appear suddenly.  Enjoyed blue
blanquillos, 8-banded butterflies and lovely scorpions.  

Next day was cloudy but The Windows at Boo Rock was perhaps the best dive
so far with fusiliers, bumpheads, barracudas...heaven.  Fiabacet #1 had
huge Malabar groupers and wobeggongs.  GA Reef was lovely although the
visibility was only fair.  We had a great night dive later on though with
large numbers of pajama cardinalfishes.  Balbulol Rocks 1,2 and 3 were our
next 3 dives, all excellent, but #1 was noted in our diary as "fish
soup at all levels".

Wagnah Wall was our farewell dive, around a lovely small seamount.  The
lower visibility added a more mysterious magical element.  Although the
visibility was not as good as on our December trip due to the beginning of
the wet season, the fish life was if anything even more abundant. This was
the TemuKira's last trip to Misool for the season.

This was our 18th liveaboard trip with Grand Komodo and the fourth on the
TemuKira, a 100 foot wooden Pinisi sail/motor vessel. It can accommodate 12
divers and our group of five had lots of room. The cabins are clean and
comfortable, all with AC and en-suite bathrooms/showers,adequate storage
and shelves. The comfortable lounge/dining area on the main deck has TV/DVD
plus a good Fish and Invertebrates Identification library, three AC units
and a large well lighted charging station There is a double cabin on the
upper deck next to a large sundeck with awning and beach chairs. The dive
deck has ample room to suit up and is well-designed with wide tank racks
and gear bins under the seats as well as a spacious camera table, two rinse
tanks and a toilet/shower. Two other hot/cold water showers on the dive
platform and beach towels were appreciated after our dives. The compressors
were well maintained and the air fills were correct.

The food was consistently good with a variety of Indonesian and Western
dishes. Soups and desserts were served by the steward, entrees were buffet
style. Cookies, toast and coffee and tea were available before the first
dive.  Breakfasts followed, served with delicious fruit smoothies.  There
were cakes and snacks after our third dive before dinner.
We had 3 dives during the day and a night dive was offered unless we were
sailing.  After usually very long dives, sometimes we did not take
advantage of the night dive.  The divemasters were meticulous in their
pre-dive briefings and expert in checking current and conditions before
every dive to make them as enjoyable and safe as possible. Joni and Nowak
kept a close watch on us and were helpful without being obtrusive. They
were excellent at finding small marine life and were very patient with our
long dive times. 

The TemuKira is a very comfortable boat, but what makes it truly special
for us is the great crew, working together and committed to provide the
best diving experience for their passengers.  This, along with the
incredibly rich and diverse marine life is what keeps bringing us back from
the other side of the globe.

To complete a great trip, we finally were able to have dinner in Manado at
Wisata Bahari before flying back home. 
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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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