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Dive Review of Grand Komodo Tours/SMY Temukira in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat, Papua

March, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Arief Irwan Latif, Papua, Indonesia
Report Number 1701
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Bali, Bunaken Manado, Jayapura, Anak Krakatoa, Sangiang West Java,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
28   to 29    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Experienced divers were allowed to dive their own profile.  Beginner and
older divers were attended to very closely, but they were not too strict on
them either.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The Temukira is a traditional Indonesian 'Phinisi' style wooden schooner
which accommodated 12 guests and 11 crew.  As such space was limited.  The
main camera table is located at the main dining area and is enough for
about 3 fully geared photo and videographers.  It had 4 or 5 small lockers
next to the camera table; however these were too small to store a whole set
equipment (cameras, batteries, lights, arms and accessories).  The dive
platform also provided slightly bigger space for cameras and another shelf
below, which was mostly packed with some tools and gear.  Two small rinse
tanks were available at the dive deck and the water was replaced regularly.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
Diving in Raja Ampat was absolutely fantastic.  Although it was my first
liveaboard I was quite satisfied with the quality of service, diving, food
and affordability of the trip.  Overall I did 23 dives and that was because
I had to sit out 1.5 days due to ear infection. Visibility was not great,
but this is always a trade off with profusion of fish and other sea
creatures. The highlights of the trip had to be the extremely healthy,
beautiful and diverse corals, abundance of tropical fish, Mantas and

The liveaboard operator, Grand Komodo Tours (GKT) went out of their way to
facilitate our group's schedule.  Seven people from my company, four of
which were from the same department, had decided to go and do the
liveaboard experience with GKT.  Being from the same company and for some,
same department, it was thus extremely difficult to get everyone to agree
on and get approval for the vacation schedule.  The trip was originally
listed as a 10 day tour, however GKT was accommodating enough to allow six
of the seven people a 7 day trip and they provided additional boat charter
to take them to the port of entry at no additional charge. 

The first 2 days of diving was a little bit rough mainly because we were
diving sites that had extremely strong currents. Even though we had
prepared reef hooks, having a video camera on such strong currents, I
learned was just too difficult to manage. This was the type of current that
flutter and flood your mask and threaten to pull regulators of your mouth.
However after we discussed this with the dive master he was more than happy
to fine tune the timing so that we would not be diving in such strong

The rest of the dives were just fantastic. Most sites are sloping reefs,
sea mounds or rock island formation.  The health and variety of corals were
excellent.  Several Mantas were seen up close, at Manta International
Airport.  Another came right towards me after a safety stop at Magic rock,
had the zodiac operator not alerted that the animal was behind me I might
have missed it. However the best Manta site was by far Manta point.  There
was maybe 20 minutes of video footage of basically Mantas hovering towards,
next to or above me. Other creatures that make up the whole experience
included Crocodile fish, Wobbegong sharks (almost at every site), banded
sea snakes, flatworms, schooling Jacks, schooling Snappers and Sweetlips,
Scorpion fish, Hawksbill turtles, black and white reef sharks, Epaulette
sharks (very shy) Barracudas, Dogtooth Tunas, Spanish mackerels, Napoleon
wrasse and families of Bumphead Parrotfish just to name a few. At the last
dive there more than 20 species of nudibranch spotted by our dive masters. 
Two of which we just could not find in the guide books.  The only thing
that was lacking as far as I am concerned was probably a substantial shark
action, but the rest of the show more than make up for it.

The dive masters really did not impose any restrictions and we were allowed
to basically dive our own profile. Briefing before each dive was given and
the only guidelines imposed was essentially to either have the reef on your
left or right side.  There were 2 dive masters on board, however they had
to attend to several of the less experience divers.  Dives were mostly step
off the dive platform from the main vessel, zodiacs were used occasionally
for sites too shallow to reach.  The zodiac was extremely efficient at
picking up divers. I estimated the longest I had to wait to be picked up
was about 1 minute.   

This was not a trip to plan to loose weight on as food was always plentiful
and tasty.  Before the first dive at 7:30, most of us helped ourselves to
tea and coffee with cereal or fruits.  Breakfast consisting of a
combination of banana pancake, sausages, toast, scrambled eggs, or egg
salad, with fresh water melon, orange, or banana shake would be ready after
the first dive.  Lunches and dinners were also combinations of rice with at
least 3 main courses and deserts. Several nights we had fresh sushi also. 
Fresh baked cakes or cookies were always available after the third dive. 
Coffee, cocoa, milk, tea, bottled water and fruits were free.  Beer and
soft drinks were extra. The food was always in abundance and most of the
time there plenty left over simply because there was so much of it.  Most
of the time the buffet style breakfast was a somewhat Western.  Lunches and
dinners, also buffet style was mainly Asian, but Nico the cook was
excellent at keeping the variety it was never a problem.

Accommodation was somewhat tight as this was a traditional wooden schooner
converted into a liveaboard.  It was probably about 27 meters long and 7
meters wide.  Each room had its own a/c and bathroom. No hot shower. The
tight space was however really not a problem because it was always cleaned
daily and the towel was replaced every 2 days.  

The crew was absolutely fantastic. Captain Abu Bakar was always spot on in
finding the sites.  Chris the head dive master spoke adequate English and
was always helpful.  The rest of the crew was more quiet but always polite
and accommodating.  The zodiac operators were excellent and did not allow
anyone to wait for very long before being picked up.

The traditional vessel was equipped with surprisingly modern gadgets and
equipment including radar, gps, depth sounder, radio and satellite
telephone. It also had first aid and oxygen for emergency.  The television
and DVD player however were rather old and did not provide quality pictures
needed to view videos and digital pictures.
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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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