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Dive Review of Grand Komodo Tours/Putri Papua in
Indonesia/Triton Bay

February, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Dan Purnell, WA, US
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 6467
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
PNG, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Bali, Halmahera, Yap, Palau, Bonaire, Honduras,
Little Cayman, Fiji, Red Sea ... 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
81   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None.  Everybody dove to their computers  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Accommodations for photographers are adequate, but not spacious.  The crew
is very careful with all equipment.  Getting your camera equipment to and
from the live-aboard is the challenge.  Some airline weight restrictions
are only 10 kg (i.e. Kaimana to Sorong).  Be prepared to shell out hundreds
of dollars of excess baggage charges.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
1 stars   
5 stars    
Our adventure began in Sorong, which included diving in Misool, the Pisang
Islands and finally Triton Bay.  Much of the journey to Triton Bay was over
open waters, and the seas were pretty stormy and rough.  We did some
exploratory diving along the way, since it was too rough to dive some of
the discovered sites.  This was the first Grand Komodo dive boat to enter
Triton Bay after nearly a year. Resistance from local villagers did not
allow dive boats into the area.  Our trip was kind of a trial run to see
whether the conditions had changed.  During the past year, the Indonesian
government had been working with the local people, trying to pave the way
for increased tourism.

Misool diving was as usual, pretty amazing.  We had unusually clear waters,
and the reefs were alive with coral gardens, sea fans and fish big and
small.  Among the species we saw were black and white tip sharks,
wobbegongs, hawksbill turtles, pigmy sea horses, schools of sweet lips,
bumphead parrots, groupers of all shapes and sizes, barracudas, unicorns,
napoleon wrasses, bat fish and so many others.  On some sites your vision
was impaired by clouds of anthias and dense schools of surgeons and
fusiliers.  In short, it was sensory overload.

The Pisang Islands, located about 80 kilometers from Daram, Misool, had
some amazing sites which featured bommies, draped with soft corals and sea
fans.  Clouds of glass fish hung over the corals.  Deep channels cut
through these bommies, where huge napoleon wrasses, cod and giant groupers
plied the waters.  These dives had a wilderness feel to them.  Although our
visibility was only about 30 to 50 feet, the dives were amazing in color
and life.

After a long journey with some incredible diving along the way, we finally
entered Triton Bay.  "The Last Best Place" article, by Burt Jones
and Maurine Shimlock, described Triton Bay as follows: "In short, of
the best underwater places in the world-of the best places in
Indonesia-this place stands out."  Since scientists only first
surveyed Triton Bay in 2006, it remains largely wild and unexplored.  Tens
of Thousands of fruit bats fly overhead.  Exotic birds grace the skies. 
Tropical rain forests, islands and sheer cliffs outline the Bay.  The
waters run with current and ripple with fish.  And begin to
explore the coral reefs...They are amazing...maybe crazy...even bizarre...
I think this is where mother nature threw away the design plans and just
went wild.

Triton Bay's reefs are rich with brilliant soft and hard corals, fed by 
raging currents, and blanketed with swarms of bait and glass fish.  At
times, clouds of fusiliers, surgeon and bait fish block out the ambient
light.  Walls of soft corals, of every shape, size and color provide a
feast for the eyes.  Forests of black coral provide refuge for curious
groupers, 100s of them, perhaps 1000s.  I have never seen so many groupers,
of so many types, in all my diving.  The diversity of coral and fish is
really off the charts.  Big fish, little fish, critters, macro, micro,
Triton Bay is alive and thriving.  Just outside the Bay are a couple
pristine hard coral reefs that stretch as far as you can see.  At times,
the reefs are completely obscured by thousands of fish, hunting in the
swarms of bait fish that smother the reefs.

It is obvious that many of the fish have never seen divers; they are
extremely curious, but very shy.  At times there would be 20-30 big
grougers, resting on their pectoral fins, just staring at you.  If you made
any motion towards them, they would instantly disappear under the corals. 
If you turned away for just a minute, they would all reassemble back to
their original positions.

Triton Bay, however, is not for everyone.  You do need to have a sense of
adventure, because things don't always go as planned.  We only got to dive
1 1/2 days in the Iris Strait, the explored part of Triton Bay.  The local
people demanded that we leave.  Although the Indonesian Government has made
progress with the villagers, Triton Bay is not completely "open"
for tourism.  It will take some time to completely gain the trust of the
local people.  That said, the situation is dynamic.  Check with your
live-aboard to get the most up to date information.

Although we had to leave Iris Strait, we were able to do some exploratory
diving on the "less explored", other side of Triton Bay.  We
discovered two new amazing reef complexes, teaming with life and color.  I
can only describe these new reefs as incredible and mind bending.  Diving
in Triton Bay is a raw, wilderness experience.  The absolute explosion of
life, in these nutrient rich waters, more than compensates for the typical
visiblity of 30 to 50 feet.

This was my 7th trip with Grand Komodo Tours.  As always, the crew was
helpful, friendly, enthusiastic and eager to please.  If you needed
anything, they were eager to help.  They run a safe operation, and they
handle dive and camera gear with care.  The dive boat is relatively basic,
clean and very nice.  The food was really delicious.  Grand Komodo caters
to people who just love to dive.

The divemasters, and the entire crew, worked extremely hard finding
outstanding, exploratory dive sites, when we had to change our plans
unexpectedly.  I have never seen a crew work so hard making sure that our
dive experience was the very best.

Triton Bay is one of the most inconvenient places to visit on this planet. 
But now, with all the bumps along the way, it is probably the best time to
visit.  Triton Bay will never be the same when the world really discovers


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