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Dive Review of Grand Komodo/KLM Temukira in
Indonesia/Halmahera

Grand Komodo/KLM Temukira, May, 2009,

by Mel Cundiff, CO, united States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 4962.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All the best coral reefs in the world
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas choppy
Water Temp 85 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 20 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Come up before you run out of air.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Halmahera, Indonesia Off the Beaten Path
On the 12-Passenger KLM Temukira, May 2009

The KLM Temukira is a deep-hull (11-foot draft), 89-foot Indonesian phinisi boat with a 22-foot beam. The dive deck has two camera rinse tanks, a two-tiered camera table with air hose, three hot-water showers and a head. Almost all dives were from two zodiak tenders at 7 and 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. There is no nitrox. There is a sunroof with a retractable cover, six air-conditioned cabins with en-suite showers and facilities and ample, very tasty Asian, cafeteria-style food. This was the third time that Agi, our cook, had been with us, and he was a star with the meals and mid-afternoon snacks he provided. We ate lots of fish and shrimp. There was an extra charge for soft drinks and beer. All 12 of us have dived multiple times in Indonesia, and we have all been on live aboards that offered more amenities; but most of us preferred the attentiveness and expertise of our all-native crew.

Weka, the head dive master, spoke very good English and was in charge of operations. This was his third dive trip with us and he has a lot of dive savvy and knowledge of the reefs. The ship captain, Abubaka, handled the ship well and was often seen helping crew members with their duties. While not speaking English he usually understood what we were saying and was a kidder with an excellent sense of humor. Most of the rest of the crew spoke little English but enough that we could understand each other. Their friendliness and eagerness to help us was very much appreciated.

Our diving was along a several hundred-mile section of the west coast of the province, both north and south of the equator. Weka and Anton, our two dive masters, alternated back and forth between our two dive groups of six divers each.

We witnessed a high level of critter diversity and a moderate number of large pelagics. There were more fish than I expected to see considering the many small fishing villages we encountered and unrestricted fishing regulations in the area. Among the sharks we saw: black tips (10); white tip (1); grey reef (1); leopard (1); nurse (1); and
epaulettes (3).


One night-dive site in a cove area was totally trashed out, and we asked Weka, our dive master, not to take us there again. The damage was surely due to eutrophication from the effluents from an adjacent village. Dynamiting was significant on three dive sites but only minimal on the others about the same as the reefs off the east coast of Kalimantan. I saw no evidence of cyaniding, and storm-damaged reefs were about average. Only a couple of dive sites showed a significant lack of fish due to overfishing. While dynamiting and storms disrupt the integrity of the reefs and contribute to the interspersed rubble fields, they ironically provide the reef disturbances that lead to ecological succession and increased reef diversity.

Without trying to be too exhaustive, I will list some of the critters that were either rare or fun to see: sponges large enough to hold a fully equipped scuba diver; areas covered with multicolored broccoli coral that rival the Yellow Wall in Fiji; Venus girdles; very large triton, helmet and tun snails; a very large diversity of aeolid nudibranchs; a rubble field covered with juvenile, as-yet-unattached, oysters; flamboyant and large pettable cuttlefish and hatching cuttlefish eggs; both reef squids and bobtail squids; an unusually large number of octopuses (13), including three long-legged octopuses; sea spiders; a large Maine-type lobster with large chelipeds and squat lobsters; lots of symbiotic shrimps and crabs, including orangutans, decorators, hermits and a large gravid female; one reef dominated by crown-of-thorns starfish; a starfish with a functioning, bifurcated arm; a couple of night-time reefs dominated by three-foot-diameter basket stars; a couple of reefs dominated by a large diversity of colored feather stars (crinoids); and a larger-than-normal diversity of salps.

There were lots of the commonly seen bony fishes, both in large schools and singles such as Napoleon wrasses. Among the more interesting were: various juvenile angelfish, sweetlips and batfish; mouth-brooding jawfish; flasher gobies, lings (look like a cross between a catfish and an eel); reindeer wrasses; parrotfish in cocoons at night; trumpetfish exhibiting their cryptic vertical orientation in gorgonions; mandarin fish; leaf scorpionfish and 12 cockatoo waspfish on a single dive; Inimicus, the devil scorpion fish; crocodilefish; dozens of seahorses and lots of pygmy seahorses; both robust and Harlequin ghost pipefish; and pipehorses. We saw several green and hawksbill turtles and two banded sea snakes. Bottleneck dolphins were swimming around the boat on three occasions and pilot whales were seen in the distance once.

Species that were conspicuously absent included: Spanish dancers (we saw three large red pleurobranchs, though); marble rays, eagle rays and manta rays; yellow ribbon eels (we saw a number of black juveniles and blue males); frogfish (we saw only one); very few pipefish; and no loggerhead turtles;

In logging my dives, I typically make note of species that I do not remember having seen before. Halmahera yielded: 18 new nudibranchs, three of which were spectacular; a benthic octopus with two brilliantly pulsating blue rings, a member of the Octopus aegina species complex related to the blue ringed octopus; a 14-inch slender pipefish (I saw one on each of two different dives); and two miscellaneous fish species. This was quite a large number of new species for me.

Mel Cundiff; Broomfield, Colorado
Cundiff@Colorado.EDU 8/07/09
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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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