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Dive Review of Grand Komodo/KLM Temukira in

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Mel Cundiff, CO, united States
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 4962
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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

Water Temp
85   to 87    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Come up before you run out of air.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
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  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
                        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

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

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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