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Dive Review of Grand Komodo/TemuKira in
Indonesia/Triton Bay

Grand Komodo/TemuKira, Apr, 2009,

by Chrisanda Button & Rickie Ster, AR, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 4728.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Cozumel, Turks& Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Truk, Yap, Palau, Fiji, Wakatobi, Alor, Misool & Halmahera in Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Only when our dive times were approaching 80 minutes did the dive guides give the ascend signal, although 70 minutes was officially posted as the dive time. We were free to follow the guides or not. None of us were doing deco diving.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Limited visibility, a fact of life in the Triton Bay area, as well as strong currents, made reef scenes and wide angle photography challenging. With 5 photographers on board, two with small cameras, the boat's camera facilities were adequate. Crew members handled our cameras carefully, rinsing and drying them after each dive. We brought our cameras to the table on the dive deck, and crew members quickly learned who owned which camera. The dry table in the salon provided enough power strips, although probably not enough space, for twelve photographers. The dive guides were familiar with the sites and highly skilled at finding photographic subjects.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Is there fine diving in Triton Bay? Definitely! However, divers traveling to this area need to be apprised of two facts. First, the visibility in Triton Bay extends only to fifty feet in the best season. Second, Triton Bay is, indeed, the frontier of diving in Indonesia, and government regulations in the area change quite unpredictably and without notice. The TemuKira had already made two trips to Triton Bay this year, so the crew knew to stop at a village near the entrance to the bay and pay tribute. However, on our third day of diving, we were accosted by a police boat and our captain ordered to return to Kaimana at once under pain of arrest. Obviously, we motored to Kaimana. And there we cooled our heels in the harbor for twenty-four hours while officials quibbled about the boat's documents and the guests' visas. On our way out of Triton Bay we were again held overnight in Kaimana while officials decided whether to deport two guests with social visas. Grand Komodo handled the problem as well as possible, but we still lost almost two days of diving to the whims of these officials. This problem is not peculiar to the TemuKira. We believe that the officials in Kaimana were seizing on an excuse( that boats were taking and selling resources from Papua)to extract money from dive operators.
The diving in Triton Bay takes place on sloping sea mounts with dense cover of both hard and soft corals and forests of large black corals. But the reason to go to Triton Bay is to see fish - myriads of fish, each large for its species. Both the variety and quantity of fish was stunning. The Pomacanthus angels and triggerfish were so large as to seem almost threatening. Gorgeous pairs of Pomacanthus annularis appeared on every dive. We saw over a dozen woebegong sharks up close and personal. Our favorite was the "decorator woebegong", who sported a feather star on his head. We saw every species of Pomacanthus angel in the book and counted two dozen species of butterflies. Shoals of fusiliers, jacks,surgeonfish, and snappers swam up and down the seamounts, and we encountered several large aggregations of barracuda. Anthias, damsels, and silversides abounded. Large groupers, puffers, and footballer cod had eluded the fishermen's nets. Night diving was also good in Triton Bay, bringing out Papuan cuttlefish, bobtail squid, overdecorated crabs, flatworms, and snails. Oddly, we saw octopus during the day. What keeps the corals healthy and the fish large is all the plankton in the water and the strong currents that carry the plankton in. On our way back to Sorong, we enjoyed three good dives at Pisang and a day and a half on the beautiful sheer walls of Misool.
This trip was our third with Grand Komodo. We found once again that Grand Komodo starts taking good care of its divers even before they board the boat. Tian met us at the airport in Denpasar and took us to a reliable money changer on our way to the hotel. She had arranged a personable and very helpful driver for us in Makassar. Robert not only transported us to and from our hotel, he helped us negotiate the Merpati check in and told us about the people and cultures of Sulawesi
The TemuKira is a comfortable wooden pinisi well set up for diving. The boat can carry twelve divers, but we had only six on board. Ten crew members tended thoughtfully to our needs. When we were preparing to dive, all crew save the captain and chef were on the dive deck, carrying our gear to the dinghy, rinsing our masks, zipping our wetsuits, even handing us our gloves. It was Alwy, the steward, who spotted a leak in Rickie's hose. The dive deck is spacious enough for a full load of guests with storage in two baskets under each tank station. The dive guides were familiar with the dive sites and very sharp eyed. Romley, the dinghy driver, was always right there when we came up. On one site where the currents were especially strong and variable, six divers managed to come up in four spots, and Romley quickly picked us all up. There were two warm showers on the dive deck. Cabin showers are cool to tepid. Our cabin was one of the nicest we have had on a liveaboard. We had plenty of storage in a closet and drawers. There was a built-in desk and a Balinese settle as well as a slightly elevated double berth that let us store our luggage underneath. There was a good reading light over the bed, and each cabin had individually-controlled air conditioning. Alwy kept our cabin spotlessly clean and changed both cabin and deck towels about every fourth day. We ate in the salon on the main deck. Breakfasts were Western with the addition of mie kwah or rice porridge. Lunches and dinners were Indonesian and delicious. We were served very fresh fish and seafood twice daily, and there were also interesting chicken dishes at every meal. We enjoyed plenty of fresh veggies. Dessert consisted of delicious tropical fruit or homemade ice cream. Dinners always began with soups. We enjoyed four dives a day. Surface intervals were spent lounging on the covered sun deck and perusing the boat's very good marine ID library.
GKTD is an Indonesian owned and operated company whose employees enjoy sharing their county's beauty with visitors. Their dive guides and support crew have made us feel safe in challenging diving conditions.
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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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