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Dive Review of Kararu Dive Voyages/Cheng Ho in
Indonesia/Ambon and Banda Islands

Kararu Dive Voyages/Cheng Ho, Mar, 2009,

by William Deertz, Jakarta, Indonesia (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 4749.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Throughout Indonesia (Bali/Lombok/Manado/Lembeh Straits/Komodo/Alor/Raja Ampt/Derawan) Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Maldives, Hawaii, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 29 to 30 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 5 to 35 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No real restrictions other than return to boat with 500 psi of air
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 Plenty of charging stations and camera storage/setup

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This is my third trip with Kararu (www.kararu.com) and I can attest that they run a quality operation. This was my first trip on the Cheng Ho, it was similar to the Sea Safari III but more spacious and roomier. Unfortunately for the operator (good for the passengers) there were only 5 paid passengers on this trip. The boat can accommodate up to 20 passengers so we had PLENTY of space with only 5 passengers (only 4 divers). As such on many dives there were more dive guides than guests which really helped for finding critters for the 3 photographers. The food is hearty and varied, although not gourmet no one lost any weight on this 12 day trip. My 3 member group had 2 of the upper staterooms which are roomy and well appointed, although on one evening we had some leakage from rain but nothing too serious. The operator had sealed the ceiling with a plastic laminate but obviously there was still some need for repairs. Fortunately we only had rain on 1 day during the trip and this wasn't a hard rain. The diving was from two tenders but with so few divers we all fit in one tender and the second tender was a watch/backup. The muck diving in Ambon harbor was in my opinion as good as Lembeh Straits. Unfortunately during this trip we were in the early phase of a new moon so the currents/tides were very mild. While making for easy diving we didn't see many pelagics or large fish which I believe may be because of the lack of strong currents. Despite this we saw many small critters.

Overall assessment, would I return again? As for the operator I will definitely do another trip with Kararu. All crew were knowledgable, helpful and friendly. In terms of Ambon, while it was good diving I'm not sure it warrants a repeat trip. My next trip will hopefully be Fak Fak.

Finally we did a shore excursion in Banda Neira to a 16th century Dutch fort, this was an interesting topside diversion.
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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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