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

March, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by William Deertz, Jakarta, Indonesia
Reviewer   (4 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4749
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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

calm, no currents  
Water Temp
29   to 30    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
5   to 35    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No real restrictions other than return to boat with 500 psi of air  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
Plenty of charging stations and camera storage/setup
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
This is my third trip with Kararu ( 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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