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Dive Review of Kararu/Sea Safari III in

July, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Brian & Karen Woods, WA, USA
Report Number 1191
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Antigua, Belize, Bonaire, Caymen Islands, Roatan, Cozumel, Washington
State, Fiji, Thailand, Myanmar, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
calm, choppy, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 125    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Don't do anything dumb, 3-5 minute safety stop  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Good set up for photographers, separate rinse tanks for cameras along with
a large camera table and multiple charging stations although the location
of the camera table could be better.  It is located outside and runs along
the port side of the boat, which is also the main traffic pattern into the
boat.  E-6 processing is available along with a PC to download digital
files and a CD burner.  Crew very careful with equipment and after a dive,
they would transfer cameras from the skiffs on to the camera table after a
stop in the rinse tank. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
We did the 7 night Bima to Bali trip.  After a short flight from Bali to
the island of Sumbawa, we boarded the Sea Safari III in Bima.  By flying to
Bima, we saved a full day of steaming before beginning to dive.  Soon after
boarding, lunch was served and we met three other guests who were beginning
their second week aboard the Sea Safari.  One guest, who we later found out
was a world class photographer, stated that what we were about to
experience was a place which had it all and he had traveled to all of the
major diving locations though out the world.  He was right.  
Shortly after lunch the diving started with an afternoon and night dive off
the island of Sumbawa.  The next day we moved into the northern area of the
Komodo National Park.  Most days, either 4 or 5 dives were available
including a night dive except for one site where a twilight dive was
offered to see mandarin fish. While diving off of Padar Island at a site
called W Reef, one of the two skiffs capsized while traveling out to the
dive site.  Nobody was hurt but a Nikonos V with a 15mm set up was lost. 
Before the next dive, the crew had purged the engines of the saltwater and
had the skiff back in the water.  For the balance of the trip, the guest
who had lost the camera was loaned an Olympus camera in a Tetra housing to
use.  The next morning we were moored off of Komodo Island and we went to
see the dragons.  The dragons can be easily seen within ¼ mile walk
from the dock or one can go out with a guide for an easy 1 ½ hour
walk to see them in their natural environment.    After the tour, you need
to get by the native Komodo people each trying to sell you pearls or
carvings.  Each day we continued south into the park and as we moved south,
the diving got better until we got to Rinca.  As we moved south, everyone
had expected the water temperature to fall from the temperatures (82-83) we
had seen at the northern areas and for the visibility to decrease.  This
never happened although the prior week water temps were down into the low
70s.  At Rinca, every square inch of the reefs where covered with life, it
was amazing.  A short list of the marine life which were seen include
ornate ghost pipefish, pigmy seahorses, orangutan crabs, flying gunards,
manta rays, sharks, zebra crabs, Coleman shrimp, squat lobsters, emperor
shrimp, mantis shrimp, cuttlefish and more.
The boat its self is a 136 Pinisi style wooden schooner.  Although
equipped with sails, they are not used.  All travel is done under power. 
Since it is a wood boat, it creaks as it moves through the water.  There
are 6 cabins located on the lower deck, 4 with twin beds and 2 with king
size beds.  The cabins with twins have a lot of room but the rooms with the
kings size beds are very cramped.  Too much floor space is taken up but the
oversize bed.  The middle deck has the dining area, a lounge area with a
TV, stereo, DVD along with a large selection of movies and reference books,
a small gift shop, the kitchen and the crew quarters.  On the upper deck
two more cabins are located which are larger than all of the other cabins. 
There is also a comfortable lounge area with couches and chairs.  On the
top deck, multiple deck chairs are available for those who want to catch
some rays.  
The dive deck is location on the middle deck, forward of the dining area. 
Each diver has an area under his or her seat to store equipment.  Tanks are
filled in place with either air or 32% nitrox.  After a dive briefing,
cameras and fins are moved to the skiffs.  The boat is equipped with a set
of stairs on the starboard side so access in and out of the skiffs is
excellent.  Entry into the water is via back roll.  After completing your
dive, one of the two skiffs was always there to pick you up.  After handing
up cameras, you could either remove your weights, BCD, fins and climb up
the ladder or you could choose to climb up with your tank and BCD.  Divers
were allowed to dive any profile and solo diving was allowed but all divers
were warned that it was a long way to the closest chamber so be careful. 
The crew was always there to help and assist you.  The crew to passenger
ratio was greater than any other boat that we have been on, for 16
passengers there were 22 crew.
Would Komodo and Kararu be a place and boat that we will return to in the
future?  The answer is yes, without question but this time it will be for
an eleven-night trip.           
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