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Dive Review of Kararu/Sea Safari III in
Indonesia/Komodo

Kararu/Sea Safari III, Jul, 2004,

by Brian & Karen Woods, WA, USA . Report 1191.

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

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy, currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 82 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 125 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Don't do anything dumb, 3-5 minute safety stop
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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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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