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Dive Review of MSY Seahorse in
Indonesia/Banda Sea & Raja Ampat

October, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Wayne & Danie Warren-Angelucci, CA, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 5224
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Indonesia:Pulau Weh, Alor, Komodo, Bali,Flores, Sulawesi, Papua/Raja Ampat
& Triton  Bay, Kalimantan; Malaysia: Sabah & Perhentians; Maldives,
Caribbean, Australia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 85    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Limit to 65-75 minute max dive time  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Boat had both camera tables on the dive deck and separate camera room
below.  F/W rinse tanks.  Crew took good care handling all equipment
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
We went for one trip and stayed for two!

In late September 2009, we boarded the MSY Seahorse for a crossing from
Maumere, Flores across the Banda Sea to Ambon.  It very was pleasurable to
be greeted back by the staff and their wonderful smiles!  

We had been on the MSY Seahorse before, so we were familiar with the boat 
6 cabins with two single beds each and two double cabins in the stern  all
with private bathrooms and individually controlled A/C.  The salon doubles
as the dining room.  The partially shaded sundeck over the salon is a
wonderful place to spend the surface intervals, and the dive deck is
spacious.  Nitrox is included in the cost of the trip. 

One of the owners, or their manager, Cici, is always on board to make sure
the trips run smoothly.  Cruise Director, Cedric, is great at choosing dive
sites and pointing things out under water.  The Indonesian crew is
phenomenal!  They carried the tanks and fins back and forth from the
Seahorse to the tenders, and they were always extremely helpful.  

The three course meals are served at the table, instead of buffet style,
and they are a delicious combination of western and Indonesian cuisine!  We
were impressed to have green salad in such a remote area.  Those who had
special needs or wants were accommodated with special meals.    

Diving is done from tenders.  The main speed boat is an aluminum boat with
space for 12 divers and the other one is a hard bottom inflatable.  With
two tenders, divers who come up early can be shuttled back to the Seahorse
instead of having to wait for other divers to finish up, yet there is
always a boat available when divers surface.  

We delighted with the dives off the islands of Flores and Alor  so many
colors and unusual animals  and then headed out to cross the Banda Sea. 
The area of the Banda Sea is comprised of many volcanoes and reefs rising
from the deep ocean floor.  

Our first stop was Gunung Api, which lived up to its nickname of Snake
Island.  We dove with hundreds of turtle-head sea snakes!  It was
disconcerting to look youre your shoulder and see a snake swimming by and
occasionally rubbing against your legs.  It must have been really amazing
years ago, before so many snakes were collected for their skins, when there
were thousands of snakes on a dive instead of just hundreds. 

At Desperandum Reef we had the exhilarating experience of diving with a
school of hammerhead sharks.  At first it looked like mantas in the
distance.  As the school came closer, we were able to make out that they
were sharks, and then the got really close, and we saw that they were
hammerheads  at least 40 in the school!  They let us keep up with them for
several minutes. 

The rest of the diving was extraordinary, too.  We saw eagle, marble, and
mobula rays, huge tunas, napoleon wrasse, and barracuda and massive schools
of trevally, anthias, and various kinds of baitfish.  Enormous sponges
littered the reefs, and we were treated to some beautiful topography.

The trip wasnt all diving.  The Banda Islands were famous in the early
colonial times as this was the only area where nutmeg grew.  Nutmeg was
worth more per ounce than gold, and many wars were fought over these
islands.  The English and Dutch swapped Run Island for Manhattan in 1667 as
they were then considered equally valuable.  Its interesting to
contemplate how different places have grown in such diverse ways.  Run
Island remains a quiet tropical paradise, while Manhattan is anything but.

When we arrived in Ambon, we discovered that there was a last minute
cancellation on the next trip, Ambon to Sorong, Papua, so we decided to
stay on for another 12 days.  We back tracked to The Banda Islands, and
then headed north to Raja Ampat.  The diving here is an amazing assortment
of life and color, from pigmy seahorses to manta rays, woebegone sharks,
blue-ring octopus and stunning hard and soft corals.  We were really glad
that we had the opportunity to dive this area again.
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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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