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Dive Review of M.S.Y. Seahorse in
Indonesia/Komodo/Gili Islands

M.S.Y. Seahorse, Jun, 2008,

by David Chiddo, Tokyo, Japan ( 1 report). Report 4191.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Palau, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, Puerta Gallera, Boracay, Fiji/Mamanucas, Fiji/Taveuni, Similans, Phuket, Papua New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Maldives, Bali, Izu/Japan
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 24 to 28 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 30 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits as prescribed by gas blend of 32 EAN
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 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 Few divers on boat, lots of room for setting up gear. Staff handled all gear with care.

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 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The boat: Seahorse is a beauty, 33 m and very seaworthy. Lots of deck space for setting up and gear storage. Sun deck spacious and comfortable with chaise lounge and cushions. Galley and dining area very comfortable, TV with video/DVD and stereo available for entertainment. Cabins very spacious and comfortable, including nice functioning bathroom and one of the most comfortable beds ever. Plenty of room for two plus all your stuff. Cabins 5 & 6 most stable. Boat is traditional Indonesian Pinisi style, slow but steady.

The food: was a nice mix of western and Indonesian dishes. Good balance of seafood and meat, plenty of veggies and rice too. Solid breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between. Beer and wine available at very reasonable prices. Chef is flexible and can make special dishes without a fuss. The Indonesian food was noticeably better than the western dishes with plenty of sambal to spice things up!

The service: was very attentive, again small group so we were lucky, but crew was great. Chi Chi our lovely cruise director did a great job and satisfied our every request with a smile! Norberto the dive guide was outstanding! Very experienced and knowledgeable about the Komodo area and introduced us to some incredible sites which we dove at the right times. Both key staff very pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with, it truly was a pleasure to have them on the boat. The captain also did a great job, moving to sites we wanted to dive when we wanted to dive them, again nothing but total cooperation from the crew.

The weather: was perfect. Sunny and warm in the days, clear evenings, no rain. It is usually quite windy in South Komodo in June but we had light breezes at the most. Seas were mostly calm with big swells only in the south on one day.

The currents: as expected ripping currents in Komodo straights, not so bad in the south. Just missed the full moon by a week or so so things were not as wild as expected. In fact, we experiences long slack tides for most of the trip and our dives at Cannibal Rock etc were effected by this. Water was cold and green though and fish life prolific even with less current than usual.
Inevitably you will encounter strong currents somewhere in this area and I would not recommend Komodo for novice divers. Experience and a cool head prerequisite for total safety.

The diving: done from zodiac tenders, back roll entry. Tender stays with divers on all dives for quick and easy pick ups. 32 EAN is the default gas, free too. The diving was quite simply superb! We experienced excellent visibility most of the time, water was also warm (28C) except for the far south of Rinca where it was a chilly 24C. Sea life encountered includes: sharks, black tip, white tip, grey reef, spotted eagle rays, stingrays, huge bump head parrot fish in schools, Jacks and trevally of all varieties and sizes including some very, very large Big Eye Trevally, green sea turtles on almost every dive every day, Napoleon wrasse everywhere, large marble cod fish, titan trigger fish, snappers, trigger fish and fusiliers of all kinds often swimming in HUGE schools in the 100's! Most fish were easy to approach and didn't seem to be fazed by us divers, were able to swim along side rays, sharks and turtles with ease.
Coral was also extremely healthy and we saw a huge variety, (too many to mention) of especially very large corals, including table corals 10~15 meters wide! Was very reminiscent of a trip to Milne Bay in PNG a few years ago, incredible variety of healthy coral. We also witnessed lots of new growth coral in the Komodo straights area which is very encouraging indeed. Did not see any signs of dynamite fishing anywhere.

Dive sites of special note include: GPS in the Gili Banta region, strong current and lots of fish. Highway to Heaven and Star Wars also good drift dives providing lots of action including sharks and jacks. In the Komodo straights area, Castle Rock and Crystal Rock were two of the best dives if the week with more and more fish. Also Tatawa Kecil and Batu Bolong provided limitless sightings of large schools of fish including many pelagics. Only disappointment was South Komodo at tip of Rinca island in horseshoe bay. The famous Cannibal Rock and Larry's Yellow Wall of Texas were not as good as expected due to lack of current which is very rare but I guess our luck was not with us that day. On the way back to Labuan Bajo we dove the wall at Pink Beach (the beach itself is not that nice) which was an excellent dive with prolific sea life. Tatawa Besar another ripper in the straights was fantastic as was Sebayor Kecil, a great way to end the trip.

The dragons: we went, we saw them, we went back to the boat to resume diving as soon as possible, enough said.

Conclusion: diving Komodo was an incredible experience we will never forget. The Seahorse and her crew provided us with a comfortable and professional dive operation at a very reasonable price. Ground crew also did a good job coordinating entire trip booking and transfers etc. We used Indocruises.com
There is not a lot of cultural activity available as you might get in Iran Jaya or PNG etc but it was still fantastic, and lets face it, you really are there for the diving. We started our trip in Bima, a sleepy little town with little charm and ended up in Lubuan Bajo, another sleepy little town with even less charm. Domestic flights on Merpati were comfortable and believe it or not, ON TIME.

Next trip will be to Raja Ampat.


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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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