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Dive Review of Ocean Rover in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

Ocean Rover, Aug, 2008,

by Rod Challenger, Fl, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4440.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Wakatobi, Komodo, Fiji, Thailand, New Guinea, Palau, Truk, Red Sea, Carribean, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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 Inside camera tables with both 110 and 220 volt charging equipment. Lots of storage. Outside tables to keep cameras out of the AC, tables right by dive dressing stations, very accessible.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This has been one of the best liveaboards in the world since it was launched in 2001. It was built with redundant systems and maintenance had been a high priority for the original owner. It underwent an ownership change this summer and I was anxious to see if the high standards were still being maintained. As of this writing, the new owner,Roman Szalay,an Austrian who has been involved in the Indonesia Dive industry for years, is keeping the boat to its previous high standards. The boat was in excellent shape, with individual room ac, and even the ensuite bathrooms have their own hot water system for the showers. All systems worked well, tho the AC in the salon did break and was out for a couple of days until the crew got replacement parts and repaired it. In all, that was quite an accomplishment in this remote part of the world. The boat has a crew of 12 (Roman served as the cruise director on this trip but he has hired a European dive master to take over that operation) and service was excellent. Anytime you were on the dive platform, there were several helping hands to assist you in putting on skins, wet suits, bc's, etc. It was like having several personal valets. They also took the tanks and bc's and put them away before refilling them, and handled cameras with care, taking them directly to a rinse tank after the dingy's got back to the boat. The crew remembered which gear belonged to everyone and saw to it that it was all in the dinghy's for each dive. Diving in the Lembeh Strait was great with four divemasters going on every dive with no more than 4 divers per group. That allowed everyone a chance to see/photograph the unusual critters that make the strait a great place to dive.
On the negative side, the crew smokes, but only on the stern. However, the wind often carried the smoke forward or to the upper desk.
The food was not as good as previous tripsI have made on this boat. There were not many western presentations(except for eggs made to order at breakfast) and I didn't like it (chicken for example, was just hacked into pieces before cooking, and not separated into breasts, thighs, etc like Americans like it.)My wife, however, who has a more exciting pallet than mine, thought the food was good. Its a matter of personal taste. The itinerary was supposed to include just a few days in the strait (which is why we booked extra time at a resort after the trip) and more diving outside the strait near Bangka Island and Bunaken Marine Park. But based on the weather (we had some strong winds) and the preference of the other divers, we did not do much of the planned itinerary and spent more time in the straits and similar areas doing muck diving. The diving was still good, but, if you plan to do some land-based diving as well, and base it on the planned itinerary of the boat so you don't do much repeat diving, you could be disappointed if the boat does not make its planned itinerary.
Several people did book time at resorts near Bunaken, so, they weren't disappointed by the lack of diving there, but, since we had arranged time at resorts on Lembeh, we did spend more time there than planned (but the diving was still great, see my review on Kungkungan Bay Resort).
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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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