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Dive Review of Odyssea I in
Indonesia/Raja Ampats

Odyssea I, Feb, 2007,

by Mel McCombie, CT, United States (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 3248.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 10 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions owing to currents and low vis, you are required to stay with your divemaster and surface together
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments dedicated digital room on the top deck; dedicated towels and tanks; crowded on the dive deck

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Odyssea I liveaboard is still getting a few kinks out, but overall, we really liked the trip. The cabins are the biggest and most comfortable we have ever seen on a boat (big enough that I could do Pilates on the cabin floor!), and the beds extraordinarily comfortable. Each cabin comes with shower robes and ensuite bathrooms with showers. We berthed in the lower deck stateroom in the bow, and though dark, found it pleasant. There is an analogous stateroom on the main deck with large windows, but its proximity to the saloon can make it noisy for light sleepers. The standard cabins were very nice, slightly smaller than the staterooms, but everyone reported plenty of storage and comfortable beds.

The food on this cruise started out blandly but owing to the presence of a group of Thai divers who helped with the cooking, it got better. I got the impression that high-quality meats were hard to find in the area. Most of the meat in the dishes was gristly and fatty, though chicken, fish, and shellfish were fine. The food is served buffet-style and the dining area large. We weren't bowled over by the quality of the cooking but neither did we starve.

The dive operation is also working out its snags (several of the DMs are new to liveaboards and more cavelier in their attitudes toward dive safety than we wished); the dive deck is crowded but since the crew sets up your gear, washes it after every dive, and takes care of any mechanical problems, the small size was okay; the only time we wished for more space was when suiting up. I did notice that the stairs down from the dive deck to the boat were narrow enough that divers who shop at the Big and Tall will have to go down sideways and gear up below. The crew was kind, attentive, and very helpful, and we bless them for washing wetsuits after every dive in a tank with a mild disinfectant! The result was none of that wetsuit funky smell (you know what I mean) that tends to hang like a blue cloud after the 2nd day, and indeed, my wetsuit smelled better at the end of the trip than the start. The crew also washes and dries your gear at the end of the trip.

Diving is done from rigid-bottomed inflatables, backroll entries; the currents were often strong enough to make our regs cavitate, and vis was often low. This may have owed something to earthquakes in the region; I don't know whether vis is always low. Dives are usually one hour, though some wheedling on our part upped the dive times ten minutes or so.

The conditions in these islands are so varied, as is the life, that that it can't be easily categorized. Some dives are big animal dives (an unforgettable fleet of mantas); some are muck; some are coral; some are critter. The most gratifying animal we saw regularly was the wobbegong shark, seen on about every 3rd dive. The conditions are too challenging for divers without experience in high current and low vis, but for experienced divers, they are perfectly manageable.

We really liked the trip overall, and can say the Odyssea I is easily the most comfortable and uncrowded liveaboard we've ever experienced (save its dive deck). In addition to its cabins and main deck, its top deck is enormous and houses a digital room, media room, large shaded area, and large sundeck. However, the effort of getting to and from Irian Jaya (Papua) may not be worth it to some given that with a few exceptions, you can see all the creatures in the Raja Ampats in more easily accessed areas in Indonesia. Yet preserving the marine life in the area is important, so supporting the positive power of tourism makes a difference. It is certainly worth a visit.

Remember to bring local money for overweight baggage fees and airport taxes. FYI, since the only flights to Sorong go through Manado, it's easy to piggyback a week or two in Lembeh and/or Bunaken onto your trip (if you've got time and some spare change).

I booked through Marty Dawson of Scuba Travel Ventures, and as anyone who knows Marty knows, she is both efficient and extremely caring.
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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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