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Dive Review of Ondina - Deb Fugitt Charter in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

November, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Peter J Maerz, FL, United States
Report Number 3171
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bimini, Bonaire, Cay Sal Bank (Bahamas), Dominica, Fiji, Guanaja(Bay
Islands, Honduras), Little Cayman, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None--follow computers  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Sturdy, lighted, mostly protected camera table with thick, perforated
rubber mats. Storage underneath for personal plastic baskets. Two
dedicated, rubber-lined rinse tanks. Crew very knowledgeable about and
careful with cameras. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
   PRE-TRIP:  Fantastic customer service from Deb Fugitt who was in
constant communication and helpted to plan every leg of our individual
journeys. Almost every email query of the dozens sent by me were answered
within minutes!
   TRAVEL:  All connections were smooth. As Deb suggested, I carefully
packed camera gear in home-made high-density foam-lined cases that made it
easy for TSA to unpack and repack. No damage or concerns there. Also at
Deb's suggestion, I politely but firmly insisted on checking my bags all
the way through to Manado from my embarkation point in Ft. Lauderdale. This
required the services of a manager at the reservation desk, since multiple
airlines and lengthy layovers were involved, but my bags showed up on
schedule almost three days later. I kept my two bags just under 40lbs.
There was only one nominal overage charge, from Manado to Sorong. 
   THE SHIP:  The Ondina, an all-wooden Pinsi-style schooner, was designed;
from scratch for divers. Cabins were cleverly designed to provide plenty of
storage, lighting, and overall comfort. Ensuite heads feature a fairly
large vanity/sink, a shower and a hand-pumped marine head. While not
"deluxe" by 5-star resort standards, the accomodations were very
appealing with lots of hand-made touches. 
   The enclosed dive prep room provided more than enough room to gear up in
comfort without slugging fellow divers. In typical liveaboard fashion, each
of us was assigned a space and tank on a bench with personal storage in a
basket underneath. A separate room housed wetsuits, a large rinse tank and
two very efficient tankless hot water shower units.  
   A fairly spacious salon housed two large, heavy wooden tables with
continuous booths surrounding them and large chairs in the space between
them. As usual, this was the social center for dining, laptop editing,
movie watching etc. The food was fantastic, for my taste. There was never a
duplicate lunch or dinner. The food was healthy, wholesome and delicious,
often surprising (such as soups for breakfast that were delicious and fit
perfectly with the first meal of the day). A large, partially shaded
sundeck topped the ship.
  THE DIVING OP: Extensive and entertaining briefings took place in the
prep room. We were permanently assigned one of four "tinnies"
(tenders), two "red" and "blue" on each side of the
mother ship. Red 1 and Blue 1 alternated boarding with Red 2 and Blue 2
each day. Short rides to the sites culminated with the divemaster and
tender driver helping us gear up, a coordinated back-roll, quick swim back
to the tinnie and then a headlong bolt to the bottom to avoid being swept
over the top of the reef by currents. Some sites did have plenty of push,
but there were a good many that were easily manageable or calm. 
  THE DIVING EXPERIENCE: Absolutely thrilling. Coral gardens at a number of
sites, most notably Melissa's Garden, stretched to the horizon, absolutely
brimming with every size, texture and type of coral, all of it pristine.
Critters abounded ("Waterlogged" the best macro site), from
Orangutan Shrimp to Coleman shrimp to wire coral crabs to Zebra crabs to
every size, shape and color of nudibranch immaginable. Forget about the
fish... Clouds of anthias infested fields of elkhorn corals. Huge,
glittering balls of silversides flitted in unison. Tropicals? Dance troupes
of Moorish Idols, glowing Coral trout, and entire chapters of ID books
worth of butterfly and angel fish. Brilliantly striped and polka-dotted
Sweetlips in tight packs. Otherworldly Wobegong sharks. Bumpheads in
battalions, stoicly facing the onrushing current. And all this on a trip
that Deb said was not the best they'd taken! 
  As noted above, the photo facilities were excellent (though E-6 is fast
becomming a relic!-no processing was available on this trip of almost all
digital photogs). 
  The area is quite lovely, with many lush, uninhabited rock islands
dotting the horizon and typically gorgeous Pacific sunsets. 
  All in all, a fantastic trip, easily on a par with, if not a cut above
PNG and the Solomons. 

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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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