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Dive Review of Papua Diving/Sorido Bay Resort in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat, West Papua

Papua Diving/Sorido Bay Resort, Apr, 2007,

by Judy Foester, NJ, USA . Report 3573.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Bonaire, Solomon Is., Papua New Guinea, Wakatobi, St. Eustatius, Dominica, the Grenadines.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 79 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were 60 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments The bungalows were plenty roomy for working on gear. The big problem was that there was no fresh water rinse for your gear or for you. My regulators got more corroded in one week than in 35 years of use. I sponged my cameras with bottled water. In the September, 2003 issue of Undercurrent, projection was that by winter, the resort was to have "unlimited fresh water, large photographer's facility, menu choices in a large restaurant and a research center"...four years later, none of this was there. Lots of ID books are available in the library and there is a big gathering area where we sat, before dinner, going over identifications and sharing photos and videos. One couple had visited primitive tribes on mainland New Guinea and showed their videos. Internet connections are poor and slow, as in Wakatobi.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The heat and humidity were overwhelming for me and I think taking Malarone made it worse. One young Brit runs the entire dive operation AND manages the resort (in charge of rats chewing wires, roofs leaking, large roaches running across faces at night, a smelly bathroom). The guests were VERY interesting and from all over the world...S. Africa, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and 3 photo-journalists for GEO magazine. Max Ammer, owner, and his stories, are priceless. Max would be a big hit on Jay Leno. We saw lots of wobbegong sharks, epaulette sharks, mandarinfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, nudis, flatworms, opisthobranchs. This is a land that time forgot...except for the turtles....time and man seem to have wiped them out. There are air and ship wrecks, freshwater non-stinging jellyfish lakes, mangroves and passages with unique geology and lighting. The dive boats were small, overloaded and difficult to gear-up in...sitting on the gunwale with your tank cantilevered out over the water. Boat crews do not speak English. There is no toilet on any dive boat for full and half-day trips. The fuel surcharges are very high if venturing beyond the small circle around the resort. Sorong airport is very primitive and difficult. In all monetary exchanges, every attempt is made to discount US currency. Any mark or fold reduced the value 20-30%. Overweight luggage charges were high and currency hassles continued in regard to departure tax. The lunch and dinner food was monotonously the same every day. They claim that duck, lamb and venison have been added but they will just cook it the same way and it will be just as unappealing. Desserts were the pits! These cooks need to go to chef school. We just looked at each other as the food was placed on the table and felt bad for the British couple with a three-year contract there. There were no ice cubes to be seen. On the way home, a large cassowary was walking down the main street in Sorong. I asked Max why this would be. He said they are adorable as chicks and imprint on a family, following everywhere. If the family goes diving, the cassowary sticks his head under the water to see where they went. Dive operations used to pay village chiefs to dive their reefs. The Indonesian government got upset and required the fees to be paid to the government...you know where that leads! The chiefs can prohibit divers from using their reefs. Villages do not get the monetary support they need or were accustomed to receiving...just a bad scene at the basic level. There seems to be a big disconnect between the government and the services received by the citizens. I mailed photos to the British couple as soon as I got home in May and they still have not arrived. The infrastructure is poor or absent in regard to roads and bridges. You pass the Pertamina hospital where Larry Smith died, on your way from the airport to the island-hopping boat for the two hour ride to Kri Island from Sorong.
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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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