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

April, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Judy Foester, NJ, USA
Report Number 3573
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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

calm, currents  
Water Temp
79   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
All dives were 60 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
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 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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