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Dive Review of Papua Diving/Sorido Bay Resort in
Indonesia/Raja Amput

Papua Diving/Sorido Bay Resort, Jul, 2005,

by Sean Bruner, AZ, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 1783.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Komodo, Indonesia; Palau; Galapagos; PNG; BVI; Cozumel; Roatan; Bonaire; Hawaii.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 82 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Most dives ended after one hour, although there were no enforced restrictions.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments see body of report below

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We flew from LAX to Singapore and then on to Manado in northern Sulawesi. We had to overnight in Manado. Next morning, we flew on Wings Air (motto, in English, Fly Is Cheap) to Sorong, Papua, on the island of New Guinea. We were met at the plane by a representative of Sorido Bay/Eco Dive Resort and escorted to their boat for the two hour trip to Kri Island, which is in the Raja Amput (Four Kings) island chain, off the Birdshead portion of Papua.
The Kri Eco Resort has been offering fantastic diving in a remote and pristine part of Indonesia for several years now, and the owner just began building an adjacent luxury resort, Sorido Bay. The new rooms (currently only two), offer air conditioning, satellite television, spacious and comfortable beds, a large bathroom (supplied with new toothbrushes and toothpaste, a nice touch) and a large camera table with its own rinse sink and a 110 volt outlet for battery charging. Food is served in a dining room upstairs from the offices in a spacious room overlooking the bay. Guests can use the computer in the upstairs library to look at digital pictures, play DVDs and even check and send email. The food is mostly Indonesian style, with plentiful meat and fish offerings and American or Indonesian style breakfasts. The food was tasty and filling if not gourmet. Every afternoon the waitress brought hot tea and a snack to our room.
The diving is fantastic, if challenging. We were there at the full moon and the current, which is usually strong, was ripping on some of the dives. At times, it was all we could do to duck behind a bomie to get out of direct current. Photographic conditions were less than ideal, since trying to maintain position in the current was often difficult. Not every dive was like this, however, and on a couple of dives, there was little or no current, but these were the exceptions.
The dive operation and resort are owned by Max, a Dutch ex-pat who is one of the most interesting people I have met in my travels. He came to Indonesia originally to salvage WWII discarded jeeps and boats and ended up marrying an Indonesian woman and staying to carve his little paradise out of the wilderness. Max is the ultimate can-do guy, and has set up a thriving operation in a very isolated part of the world. He has his own shop where he fashions wood which his workers cut from the jungle into tongue-and-groove boards for the flooring and ceilings. Max is the kind of guy who you would definitely want around if you were stranded on a desert island, a regular Robinson Caruso.
In their haste to create a plush resort in the middle of nowhere, however, the dive operation has suffered. Especially given the remoteness of the site and the challenge of the diving, the condition of the boat is deplorable. It has no radio, no lights, no life preservers (actually there was one), and, although there was a plastic case which looked as if it might have contained oxygen, even if it did, none of the crew would have been able to operate it. The dive guide, Nixon, was a very experienced diver and a good guide, concerned for my well-being during the dives (he checked up on me several times when my photography had me stray from the group), but he was the only one who seemed to know what he was doing. There were other dive guides who tagged along, but they spoke no English (or other European language) and when Nixon would find something below, they would queue up to see it first, blocking out the paying divers. The two guys on the boat were constantly bickering, and didnt know much about setting up equipment. It wasnt until the third day that they figured out how to put the weight pockets into my integrated BC and once I painfully watched as the assistant tried to figure out how to get my wifes first stage on the tank; he had it upside down until I finally showed him. My tank fell off twice, once underwater and once when I was about to do a back roll off the boat, and my wifes tank was twice set up with a used and mostly empty tank. That being said, they were always friendly and eager to please, so it was hard to be mad at them, just dismayed.
During a night dive, Nixon entered the water without a light. My wife gave him her backup and then he went down to 80 feet in a raging current. Totally unsafe. Even Mikhail, from Sweden, one of the most accomplished divers I have had the pleasure to dive with, was angry about that dive.
The diving itself was spectacular. Legend has it that Indonesia was thought to have approximately 250 varieties of reef fish, but that on one dive in Raja Amput, Dr. Gerald Allen found 273 species. In addition to variety, the abundance of the fish life and the coral is astounding, with every Indonesian variety well represented and, obviously, plenty more. In addition to reef exploration, there is a manta ray dive which we did twice. On the first manta dive, we saw four different mantas, three at once. On the second dive, we saw two, but one came in eye to eye with us and brushed my hair as it passed over me as I was tethered to my reef hook. Overall, diving with Papua Diving is an experience not to be missed by the advanced diver.
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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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