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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Paradise Dancer in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

November, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Jerome M Hobart, NY, US
Contributor   (12 reports)
Report Number 5850
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
[Maldives, French Polynesia, Great Barrier Reef, Cozumel,Bonaire,Florida
Keys, Bahamas,Curacao, Dominica, Cayman Islands, Belize,Grenada,Niagara
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Only depth restriction was limited by 32% nitrox. Generally dove as a group
with 2 dive guides in water.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 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  
Large room on dive deck for photographers. Also, large rinse tank just for
cameras. Fresh, clean water at all times. Before each dive, cameras were
carried by crew to dive tenders and after dive, crew returned cameras to
rinse tank next to camera room.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Peter Hughes' brochure does an excellent job of describing the Paradise
Dancer and has an excellent map of the area you will be diving(Raja
Ampat).Boat is relatively new( 4 to 5 years) and probably the best
liveaboard you will ever dive from. There was a crew of 17 with a maximum
of 18 guests( we had only 11). After setting up your gear on the deck the
night before the first dive, you never touch your tank unless you are in
the water diving. All gear is removed in the water, which makes for easy
exits. Two crew members are on each of the two tenders and also two dive
guides. All dive sites were within 5 minutes of the Paradise Dancer to
which you returned after each dive( Maximum of 3 day dives and usually a
night dive). It should be mandatory that you have a copy of Diving
Indonesia's Raja Ampat by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock (available at or on board the Paradise Dancer), since the book describes every
dive site you will visit. Also, the pictures are excellent. I have never
seen such variety and healthy soft and hard coral in my life and if you are
in to nudibranchs( which I am not), you will be in seventh heaven. Small
fish were very plentiful but you will not find many of the large pelagics.
Some words to the wise. If you are coming from the U.S.; it is a long way.
Our first leg( JFK to Seoul, South Korea) on Korean Air was 14 hrs. After
12 hours in the Korean airport( stay in the airport hotel or one of the
private lounges) our next flight took us to Jakarta where we slept for 5
hours in the Jakarta Airport Hotel. Plan ahead and the hotel will have an
employee meet you at baggage claim and help you through the visa process
and exchange your dollars into rupiahs( large U.S. bills get a better
exchange rate than $20.00 bills). From Jakarta on you need to use
Indonesian money( rupiahs, worth approx. 9,000 to the US dollar). Be aware
that Peter Hughes like most places now, will charge you a 2  1/2% service
fee to process credit cards. Also, most credit card companies will now
charge you a fee for handling foreign transactions. From Jakarta we flew on
Xpress Air to Sorong with some unknown stop in between. A Peter Hughes
representative met us at baggage claim in Sorong( an absolute necessity),
and escorted us to the boat( 188 ft. schooner). At the end of our 12 day
dive trip, one of the divemasters( Yan) took us to the Sorong Airport where
we were met by a Peter Hughes' travel representative who stayed with us
until we were safely on our plane to Ujung Pandang and then Bali(
Denpasar). It seems standing in line and waiting your turn is not a custom
in Indonesia, so having a person who speaks the local language and knows
the ticket clerk is absolutely essential if you ever want to get on a plane
in Sorong. Again, remember if you have a long layover in most Indonesian or
South Korean airports, look for the airport hotel or the private lounges.
For about $10.00 American you get a buffet of appetizers, juice or soda and
usually beer and sometimes brand name alcohol along with overstuffed
chairs, airconditioning and television. Much better than sitting on the
floor or a hardback chair for 4 to 12 hours.
    All in all, the travel distance was worth it. Although the Paradise
Dancer is a little pricey( approx. $4500.), you are getting 10 days of
diving, a huge cabin with full bath, excellent service 24 hrs. a day( thank
you Henrick), the best dive crew you will ever encounter( thank you Wendy,
Claire, Yan, and Acho), and a superb motor-sailboat that cuts through the
water instead of banging on top of it like the catamarans.
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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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