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

Peter Hughes -- Paradise Dancer, Jan, 2011,

by Jeffrey F Tonn, WA, US ( 2 reports). Report 5909.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Solomon Islands, Palau, Galapagos, Hawaii, Belize, Caymans, Bonaire, Roatan, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Australia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes or so
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera room with good camera space, adequate power, towels, shelf for storage. Great dunk tank always filled with clean water. Divers very respectful of camera tank. Crew was fantastic in handling cameras and always carried them to dive tender. Crew took cameras first at end of dive, put protective covers on lenses, turned off modeling lights. It couldn't have been better!

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our second trip on Paradise Dancer. Many of the crew were still there from two years before. Wendy, Yan and Acho were the dive masters - the dream team! They are absolutely the best. We like to go off on our own, but when they spotted something good, they looked for us. We really liked this trip even better than our first trip to Raja Ampat because we knew where the places we wanted to return. Many Mantas, Wobegon sharks and great fish life. The marine reserves are fantastic and the fish are easier to approach than outside the reserves. The corals are amazing. We saw some bleaching, and there seemed to be more toward the end of the trip in the south.

On this boat you don't need to handle your gear at all, other than to check it over, put it on and roll off the tender. At the end of the dive you hand it up to crew members who are always there to take it from you. The shoulder massages and warm towels are there for you after each dive.

You can't find a better boat - a three masted schooner. It has a wide beam, so it is stable as can be. It is roomy and the cabins are great. There had been several improvements since our first trip, including installation of a non-skid surface on the deck. It was beautiful wood before, but just too slippery. For people who experienced issues when the boat was new, those are now gone.

Breakfasts are cooked to order - people were creative in their requests. I ate Indonesian - mei goreng or nasi goreng or rice porridge. Lunches were tilted toward Indonesian/Asian - and were fantastic. Dinners were Western, and were fine. The first night we had a huge Indonesian dinner - in my opinion the best dinner of the trip.

My only complaint is the travel to get there. That, of course, is why the diving is still so great. From Bali you must overnight in Makassar then fly on to Sorong, where you catch the boat. Dancer staff help at every step of the way, though, for as much as you need them. Expect to pay overweight charges for each domestic flight. You need rupiah in Sorong, but we find you can use plastic in Bali and Makassar. With all our camera gear, we paid about $300 getting from Bali to Sorong, and a bit less on the return. Yan was extremely helpful in negotiating overweight payment in Sorong.

So, would I go back? How about tomorrow.....
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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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