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

December, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by S Lori Brown, WA, US
Sr. Contributor   (22 reports)
Report Number 6384
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington (Puget
Sound), Bonaire, Cozumel, Fiji, Indonesia (Irian Jaya, Sulawesi, Bali)
Papua New Guinea, Jamaica
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
80   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
A dive guide was with us on every dive but there were no enforced
restrictions, just an appropriate reminder that we were far away from the
nearest chamber.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There was a room on the boat dedicated to photographers.  Tables with
plenty of outlets. Crew carried the cameras to and from the boats and
handed cameras to divers.  There was a wash tank dedicated to cameras. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
3 stars    
  We traveled from Seattle to San Francisco to Korea to Singapore to Manado
to Sorong in West Papua (previously known as Irian Jaya).  We were met at
the Sorong Airport by Paradise Dancer Crew and transported to the Dewi
Nusantara.  We went on an 11 day cruise in December 2011 starting in
Sorong, heading northwest through Raja Ampat with our first stop at Kri and
the final dives southwest of Sorong.
The Diving: All of the dives were spectacularin their own way. The
diversity of the dive sites was part of the overall delight.  Some
highlights were Ganan Island in Alijui Bay.  I could not exaggerate the
number of different nudibranchs and flatworms: there was the ever present
Phyllidopsis as well as Phyllidia, Glossodoris, Chromodoris (several),
Glossodoris, several, and Tamja.  I couldnt identify all the flatworms. 
Another notable dive was the Manta Ray Dive.  A coalition of local dive
operators built a semicircle of large rocks and detritus facing a cleaning
station.   Wendy Brown, the Cruise Director, worked hard to dampen
expectations  sometimes she said, there were no manta raysin which case
we would just make a leisurely tour.  But OMG, as soon as we got down and
situated around the rigged amphitheater a half dozen manta rays were
sailing around in some cases, within a few feet of the divers.The show was
still going strong after about an hour when we got the signal that it was
time to leave.  
  Another dive worth repeating was the dive at Forundi Cave.  The cave was
a huge protected cavern and featured a manic electric clam hidden behind a
sponge.  In the twilight of the cave, the electric clam was dazzling. 
There was also a cave within the cavern but for lack of equipment  I dared
not enter the narrow hole.  Nearby we came upon a large octopus out in the
open pretending not to be there.   It is ridiculous that I havent yet
mentioned the unbelievable coral, both soft and hard, throughout the
journey and the swarms of fish on every dive.
  The Dive Operations: Wendy Brown is the Cruise Director and our dive
guide was Andre. Two tenders ferried the fifteen divers to sites.  There
was an elderly disabled woman on our boat. I have to give kudos to the dive
crew, and Wendy especially, for keeping her safe and comfortable.  Wendy
dove solo with her and no one could have asked for a more attentive and
competent dive guide.  Our guide, Andre, accompanied four of us.  He was
helpful but not intrusive and was dedicated to finding things for the
photographers including pygmy seahorses, octopus, and strange nudibranchs. 

  The Boat: Dewi Nusantara is a beauty.  We had a regular cabin which was
spacious and clean.  The bathroom was large and had a real-sized shower
with HOT water.  I was actually stunned at how large the room was and there
was plenty of room for storage. One problem in our room was that the
ceiling leaked when there was heavy rainthis happened twice.  I was a bit
alarmed to find water had leaked onto my beloved Kindlefortunately it
wasnt damaged.   The housekeeping staff was quick to clean up the water
and change the bed in the room. There was a covered deck for lounging and
reading and an uncovered deck for those who do not burn to a crisp in the
blazing sun.  There was an indoor lounge with a library and tables for
logging dives or playing games.  This was by far the most beautiful
live-aboard we have ever been on. My understanding is that the Dewi
Nusantara will be leaving the Dancer Fleet in February 2012.  They already
have a website with their 2012-2014 dive trips. 
  The Meals: Mixed reviews on the meals.  The best meal of the day was
lunch.  Heinrich and the kitchen staff prepared and served local foods
buffet styleusually a soup like soto ayam or tom yum soup, a large grilled
fish with beautiful sauce, a curry, a spiced local vegetable, spiced fried
shrimp or calamari, and gado gado to name a few.  One day a man pulled up
alongside the Dewi Nusantara selling a fresh caught tuna we had the best
sashimi ever.  The dinner was a bit more hit or miss.  It was served
European style and honestly, Id say that the best of it was when there was
an Indonesian dish such as curried beef or a freshly grilled fish.   
  Land Trips: We made a few land excursions  one to  a pearl farm which
was well worth it and the other a hike to a beautiful view. 
  Overall, a great trip and we would go back to the Dewi Nusantara without
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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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