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

Peter Hughes /Paradise Dancer, Feb, 2009,

by Donald L. Rowe, CA, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports). Report 4756.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Galapagos, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Bali, Maldives, Revillagegedos, Bahamas, Sea of Cortez, Red Sea, Hawaii, Cozumel, Bora Bora, Moorea, Raitea, Rangiroa, Costa Rica, Maui, Loreto, Mexico,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Generally 60 minute dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments By observation only. Not a photographer but have photos from other divers. First Rate set up.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Only bad was getting there Took 3 1/2 days because of scattered availability of flights within Indonesia. From LA to Singapore was great on Singapore Airlines. The rest of the air was bad. Had to stay two days in hotel in Manado going, and one day in Jakarta coming home.

But from the time I boarded the Paradise Dancer until I reluctantly de-boarded, the trip was wonderful.

The boat is very large with three topdecks available for use. Center top deck was the dive center for dressing, and rinsing, storing dive clothing, complete with warm towels after every dive and two masseurs giving shoulder and back rubs.

All diving done from two large dive boats with 8-10 passengers in each boat. Both boats deposited diver in the same general area, but at no time did groups wind up in the same spot at the same time. Divers could follow the lead guide, or go on their own, generally in pairs, with a following dive guide to assist as necessary.

Weather was fickle and we had spotty rain and clouds with an equal number of bright sunny days where one could burn easily. Occasional choppy surfaces but not of any diving consequence.

First part of trip, the diving was generally along walls with at about 70 feet. Currents were quite strong but we seldom intentionally swam against them. On one dive, I was saving my air by staying around 50 feet while the group was at 70 feet, when we came to a channel in the reef where there was a break at about 60 feet and I was blissfully swept away in the current coming through the break. A lesson,I only had to learn once. There were fish and animals to suit all tastes. The area is remarkable for critters, but has enough larger animals to provide variety. Sharks,(six Woebegongs on one dive,Nurse sharks,White tips and Gray Sharks),Mobulas,Wahoo,Hump Head Wrasses and Hump Head Parrot Fish. Dense schools of Barracuda,Horse Eyed Jacks,Fusileers and Sweetlips loving the currents. For the photographers, Frogfish, (one swimming), Crocodile Fish, Unicorn Fish, Morays. The best two dives of the trip were on a Seamount with nine Mantas on the first dive, and 10 on the second in formations circling through a cleaning station. Saw five solid black Mantas in second squadron.
The critter lovers could add another two paragraphs to what I have listed.

As for the boat. Rooms are the largest I have seen on 15 Liveaboards.There was more than adequate storage in the rooms, and easy access to dive bags stowed below. Bathrooms were ensuite and also largest so far.

Generally we did three day dives a day. Could easily have done four and not quite sure why we didn't. Fourth dive was a night dive before dinner and started about sunset. Dive group was excellent with no spoilsports. We had more female divers than males and they more than held their own.

Light breakfast fare was available before the first dive with full breakfast to order after the morning dive. Meals were either served in the Lounge or on the center top deck which had two large teak tables that accommodated the entire dive group. (Lunch was buffet style.) Food was excellent with an attentive chef who came to each table at every meal and asked our opinion of the food and any suggestions we might have.

The lounge Steward Hendrick was the epitome of service from playing cards for rummy to next day laundry service.

The dive crew was lead by Gary Bevan, a Brit with whom I have had the pleasure of diving before on the Komodo Dancer. He was divemaster, entertainer, Mr. Fixit for any equipment malfunction, and overall, splendid host. He was ably assisted by Claire Holman a student of all that swims,crawls, or merely rests beneath the ocean, Yan Alfian,also formerly with the Komodo Dancer and a veteran divemaster, Acho Makruf, and Ongko Mamoriba.

The getting there is daunting, but the boat, crew and diving are worth it.

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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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