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

February, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Donald L. Rowe, CA, United States
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 4756
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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

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Generally 60 minute dives.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
By observation only.  Not a photographer but have photos from other divers.
 First Rate set up.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
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

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

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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