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Dive Review of Pindito in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

December, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, USA
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4607
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Caribbean, Galapagos, Socorro, Cocos, Malaysia, Micronesia, Fiji,
Australia, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
84   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 minute dives. No decompression.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Inside camera room and charging station--no salt spray. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
The Pindito has offered diving in the Raja Ampat area of Indonesia since
1992. Smokers will love it.

The 45 minute flight from Manado to Sorong left late but was otherwise
uneventful; everyones luggage arrived so we were able to leave port
earlier than expected for the overnight ride to Misool.

The first dive was pretty, cozy at 84 degrees, with lots of soft coral, a
school of anchovies, and colorful clownfish darting about their anemones.
Visibility was not as good as I expected, true on most dives, limiting
wide-angle photos. Successive dives produced plate coral 6 across, massive
giant tridacna clams almost 5 long,  and sea fans 4-5tall. In the Misool
area our guides found several pygmy sea horses of various sizes, tiny
cowries on sea fans, and whip coral gobies and shrimp.

The Pindito is a beautiful wooden boat with 8 cabins plus the owners
cabin. Our cabin had a double bed with an upper removable bunk. A small
sink is in the main room and a separate room holds the commode and shower.
I love hot showers, but after the first two days, it was luke warm. There
is ample shelving next to the sink and under the bed; theres also storage
under the bed for large suitcases. There was one set of 5 hooks on the
wall. Reading lights were above both beds. Two small wooden steps helped
climbing into either bed. The boat is very quiet, even while moving, and
didnt rock much. 

Indoor/outdoor carpeting is only in the camera room, which would be crowded
if everyone had a camera. Wood floors were everywhere else, so drippy
swimsuits werent a problem when racing to the cabin after a dive, since
there was no head on the main deck. There was one warm water shower on the
port side of the boat. Since gear wasnt rinsed until the last day of the
trip, the shower was popular for wetsuit rinsing. 

The main lounging area and dive deck were up front. A large tarp was rolled
out on sunny days so there was plenty of shade. There was also a
semi-shaded sitting area up one level in front of the wheelhouse. Gear was
kept in large baskets under benches along the sides of the boat; about 15
minutes before scheduled dive times tanks were brought out. Tanks were DIN
with yolk adapters, and Nitrox was included. We dressed the tanks and the
crew hauled them down the steps on either side of the boat to one of three
zodiac-style skiffs. Cameras were placed on a small platform attached to
the side of the skiff and bungee cords were used to keep them from falling
off. After each dive, gear was brought back up to the main deck, we took
off our BC and regulator, and the tanks disappeared to be filled at the
stern of the boat.

Skiff rides were 3-10 minutes. We were in the same skiff the entire week;
the 3 guides rotated between. They diligently hunted for critters. If we
happened to be nearby, they waved us over. Since currents could pick up
suddenly, dives were limited to 60 minutes; if you were more than a couple
minutes late, they assumed you were missing.

We had assigned deck towels that were washed a couple times during the 10
day trip. We got yummy snacks after the afternoon dive, but nothing after
the night dive. 

The big difference was the smoking policy. Most of the staff smokes, the no
smoking area policy was not enforced, and the European smokers smoked
everywhere but in the dining area. I am very allergic to smoke, so this
affected my enjoyment of the trip

We were disappointed there were few large thingsa shark or two, 3 manta
rays, a couple turtles. We did see our first bamboo and wobbegong sharks.
We also saw many pygmy sea horses, ghost pipe fish, a couple sea snakes,
dozens of clownfish, and too many nudibranchs to count. The staff found 4
sargassum frogfish floating off the boat, put them in a clear fish tank for
a short while so we could see them and takes photos, and then replaced them
in their home. My favorite dive was at the end of the trip, at Wolof
Island, a colorful wall with clear water and lots of interesting critters
and fish living in the nooks and crannies of the wall. Another neat dive
was a night dive under a jetty where we saw a big, angry woobegong shark,
cockatoo and long spine waspfish, devil fish and various strange-looking

Food was OK Indonesian foodlots of chicken and rice, with fish a couple

We did several night dives. The first two were rather disappointing, even
the guides saying they were quiet. The others were better, with lots of
tiny soft coral crabs, shrimp, bamboo and woobegong sharks, and even a
hermit crab giving birth to miniscule babies.

We saw many neat things, but the diving on the whole did not quite live up
to our high expectations. We were put in one washing-machine situation,
noticeable from the boat, that had continuous up, down, and every which way
currents, with three people suddenly swept down to over 100. I spent 25
minutes kicking and inflating and deflating my BC, trying to stay stable,
before giving up and aborting the dive, then being swept down to 30 while
trying to make my ascent. Another dive, we were guaranteed strong current
and lots of sharks, but it was the first time neither currents nor sharks
showed up, and the Mandarin dive was nothing but surge, sand, and dozens of
sea urchins with very long spines ready to stab us, another dive aborted.

If you like beautiful soft corals, mostly smaller fish and strange
critters, dont need to see big things or have wide-angle visibility, and
cigarette smoke isnt a problem, this is the trip for you. Next year, we
will try again on a different boat.

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