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Dive Review of Raja4Divers in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Raja4Divers, Nov, 2011,

by Mike Cavanaugh, TX, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports). Report 6365.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco diving (nearest chamber is Monado)
Dive with computer
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Boat: There were no rinse/soak tanks on the boats but R4D had nice padded baskets to place photo/video gear in and would keep gear covered with a towel. Photo/video gear was handled professionally by boat crews and the baskets were stored in the stern with the boat captain.

Dock: There was a single rinse tub on the dock for photo/video gear which was adequate for a couple of large size cameras. If you had multiple photographers the rinse tank would quickly become crowded.

Camera Room: R4D had a beautiful air conditioned camera room that had 6+ stations to assemble, clean and maintain photo/video kit. There were cleaning supplies and compressed air available and multiple outlets for recharging lights and batteries. There was a small rinse tub outside the photo room which was useful for bringing the camera gear to ambient temperature in water after setting up for the next dive.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Resort:

Raja4Divers is a relatively new resort (5-6 months of operation) on the island of Palau Pef. R4D were proactively waiting at the airport in Sorong to greet you and help in collecting luggage. The Sorong airport is definitely 3rd world and is not that well organized. R4D coordinated the land transfer to the dock where you embarked on a 3 hr journey to Pulau Pef. The rustic boat was narrow, long and a bit cramped but it was an "island" boat with twin 150 HP motors (Indonesian cigarette boat). The greeting at R4D on Pulau Pef was personalized and memorable. R4D has a great website and they provide you with useful documents to prepare you for the trip and stay. No surprises for us once we got there. The bungalows were nicely decorated and met the basic needs. There was a desk area, shelves and plenty of lighting and outlets for chargers. The bungalows are open air concept and there is no A/C. They do provide a fan which is sufficient when the wind dies down. The resort had planned generator outages between midnight and 0500 which really sucked because there was no light or air circulation. It could get really hot at night. I understand they will have the generator issue resolved in the near future. There was hot and cold water but no shower. bathing was restricted to a large water basin and a wooden ladle. While it was a crude way to bathe I looked forward to at least 2 baths a day. This is the first dive resort I have stayed at without A/C and while it was comfortable I will not likely stay at this kind of resort again. Too spoiled for my A/C after a day in the sun. The resort staff was always friendly and cheerful and are the unsung heroes for R4D. We really appreciated their cheerfulness and making us feel welcome.

Food:

The food was plentiful and typically Indonesian/Papuan cuisine. Plenty of fish, rice and fried foods. Not too many western dishes were served. No pork was offered in any form. The food was always tasty and I did not grow tired of the cuisine like I thought I would. Snacks and local fruits were available as long as the kitchen was open. Cold drinks, beer and wine were available but expensive. You will not find any liquor in Sorong so bring your bottle if you want to drink.

Diving:

We placed our dive gear in the baskets provided on the dock when we arrived and did not have to touch the gear again until we got ready to leave. The dive operation is well run and very organized. We rarely had more than 6 divers on a boat (not counting crew) and rarely more than 2 divers per guide. The boats were island boats and were a bit crowded or cramped but easy to work with. Everyone geared up and then made a backward roll entry at the same time. Photo/camera gear was handled professionally in and out of the boat. If you have special handling instruction you could tell the crews what you needed. The folks that ran the dive operations (Armin & Sabine) made the diving in Raja Ampat a memorable experience for us. They bent over backwards to accommodate you whenever they could. Armin was very accommodating in offering photo/video suggestions to improve on the quality of pictures and video. Nitrox was readily available (membrane - always 32%) at no charge. You would analyze your tanks the night before so it was not in the critical path the day of diving. All dives sites (never the same sites for a 1 week stay) were a 10-40 minute boat ride from Pulau Pef. The house reef was not bad, we only dove it twice (ck out & night dives). Raja Ampat was definitely world class diving for us. The abundance of soft and hard corals, marine life (both juvenile and adult), macro subjects and large pelagics was quite impressive. The manta dive was awesome. Current was ripping but you didn't have time to think about it because of the sight. Unfortunately there is always live stuff in the water that affects visibility. "The Passage" was another world class dive. This is a dive site which is similar to a river channels between the multitude of islands.
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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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