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Dive Review of Scuba Seraya Resort in
Indonesia/Tulamben, Bali

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Rickie Sterne, AR, US
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5471
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Sea of Cortez,
GBR, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, other areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
82   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Come up with air in your tank and any deco obligation completed  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or  
Whale Sharks
1 or 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
     The dive guide was very helpful in finding subjects.  Since we had a
private dive guide, there was no pressure to move on if we wanted to take
25 shots of a pygmy seahorse or a section of the wreck (and no other
photographers skulking around to shoot the same thing)  Since we set the
times of our dives ourselves, we could choose the kind of light we wanted. 
There was a three-bay camera table in a room adjacent to the dive shed, but
we kept our cameras in our villa.  We used the large desk as a work surface
and were able to charge batteries in the villa as well.  The boat captain
handled our cameras carefully.  Since the rides back to the resort were ten
minutes or less, we used the large cameras-only rinse tank there.  The
water was always clean.  Both wide-angle and macro subjects abounded.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
     As we told friends before we left home, this trip was a holiday with
diving rather than a dedicated dive mission.  Scuba Seraya, discovered
through the Chapbook, was the perfect place to spend such a holiday.  Katie
at Reef and Rainforest made all the arrangements for us, so the trip was
effortless.  We appreciate the fact that Katie provides the same great
service to just the two of us that she provides to big and important groups
like Seacology. The driver from Scuba Seraya came soft upon his hour to
pick us up at the hotel in Sanur where we had collapsed after staggering
off our twenty-seven hour flight from the US.  The drive to the Tulamben
area lasted a bit over two hours, but it was a beautiful drive through
terraced rice fields and fishing villages.  We and a few dozen eggs
strapped into the front seat were the only passengers in the late-model,
squeaky clean miniSUV.
     Scuba Seraya is a fairly small resort (28-30 guests maximum) set right
on the beach amid beautifully landscaped grounds.  There are two classes of
accommodation at Scuba Seraya: garden maisonettes and oceanfront villas. 
We treated ourselves to an oceanfront villa, and were very glad we did. 
The villa itself was spacious, with lots of storage. The marble tiled
floors were attractive and practical for often not-quite-dry divers.  Two
walls of French doors let us look out onto the beach and our private
courtyard when the privacy curtains were not drawn.  The large bed,
canopied with unneeded mosquito netting, was comfortable.  Good reading
lights were attached to bedposts on both sides of the bed.  We also had a
comfortable settle in the room.  The partially outdoor Balinese bathroom
was spacious as well.  The thick towels were changed whenever we left them
on the floor.  The villa was cleaned thoroughly each day.  The private
courtyard was lovely.  It featured a covered wet bar area, which we used
primarily for our cameras, a settle next the door, a plunge tub with
flowers in it on our arrival, and a wonderful Balinese "couch"
-sort of a covered double bed where we lounged during surface intervals.
The couch had curtains we could drop if we wanted privacy; otherwise, we
enjoyed a view of the ocean as we lounged.  We fell asleep and awoke again
each morning to the sound of waves lapping against the beach.  Magical!  
     We took all our meals in the resort's small open air restaurant.  The
full American breakfast - fresh fruit or fresh-squeezed fruit juice, a
basket of breads, omelet or eggs-to-order, and bacon or sausage - was
included in the room rate.  The Bali kopi was a treat to those of us who
take coffee seriously. We ordered our other meals from a menu.  The menu
offered plenty of variety for more than a week's worth of meals.  Between
the two of us, we ordered food from every section of the menu and found it
all to be tasty, well presented, and very reasonably priced.  The
restaurant was open all day if any hungry divers wanted to drop by for
snacks.  This was not a fast food joint, but the service was quite prompt
for individually-prepared meals.
     Scuba Seraya offers a small deck with chaise lounges overlooking the
ocean, several comfortable outdoor seating areas, and small freshwater
     Diving cannot get more personalized than it is at Scuba Seraya.  We
put our gear into baskets provided, left it in our courtyard, and it
reappeared magically in the dive shed soon afterwards.  The staff rinsed
our gear and stored it inside after our last dive of the day.  There were
two freshwater showers in the dive shed, and large towels were provided. We
were assigned a private dive guide.  That's right!  Alit escorted just the
two of us on our dives.  And when he asked where we wanted to dive, he
really meant it.  We also set the schedule for our diving ourselves.  Want
to be first on the wreck?  7 am it is!  Want a leisurely breakfast before
your first dive?  How about 0830? We like late afternoon dives and were
able to do one every day. Since we were not familiar with the sites around
Tulamben, Alit asked us what sort of site we wanted and what we wanted to
see, then chose for us (and chose well, I might add)  Length of our dives
was determined by our own air consumption alone.  Most of our dives were
well over an hour.
     The diving around Tulamben, while not quite as spectacular as the
diving around Papua, is quite good, varied, and easy.  And Bali is so much
more accessible!  No inter-island flights with thirty pound weight limits
on checked luggage and constantly changing schedules!  We were impressed by
the variety of diving: the only wreck outside of Truk lagoon we've enjoyed,
small walls, reefs, and muck.  Tulamben has it all.  The Liberty wreck, as
many a diver has reported before us, is really a lovely dive.  In a single
view you get interesting wreck structure, good soft coral and gorgonian
cover, and many species of fishes.  There we encountered the single largest
barracuda we've ever seen anywhere, large groupers, bumphead parrotfish,
and a tuna.  We also saw smaller beauties like Pomacanthus annularis and
Centropygi elbi.  On one dive there I counted eighteen species of
butterflies.  There were a few nudis crawling around the wreck as well. 
The huge, swirling school of jacks in the shallows above the wreck lured us
into safety stop that lasted far beyond five minutes.  Tulamben Dropoff
must host the second-largest concentration of anemones in the Pacific.  A
half dozen species of anemonefish skittered around their hosts.  We swam
past pretty corals at Batu Kelebit and Alam Anda.  We saw a good variety of
fish and critters during our week of diving.  Among others we encountered
several ornate ghost pipefish, frogfish in several sizes and hues, numerous
leaf scorpionfish, shrimpfish, green razorfish, palette surgeonfish, and a
number of juvenile angels.  I was bit disappointed the relative scarcity of
nudis, but crustacea were very well represented.  We saw three gorgeous
harlequin shrimp, a pair of Coleman shrimp hitching a ride on a fire
urchin, a couple of tiny tiger shrimp, and several wire coral shrimp.  We
encountered soft coral crabs on most dives and, thanks to Alit's sharp eye
and knowledge of habitat, we saw no fewer than three boxer crabs and a
fairly large, brilliantly colored anemone crab.  The muck diving at Seraya
Secrets, the resort's house reef, is not quite up to Lembeh standards, but
we saw quite a few cool critters there.  Around the artificial reef
structure, we saw a large school of batfish getting cleaned most
afternoons. The boat dives were done from various small dinghies, some with
reentry ladders and one without. The dive staff carried all our gear except
our cameras to and from the dinghies.  We walked into Seraya Secrets, the
house reef, wearing our gear, but the staff cheerfully carried tanks out
into the water for divers who requested that service. We did make one
mistake.  The dives at Tulamben are fairly deep; we frequently found
ourselves 0-2 minutes from deco.  We should have dove Nitrox, which is
readily available at Scuba Seraya and reasonably priced at $3.50 per tank.
Rides along the coast of Bali were brief, but we enjoyed seeing Mount Agung
and several small temples along the way.  Actually, we enjoyed just about
everything about Scuba Seraya.
     A nod to the poor economy.  We spent twelve nights on Bali.  While we
paid heavily in jet lag, we spent no more money than couples we know who
spent a week on St Statia with the local dive shop.  We did sixteen dives
to their ten, enjoyed a private dive guide rather than being packed into a
cattle boat, enjoyed very good dives to their mediocre ones, and stayed in
much nicer lodgings.
     Were it not for Mr. Davison's ruthless word counter, I could now go on
to tell the sad tale of how we were stranded in Singapore by the eruption
of the volcano in Iceland.  
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