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Dive Review of Serenade/Murex Dive Center, Mando in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Edith and John Summey, IL, USA
Report Number 2110
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
naire,Belize,Mexico)Pacific(Socorro,CocosIsland ,Galapagos,Tahiti,Truk
Lagoon,Palau,Yap,Sipadan,Bali,N.Sulawesi,Phuket,Burma,PNG) Australia,
Antartica, Mediterranean (Costa Brava, S. France, Corsica, Sardina, Italy),
Red Sea
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
82   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
per your training and computer  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
This boat was not designed with photographers in mind, but the crew made an
effort to accomodate our needs and were very helpful in all respects. In
spite of the lack of first class facilities, we were comfortable with the
situation because they had a good attitude.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
We made a boat to boat transfer from the Ocean Rover to the Serenade which
was like moving from the Queen Mary to the African Queen. We almost
expected to see Humphery Bogart appear at any minute. Serenade had all of
the color and atmosphere of another century. It was a step back in time,
and even though the boat was built in the 90s, it seemed like it must have
been in the 40s.  The cabins were air conditioned as advertised, and
fortunately for us, we were allowed to keep ours on all day, but no so for
all the guests. The others were mostly Australians or British who did not
mind the heat. But, we appreciated a cool retreat even though we were right
over a vibrating and loud engine that shook us to sleep.  
     Nevermind, we were tired enough by then after not getting the Nitrox
we expected. Our request for Nitrox had not been communicated from our
agent to the boat. Though dismayed at first, that turned out not to be such
a problem.  We managed to eek out hour dives anyway and with more personal
attention from the lower ratio of guide-to-guest on this smaller boat, we
saw more unique creatures than we had on the Ocean Rover.  After all, Murex
Dive had been the pioneer of diving in the North Sulawesi region and knew
the very best places to dive.  In fact, Ocean Rover staff had traveled on
Serenade to learn where to go! 
     This boat was the genuine Indonesian operation and the level of
quality was not competitive with the "resort" standard set by
Ocean Rover.  This boat did not have the luxurious lounge, electronic
equipment, photo facilities, or even much room on the dive deck.  It made
up for those deficiencies in flexibility. The tables used for dining were
available for everything else including my computer, the camera, housing,
or whatever else needed attention at any time other than meal time.  
     Even though we covered the same areas of North Sulawesi, we dove on
different sites and had an extended experience that enriched what we had
gained from the Ocean Rover trip. We topped off these two liveaboard trips
with a couple of days at the Murex Dive Center accommodations at Manado
prior to our departure.  Shore diving or day trips may be had from that
facility, but we used the time to dry out before our flight to Bali where
we were scheduled to dive on the Komodo Dancer for another 10 days.  The
Serenade had been a delightful and interesting change of pace.
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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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