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Dive Review of Seven Seas in

November, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Linda Rutherford & Ron Welf, CA, US
Contributor   (16 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5841
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
various worldwide
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
79   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
It was suggested we limit diving to 60 minutes. We obtained permission to
increase that to 65 minutes. There are dry lockers on skiffs for keeping
hats. So if you tend to come up early, bring a hat to protect from sun,
because you'll need to wait for others.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Instead of a camera room, we had a large outdoor table for camera storage
and an indoor charging station in an alcove off the main dining area.
Though all of us had camera systems -- some extensive -- the facilities
were adequate. To avoid the crowd, we chose to keep our cameras and battery
chargers in our cabin.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was an unusual, 23-day exploratory trip beginning in Maumere and
ending in Ambon after a 1000-mile cruise via the "Forgotten
Islands" in the east Banda Sea. Some islands were seldom visited by
divers because they are far from airports and sources of resupply for dive

The diving was spectacular and every one of the fourteen passengers agreed
that the entire trip was a delight.

For the two of us, the boat initially seemed less than expected because
there was no camera room and the cabins were modest with limited storage.
However, as we settled in and experienced one spectacular day of diving
after another, these factors no longer seemed important. 

Why was this trip so fabulous? 1) Expert selection of dive sites, 2) sunny
weather and mirror-like seas, 3) clear underwater visibility, 4) village
visits and 5) a bit of luck.

Mark, one of the owners of the boat and the trip planner, served as Cruise
Director. He wanted to explore places off the beaten path where he
suspected thered be good diving. Diving worldwide since he was a teenager,
Mark has acquired the ability to read an environment for its diving
possibilities. His knowledge as professional boat captain also helped pick
dive sites. 

Mark would say something like "Well, the prevailing winds come from
here, and the current will be coming from there, so I think this point near
the deep water will have good possibilities..." He would reconnoiter
in a skiff, and come back with a dive plan. He was sometimes like a kid in
a candy shop at the thought of what he might discover.

We dove on colorful walls where pelagics cruised: schools of jacks,
trevally, barracuda and large rainbow runners, small tuna, large tuna,
Spanish mackerel, wahoo, amberjack, a few sharks, a few turtles, and an
eight-meter whale shark. Plus bump-head parrots, giant wrasse and a wide
variety of tropical fish. Add to that our viewings from the deck of a
hundred spinner dolphins, hundreds of regular dolphins, an erupting volcano
called Kamba, a crocodile swimming in our dive waters, a manta circling the
ship on the surface, and many dramatic sunsets.

The boat travels smoothly at a good speed, typically over seven knots. Our
cabin #7 was quiet and had good reading lights. The under-bed storage
contained boat equipment, so dont count on using it. As a couple, we had
three drawers and two open shelves for our belongings, plus a shelf that
worked as a desk. Pack light and have laundry done.

The main salon has good cross ventilation. While cabins were small, there
was a large deck with shaded seating in front of the wheel-house and
another comfortable area for reading or snoozing aft. Most guests were
scattered about these common areas, and rarely in their cabins. We enjoyed
dinner out on the upper deck when not under way.

There were two dive guides aboard and they were expected to do each of the
70+ dives the group did. If you are slower, you might not be able to keep
up with them because they felt obliged to keep an eye on divers that raced
ahead to get the first wide angle shots. The photographers in our group
were independent and widely dispersed.

The cruise price usually includes only diving. Other things such as
laundry, beer, Nitrox, etc. was added to our bill. Our bill as a couple for
Nitrox was over $1000.

On one village visit, islanders told us that no divers or white people
had ever come to the island. They explained that a giant marlin had pierced
the island and created many islands. Consequently, this was the mother
island, where people on surrounding islands had originally come from. One
young man who learned English from watching TV was an enterprising
businessman in the live fish trade. He served as our translator. The
people were cheerful and friendly. They farmed seaweed and exported it from
the island.

Traveling with Mark was a lot of fun. Hopefully, he will incorporate a few
of the new sites into future itineraries.
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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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