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Dive Review of Celebes Explorer in

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Judith Kendall, CA, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 4308
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Red Sea, Micronesia, Indonesia, Caribean, California
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
depth limit of 80 feet, time limits of 45 minutes, dive times restricted  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Fresh water rinse tank filthy and not adequate water levels maintained.  No
camera table. Inadequate charging station. No place for cameras in the
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
1 stars
1 stars
Service and Attitude
1 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    

Have you ever been on a liveaboard with cockroaches and no fresh water on
day 5 of a 7 day 
dive trip?  Its called the Celebes Explorer  unfortunately, the only
liveaboard in the waters of Sipadan.  ( Island Dreams Travel Agency has a
current drawing for a free trip on this boat.  Dont sign up.)

Coincidently, the diving off the waters of Sipadan is spectacular.  In many
trips around the world,
this location is definitely a 10. 

This is our 5th liveaboard experience.  All of them have been enjoyable
meeting interesting fellow divers
and visiting underwater sights in hard to reach locations.  My buddy and I
are enthusiastic PADI Rescue
Divers with 300 and 400 previous dives respectively.

We scheduled this trip in early 2008.  Awaiting the Celebes Explorer 2008
schedule, we booked
 as early as possible to ensure our assignment in 1 of 2 cabins situated on
the dive deck level.  After 
securing our reservation and cabin assignment, we paid for our week and
made further plans for the 
weeks before and after our liveaboard trip.

Upon arrival at the Celebes Explorer we were dismayed and disappointed that
our prior booking
arrangement was NOT honored and we were assigned to a cabin on the lower
level.  I am a handicapped
diver.  With no hand railing leading down the steps to our cabin I was very
concerned with falling.  
Adding to my concern, staterooms provided the only restroom for each guest
on the entire boat. 

A man then introduced himself to us as the captain; he told us there were
cockroaches on the boat.  
At this point, we asked for a refund and to be returned to a land-based
resort.  We were told they would 
take us to
Page 2

another resort, however, our money would NOT be refunded.  Given that fact,
our only option was to
remain onboard and make the best out of a dreadful  beginning.

Other divers on the boat informed us that there  was only one divemaster
for 16 divers, a very unsafe by
practice according to PADI standards.  Divers complained.  By the second
day, this situation was resolved 
when another divemaster  joined the boat. Also there were no lights on the
dive skiffs, yet night dives
were done daily.

The food was poor quality frozen entrees with insufficient fruits and
vegetables especially for  
vegetarians. Another fact described in advance and written on the
application form.  There was no cook, 
just a young deckhand who did not speak English.  The only drinking water
was a one gallon container in
the galley.  There was no drinking water available on the sundeck, dive
deck, staterooms or dive boats.

In the middle of the week, the captain had us read a text message on his
cell phone.  The message
 read, How are the old ladies doing.  THAT WAS US!  He wanted us to send
a return text message to
his office. And we refused.

With one more day of diving remaining, we were told that the boat was being
fumigated for
cockroaches and everyone would be put up on a hotel.  This final day
onboard we ran out of fresh
water.  No water for showers, camera equipment, dive gear or flushing

The final evening was spent in a hotel.  The captain took us to dinner at
a smelly, dirty, open-air
stall along the water.  Everyone refused to eat and requested to be taken
back to the hotel where
    Page 3

The captain paid for dinner.  That was our final contact with the Celebes

This report is written in the hopes of preventing other divers from
experiencing this boat and its poor
quality standards and safety issues.  Additional resorts are available in
the area charging less money.

Unfortunately this is the only liveaboard entering the waters of Sipadan. 

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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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