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Dive Review of Celebes Explorer in
Malaysia/Sipadan

Celebes Explorer, Jul, 2008,

by Judith Kendall, CA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 4308.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Micronesia, Indonesia, Caribean, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions depth limit of 80 feet, time limits of 45 minutes, dive times restricted
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Fresh water rinse tank filthy and not adequate water levels maintained. No camera table. Inadequate charging station. No place for cameras in the skiffs.

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments UNDERCURRENTS

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 toilets.

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 Explorer.

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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