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Dive Review of Indian Ocean Diving Academy in
Australia/Christmas Island

Indian Ocean Diving Academy, Mar, 2005,

by Peter Donahue, MA, USA . Report 1972.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Perth, Australia
Andros, Bahamas
All over the Caribbean and at least eight different states
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 87 to 88 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments There was no accommodation made on the boat. My camera sat on the deck.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Never leave for vacation in a blizzard. One gear bag went missing for four days...the other for eight days, but the trip was worth the aggravation. Lisa Preston at Christmas Island travel (www.citravel.com.au) phone: 61-8-9164-7168 made all the reservations and even took us on a superb shore dive in Flying Fish Cove, the main harbor. She found a pair of leaf scorpion fish, a nest of dragon eels among all the giant clams and nudibranchs clammoring to be photoed. She chased my missing gear bag and Des Hill, the National Jet manager of the airport, delivered it personally to my room, full of apologies. There's only two flights a week and the day my bag was due to be delivered, the flight was canceled as they were putting in a new engine. It made it the next day.
Marcus at Indian Ocean Diving Academy (www.ioda.cx) Phone: 61-8-9164-8090 and his partner, Claire, were friendly helpful guides. We were the only customers on the boat for four of the six days we were there - a twenty foot, open outboard, with a canvas top that was launched every day. The first dive, an extra crew member was aboard - Lynn - the local school bus driver. There was a current that she chose not to dive in and the dive plan was to swim upcurrent in search of some small animal. At this point, Lynn let me borrow her mask with magnifying lenses in it (it's tough to get old) and in fact I had it until my own arrived. The boat isn't anchored, so we swam up current in 90 feet of water to get to some coral head...I never got there. After 40 minutes, I surfaced and chugged up current, trying to keep Marcus and my dive buddy in sight. The dive boat had drifted at least 1/2 mile behind us and they never saw me. The shear cliffs of the island made a swim to shore out of the question...so I bobbed and swam and swam and bobbed and after 20 minutes the boat returned to pick us all up. That was the last upcurrent swim we made on that trip!
Lunch was an assortment of Malay that changed daily. The fact that it was never refrigerated on board kept me from eating it. Fresh local fruit (mangoes picked off a tree by the launch ramp) and water was aboard. There are no toilet facilities, so on the swim back to the boat, you would paddle through people bobbing on the surface with their wetsuits 1/2 off, peeing. Rather gross from my standpoint. There were no camera buckets aboard or anywhere to change film, but the crew did their best to keep my gear safe.
Lunch often took place back at the ramp. It was always 1 to 2 hours long and then off for a second single tank dive. Two tanks with lunch for six days cost $815 AUS (at the time the exchange rate was .80). So it cost $652 US for 12 dives, extra tanks for shore dives were $10 AUS. The dive in the harbor was often 1/2 to 2 hours long. We did it every afternoon and we never got cold. There were customers only two days and they were locals. There were no large schools of fish and the occasional 3 to 4 foot shark caused endless chit chat on the boat.
Very relaxed briefings. The crew who alternated so one of them dived while the other one tended the boat were silent guides. If we chose to follow them, they'd point out porcelain crabs, nudibranchs, ribbon eels, and all the things I would have missed. We dived our own profiles, most dives lasting an hour. We used aluminum 80s filled to 3000 psi and I heard the words, "Be back on board with 700 psi". The crew recorded our depths and times and air remaining. I came back with 700 psi every single dive, but no one noticed (good thing they never looked at my gage, as it was often at 0). 60 minute were the norm, but we were often in the water for an hour and 1/2.
Bat fish cave had an underwater entrance. We swam back in 200 feet and climbed out of our gear and the water and hiked in a dry cave. Stalagmites and stalactites all over and a few hundred yards back, we found three cool lifeless pools of water. When we shut off our lights, the pools were full of lantern fish...their faces glowing - what a surprise! No matter how fast you turned your light on, we never did see them except glowing when the lights were out. A bare hand, in the water, was soon covered by tiny red shrimp, scouring fingers and nails for a meal. It was almost a shame to have to finish the dive my going back in the water.
The diving was very good. The visibility of 150 feet was suberb, but it was Marcus' quiet style that made the trip enjoyable. He quietly questioned my dive buddy, found out what I liked to do, diving-wise (which is just about anything), found out what kind of crackers I like to eat, chased all over the island until he found them (there's only three stores) and did everything he could to make me smile. Not an easy task. He was more of a host than a dive master. That's high praise, coming from me.
The last night of our visit, he found us (in the harbor of course) and took us on a night boat ride. His girlfriend from Switzerland was visiting and he invited us on a crew-only sunset cruise. It was wonderful!
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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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