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Dive Review of Amira in
Indonesia/Komodo

Amira, Aug, 2012,

by Michael Bode, Braunschweig, DE (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6715 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Thailand, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Phillipines, PNG, Solomon Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 22 to 26 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15 to 25 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive time 60 min. Could be extended. Usual depth limits when diving on air (40m) or NITROX (30m).
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 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 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is a large, dry camera area behind the dive deck with a lot of space for charging and changing your gear. There are two big water tanks on the dive deck for watering cameras only.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my 3rd trip with M/V Amira. I joined the group in Bali where we went on board for the 14-nights trip to Komodo. Getting out of the surge in front of the south coast of Bali was a bit rough but as soon as we turned into Lombok Straight and continued our way to the east along the north coast of Lombok and Sumbawa the sea calmed down and the seasickers returned to the upper deck.

The weather was fine during the whole trip. The only problem were the strong south-eastern trade winds in August. I have been to Komodo already 5 times before but never encountered such strong winds on any of my earlier visits to Komodo. Also water temperatures were more extrem than usually. We meassured 26°C in the north and only 22°C in Horseshoe Bay in the south. So most of us were wearing some kind of head cover to protect our ears.

We followed the north coast of Sumbawa with dives at Moyo and Sangeang. Especially the latter volcanic island offers interesting black sand critter dives. We found lots of different members of the scorpion fish family and many different kinds of nudibranchs.

After three nights we at last reached the northern highlights of Komodo National Park and started more serious diving. For divers with a tighter time budget it is adviceable to start a Komodo trip not in Bali but in Labuhan Bajo on Flores or Sape on Sumbawa. The trip from Bali to Komodo takes quite some time and though the diving on the way is nice it is by far not as spectacular as the top dive sites of Komodo.
For us this was no problem. We spent the days on the upper deck, visited Satonda island with its big crater lake in the interiour and had lectures on marine biology by Robert Hofrichter, an Austrian marine biologist.

Diving in Komodo was spectacular. We had lots of sharks (Whitetip, Blacktip, Grey Reef Sharks) and schooling fish at Crystal & Castle Rock. There were even some dolphins coming quite close during the end of a dive.
As Komodo is getting more and more popular there were a lot of other live aboards and smaller diving boats from the diving centres in Labuhan Bajo around. So we never had these top spots for us alone. There were always other groups of divers in the water with us.
We also did some more action packed dives like Shotgun and Golden Channel which were good fun and a way to get out of the crowd.
Unfortunately we did not see the Mantas at Karang Makassar this time.

To get out of the crowd we headed south into Horseshoe Bay. This proved quite tricky as we had to ride through the high waves in the south. The Pindito had not made it in the night before but we managed to slip into the calm waters of the bay quite easily. At last we were on our own with only the komodo dragons on the beach behind Canibal Rock watching us.
Water temperatures were a shock. We never measured more than 23°C on our computers. Most dives took place in 22°C cold water. Visibilty was around 15 m - far from excellent. So we put on our makro lenses and concentrated on critters in this makro heaven.
Due to the cold water our dives were not es long as normally but we saw a lot of frogfish, ghost pipe fish, zebra crabs and colemani shrimps. After the night dives we were welcomed back on board by the crew with warm towels, hot chocolate or ginger tea.

After leaving Horseshoe Bay we spent the rest of our trip between Komodo and Rinca. We visited the komodo dragons on Rinca and had excellent makro dives at Wainito where we discovered a beautiful Blue Ring Octopus.
We finished our 14 nights trip with more dives around Padar Island, Tatawa Kecil and Tatawa Besar. Batu Bolong was another highlight with crystal clear water and big fish.

This was my third trip on board of M/V Amira. Compared to the other two trips before I must say that the overall standard and the attitude of the crew has improved continuesly during the last two years. The manager and crew are doing a good job. Especially the guys on the diving platform in the back of the ship are an excellent team. They are very helpful and before you can ask somebody for help they are already there and give you a hand.
We used all three speedboats for diving. As some of the guests did not join all the dives there was always plenty of space on the boats. Tanks were always well filled up. European divers also can use DIN first stages. So they do not need to carry INT-Adaptors. There are also 15l tanks available on request (5$ per tank extra).
NITROX is offered free of charge. There was one dive guide for a maximum of 5 divers. During many dives we were only four or even two divers and our guide.

The spacious a/c cabins are cleaned every day and have ensuite bathrooms with hot and cold water. The best cabins are on the upper deck with big windows. The whole ship is really huge (54 m) and there is enough space on the shaded main deck, in the huge restaurant or the big lounge in the back for relaxing and talking after the dives.

Food was excellent with a small buffet style breakfast before the first dive and a big by order breakfast after the first dive. Lunch was also served buffet style. For lunch the chef offers an excellent mix of indonesian & asian cuisine which I enjoyed most. For dinner there is a three course meal with asian & western cuisine. I personally would have prefered more asian food for dinner.

There are also two small kayaks on board for those who want to skip a dive and do something else. Since August guests can join rebreather courses and rent one of the two units of Poseidon Discovery MKVI rebreather sets.

In the lounge is a big flatscreen tv for presentations, watching movies or for having a first look at your underwater video footage.

Though I really hate cold water I enjoyed this trip very much. I learned quite a lot of marine biology during the trip, thanks to Robert Hofrichter, who mercilessly rang the bell for a new lecture after dinner.
This was a special trip as normally the Komodo trips start in Labuhan Bajo. If you are interested in more out of the way destinations in Indonesia watch the schedule of Amira. They are always trying out new 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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