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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Forgotten Islands

Arenui: "Diving in Indonesia on Luxury liveaboard Arenui", Oct, 2015,

by Patricia Benton, Buckingham, GB (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8781 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments When the chance came for us to join the Forgotten Islands trip on the Arenui in October, we jumped at it. It was a 14-night trip (longer than my husband and I had been on before) to quite a few dive sites new to us. This was our fourth trip on the luxurious Arenui and it just gets better and better. Improvements are constantly being made and this time had the welcome addition of air conditioning in the saloon.

The Arenui office arranges all the domestic flights and any hotel stays needed, all we had to do was book the long-haul flights. At the beginning of the trip, members of the crew are on hand at the airport to help with the luggage and transport to the boat. At the end of the trip, they take you to the airport and, again, help with luggage and check in.

We were greeted on board by smiling faces, many of them familiar from previous trips. A long cold drink and cold flannel were very welcome. There are eight double cabins, four on deck and four below. Each one is different and all are very spacious, our extremely comfortable kingsize bed and luxurious bedding made me wish I could take them home. There is even a choice of pillows. Each evening the bed is turned down, with a couple of chocolates left on the cover.

The dive deck is spacious and well organised, with a large cubbyhole per couple of divers for all the gloves, bootees, etc. There is also a sofa bench to sit on while struggling into that wetsuit! Plenty of hanging space for all the wetsuits, which are rinsed and hung up by the crew after each dive. The two crew on deck, who double up as room stewards and masseurs, were unbelievably helpful on this trip in particular. My back was rather sore for several days and was very inflexible. These two helped me put on and take off my dive socks and boots, put my feet into the wetsuit and then pull it off after each dive – no bending and twisting needed on my part! The tender drivers too, helped me put on my fins.

The sundeck is brilliant: plenty of wooden sunbeds with thick comfy mattresses, towels and cushions. There is a large tarpaulin sheltering most of it from the Indonesian sun but, for those who want to, there is always somewhere to lie in the sun, as there are two double sunbeds and two futons at the front of the sundeck. Here, too, you can have a massage – very relaxing after a few dives during the day.

The diving in the Forgotten Islands was amazing, exceeding our expectations. We were in Debbie's group and, as with everything else, her guiding underwater is brilliant. She finds the tiniest critters and seems to have x-ray vision for creatures hidden in sand or rocks. The dive sites were so unspoiled and beautiful and ranged from fabulous walls to a breathtakingly gorgeous pinnacle, where the fish were so numerous it was completely mesmerising and hypnotic. So many red-toothed triggerfish and pyramid butterfly fish darted around us we felt quite dizzy. Elsewhere there were barrel sponges galore and beautiful coral (both soft and hard), we even had hammerheads on this trip! We also experienced some extraordinary muck diving; it’s wonderful what critters are to be found.

We did a few night dives and oh! the luxury, as you climb on board, of being greeted with a hot flannel and a cup of delicious, steaming hot chocolate!! Such decadence! Not only that, but after every dive nice dry towels are waiting as you come out of the shower on deck. At the end of each dive, the tender is there waiting for you and all your dive gear taken from you before you climb up the nice long ladder into the tender, and a cup of water handed to you to rehydrate on the way back to the Arenui.

The shore excursions we did were really good too. It was our second visit to the Banda Islands and we enjoyed visiting Banda Neira again - a fascinating piece of history. We visited a plantation where nutmegs, cinnamon, mace and cloves grow. Back on board we were greeted with a very welcome ice-cold flannel.

As for food … delicious, varied and hard to hold back! Before the first dive, there is “small” breakfast for anyone who wants it. After the dive is big breakfast: eggs of your choice, plus all the trimmings, and fresh tropical fruit. There is a buffet lunch each day, with several different dishes to choose from, as well as salad, soups and more fresh tropical fruit. Dinner is usually served up on the sky deck under the stars, weather permitting and if the boat isn’t travelling. As before, I don’t know how the two chefs manage to produce such scrumptious and fresh food over two whole weeks at sea.

During this trip it was Halloween. The saloon was turned into a ghostly grotto, with giant spiders’ webs and spiders, eerie lanterns and other things. Some of the guests had come prepared, with costumes and make up. Various crew members dressed up too, especially Anto, one of the stewards. He suddenly appeared as an extremely convincing zombie, gliding around the saloon with deadpan face and ‘blood’ dripping from everywhere! The whole evening was great fun.

Having been on quite a few liveaboards, I think it would be difficult to find a better crew than on the Arenui – from Captain to divemasters, from tender drivers to chefs. As for cruise directors, Debbie and Jerry, they are fantastic – enthusiastic, helpful and patient and buzzing with energy and fun. No matter what type of request or problem, it was sorted out instantly with a smile. Everybody is given the same personal treatment and nothing is too much for them. They make an amazing team.

Diving in Indonesia is a magical world, made even more so by everyone on the Arenui. We will be back!
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Thailand, Majorca, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 25-27°C / 77-81°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-25 M / 33-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions per PADI recreational diving: 30m depth
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Plenty of space for large and small cameras, together with lots of charging points. Lots of help and advice given when needed.
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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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