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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Komodo Island

Arenui: "Great Diving in Komodo", Aug, 2015,

by Pierre Hurter, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 8453.

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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments In September a group of us decided we’d head for Indonesia for some diving, specifically aboard the liveaboard Arenui The group was very experienced and had seen many of the “bucket list” dive sites that people seem to compile in their “must-see” lists. We were all curious about what exactly a boutique dive boat was all about.

Getting here was somewhat of a chore, from SFO to Hong Kong then after a brief layover on to Singapore and another slightly longer layover, great airport by the way, then after some caffenation when the Starbucks opened on to Denpasar in Bali, a total travel time of 26 hours and 55 minutes. Call it a full day.

We flew with Singapore Airlines which I have to say is not a bad way to fly. Even in Baggage Class, the seats seem to be spaced a bit further apart and the food is fairly good. I did explore their Suites, individual cabins, which feature dedicated beds, not just a fold down chair along with linens and turndown service. The seats are hand-stitched leather, the cabin accents wood paneled and the entertainment, a 23-inch screen. The only thing missing is a personal shower. The price, well you know the old saying, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it? “ It holds true here as well, from New York to Bali runs around $18,000, but whose counting?

We spent a few days in Bali exploring the sites. The plan was for the entire group to meet at a resort in Kuta, a collection of hotels and resorts on the southwesterly end of the island, not far from the airport. From Bali after hooking up with the rest of the group we flew a puddle jumper over to Labuan Bajo on the island of Lombok.

The difference in the two islands is like day and nigh, Bali is green upon green, Lombock looks like the Channel Islands, hot and dry. Our goal was the live aboard dive boat the Arenui. A wooden boat built in the traditional Indonesian style called Phinisi, but with a luxury flare. The keel was laid in 2007 with an Ironwood hull in South Sulawesi. With 8 cabins set up for 16 passengers and a crew of 22 it’s a very luxurious experience. The boat is 140 feet long. Being a wooden vessel it talks to you, when we took our long passage back to Bali it did more than talk, it squawked. It would be our home away from home for the next nine days as we explored the waters around the island of Komodo, home to the Komodo Dragons and some spectacular diving.

From muck diving to stunning corals, schools of fusiliers and anthias, huge sponges and sea fans, to Manta Alley with magnificent Mantas floating by with few slow beats of their majestic wings. What I noticed, besides the incredible visibility was the vibrancy of the sea life and the pristine nature of the dive sites. We typically did four dives a day, the last dive being a dusk/night dive. The water temperature ranged from the high 60’s in the southerly islands to the 80’s for most of our dive sites. I dove my usual 5mil with a vest on the cooler dives. I’m not usually a big fan of night dives, but I did every one offered here. A total of 23 dives.

So what did we see? Stargazers, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Blue Ring Octopus, Mantas, Eagle Rays, the odd Barracuda, Porcelain crabs, lots of Moray Eels, Juvenile Angel Fish … I have rarely seen so much life and such pristine reefs.

Aside from the dive sites, one of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Komodo National Park where we took a stroll with the Komodo Dragoons. The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rica, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length 10 feet and weighing up to approximately 150 pounds. These are some big lizards!

Our cabin was the Toraja; each cabin is named after a Hindu deity or area of Indonesia and decorated appropriately. Our cabin was named after an ethnic group, the Toraja, indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi. It was great. Our cruise directors, “G” from Spain and Lisa from Germany were great as were the dive guides. I’ve been on a few boats, but this one was definitely different. It’s not just that it was luxurious, it certainly was, but the crew felt like a rambunctious family. It was the most comfortable I have been on a dive boat in a long time.

Food was very good, lots of variety, including an excellent vegetarian menu. Nice wine list, though we stuck to the local beer. It is after all a Muslim country and booze is not cheap. We’re saving our nickels and dimes for the next trip; I want to see more of what Indonesia has to offer and will definitely being doing onboard the Arenui.
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Alaska, Maui, Cozumel, La Paz, Tulum, Socorro , Honduras, Philippine, Galapagos, Truk (Chuuk), Solomon Islands, Belize, Fij, Channel Islands and Monterey
Closest Airport Getting There SFO to Hong Kong to Singapore to Bali and then to Labuan Bajo

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 72-82°F / 22-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive time was limited to 70 minutes at which time the guides would surface, if you had air remaining you could stay down longer. My wife had at least one 84 minute dive ... I can't last that long.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 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 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Overall the facilities were good, but if everyone would have had a camera it would have been crowded. Just to be clear, I'm not a photographer, my wife is. We had a cooperative group so it worked out well for all concerned.
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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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