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Dive Review of Arenui in

Arenui, Sep, 2010,

by Laura Goddard, Singapore, SG ( 1 report). Report 6315.

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 It’s a stunning looking vessel, no doubt. It sounds like a cliché, but I love the fact that it looks like a pirate ship! When the big black sails are up it looks very impressive and they let us take a ride out on tender boats just so we could get photographs!

The first trip was in November 2009 (we actually went out on 2nd ever trip they ran, so that was late Nov 2009 but in Raja), so it’s not an old vessel, but the wood has a great worn-in feel since most of the wooden areas are reclaimed wood (from Javanese house etc)… so when you run your hands across the banisters or pillars there’s a real sense of history and craftsmanship too. Having done a few more modern style liveaboards, I’d say I still prefer this wooden style. It’s just a much more interesting way to cruise through an area like Indonesia. After all, you’re on holiday to see the region so it should reflect the style of the region too (I think) so the ‘Bali’ style that’s so famous obviously suits a liveaboard sailing through Indonesia.

In terms of layout, it’s 8 guest cabins: 4 upper deck (2 of these are master-suites with great views since the windows stretch along one whole side of the room, and you enter these 4 upper cabins along the side of the boat, just behind the restaurant/kitchen area), 4 lower deck (which you access via staircase that goes through centre of restaurant/lounge). By the way, don’t forget to take a look at this staircase as it’s a great example of this reclaimed wood thing where the panels are authentic Indonesian carvings, presumably from some old house!

Aside from the 4 upper cabins, the rest of that level consists of a restaurant/lounge (with kitchen tucked in behind too) and then the outdoor dive prep area (this takes up space all the way to the front of the boat). The restaurant/lounge is spacious… there are seating areas against the sides of the boat (on each side, so perfect for a couple on either side), with great views as you sail along, and also on the sides they have created corner seating areas (with tables) and the design is more like a daybed/sofa so also great for relaxing if watching a film or slideshow etc. Either side of the central staircase you have 2 long tables so ideal for 6 or maybe 8 guests on each (ideally 3 down each side, so only 1 person has to sit in the middle). While talking about lounge and seating, this may seem an odd point but I have found on some other boats that they make a big seating area all against one side so then it’s hard to let everyone move around. For instance, if you’re having a buffet lunch is can be a pain if you end up being squashed in at the middle. On the Arenui they’ve been clever with space so this isn’t an issue. The side seating is obviously no problem and then the central tables still only have one side against the staircase which means only 1 person could be ‘locked in’.

The front dive prep area is a nice open space. Seating in the middle, so you don’t have to wobble around with booties. At the side there are spaces for each person’s kit so I put literally all my dive stuff there (extra lights, rash guards, pointers, spare mask etc etc) and just left it there the whole trip. The rinse tanks are out there too, so as usual one for masks etc and then a separate one for just cameras. With 2 tenders, we usually kitted up in 2 groups but enough space to all kit up together too.

On the roof you have the wheelhouse, an outdoor dining area and the skydeck. The dining area is big enough to have everyone eat up here (which we did a few times). In front, you have 2 sun-loungers (both like ‘double loungers’ so great for 4 guests). This is probably the best place for sunbathing but of course it gets pretty hot, so a lot of people used the back of the deck (behind wheelhouse). This is the area best for massages too. There are 4 big daybed/sofa areas (2 on each side) and another sofa area along the edge… basically there’s lots of room for lying down! There are covers so you don’t get burnt, but depending on where the sun moves to you can also find a spot for sunbathing!

CABIN: We were lucky enough to be in one of the ‘master-suites’ on upper deck (cabin name = Rama), with windows down the side of the room so a real panorama view! The bed is really comfy, with a bedside table and lights above the pillows for reading. There’s a sofa/daybed against the window side too. The bathroom is pretty (and clean! which is the main thing most people want from a bathroom) … it’s a step-in open design with wooden floors so no fear of slipping over when boat moves! I’ve been on some boats where taking a shower means the risk of banging your head from badly placed fixtures etc… but no worries here on the Arenui 

FOOD/ENTERTAINMENT: Not much to tell you except the food is delicious… hard not to over-eat every day! It’s the usual setup with ‘small breakfast’ before early morning dive, back for ‘big breakfast’ before late morning dive, then buffet spread for ‘lunch’ before afternoon dive/s, afternoon ‘snacks’ with combo of sweet and savoury before a night dive, then 3-course a-la-carte ‘dinner’!!! The crew ask you what ‘eggs’ you’d like before the 1st dive and then later at lunch they check your preference for dinner from the menu choice that day! Key difference to other liveaboards I’ve done (apart from the a-la-carte and overall quality) is the range of healthy salads etc. Some dive trips you fill up on pasta/rice/heavy food, but here you have a lot of lighter options too! Only concern I heard about was some people asking for more ‘fresh fish’ (especially sushi) but there are reasons I find that stupid: you’re in a national park area with no-take zones so we need the fish down there for our dives not served up on the plates (and personally I’m not eating fish nowadays as read too much about decline in fish stocks the world over so find it hard to justify being part of the problem when there are other things to eat)! Aside from the food, you’ll have plenty of chance to catch up on some reading (lots of magazines and fish books onboard) or go out on one of the kayaks to explore the area!

DIVING: As mentioned, you dive from two tenders – max 16 guests, so never a problem with space. Generally dive groups are small (with 2 cruise directors and 3 guides) so in our case we went out with ‘eagle-eyes’ Toby (me, buddy/boyfriend and guide… just 3 of us for EVERY dive)! Again, diving is easy to tailor… if you’re looking for certain kinds of marine life to photo you can let the guide know or if you just want to follow and be lead then that’s easy too. I felt safe and looked after with all the diving but also had the freedom to do my own thing (within usual safety standards of buddy system). Back-roll off tenders is easy and the crew are there to pass down cameras etc. Sturdy ladder for return and all the pampering and help you’d expect from 5-star service… including a refreshing face-towel when you get back to the main boat and/or a hot chocolate after the night dive too!

Komodo is fantastic… as you’d expect for somewhere at the centre of the Coral Triangle with such incredible biodiversity! We saw lots of critters that I’d not seen elsewhere… with muck dives to rival Lembeh. My notes say; pygmy (bargibanti and denise), pipefish, razor fish, giant and spotfin frogfish, devil fish, wasp fish, cowfish, stone fish, leaf fish, star gazors (first time!!!!), ornate ghosts, giant mantis, marbled and clown snake eel (both firsts for me too!!!), banded sea snakes, ribbon eels, orangutan crabs, Xeno crabs, zebra crabs (stunning!!!), boxer crabs, cuttlefish, octopus (reef, coconut, starrynight and white V), lobsters, squid and even bobtail squid (possibly juvenile!!), not to mention heaps of nudibranchs and weird corals/sponges/sea-apples (cuter than normal sea cucumbers) etc!

We also had really ‘fishy’ dives with schools swarming the reef and those great sounds from fast moving packs! On top of that there were chances to see manta (we had a few nice encounters but as always it’s a lot about luck so fingers crossed you get a big group and nice visibility in ‘manta alley’) and even some big eagle rays! Log-book says; sweetlips, triggers, unicorns, surgeons, needlefish, anemones, barracuda, bumpheads, dogtooth tuna, manta, torpedo rays, eagle rays, bamboo sharks, grey reefs, white tips, turtles and so on…

I wont go into much more about diving Komodo as you all know that every dive is different, so no 100% guarantees for any site… plus there are heaps of other places to read up on what diving is like in this area… so my main objective was to let you know what it’s like to dive from this specific liveaboard!

FINALLY: Overall, I would (and have been) recommend the Arenui. For those on a tighter budget, I’d still suggest trying to save up for a special occasion as this kind of luxury liveaboard is worth it.

For those who like mucking in and being ‘hard core divers’ who prefer to think of liveaboards as more basic, then I can understand but I guess for me a dive trip is also supposed to be relaxing. Too many other boats I’ve been on aren’t good for really relaxing, so you end the trip exhausted. It’s great to feel tired after a week or two of diving – and inevitable if you do 3, 4 or 5 a day – but if you also feel totally shattered from maybe not sleeping well or not eating healthy then that’s no fun! I’d rather know I can get some good rest as well as great dives, so this is perfect balance. I also guess some divers are almost concerned that the more luxurious a boat is the less priority will be given to diving, but that’s not the case here. The whole setup is ready for 5 dives (or 4 if moving boat) and even if you’re the only one who wants the night dive then the crew are still very happy to take you out for a one-on-one guided tour!

I also think the area lends itself to a relaxing cruise. The scenery is beautiful so when boat is moving between sites you get to enjoy the Indonesian archipelago, but the other advantage to diving Indonesia (specially Komodo) is that there are so many dive sites scattered around that the crew can adapt to where’s best to dive. If they know some other boats might be heading for a site they can usually move the schedule around, or if there are any weather issues again it’s easy to move things to different days. Some places I’ve dived seem to have a few really incredible dive spots, surrounded by mediocre ones, so that means everyone heads to the same places … or it means changing the schedule is tough. But in Indonesia the areas are so packed with options that the crew can tailor things. Of course they still have a planned schedule (which you can see before you book) and will make sure they visit the really famous sites at least once, but they can also react to current situations or guests needs… so a trip on this boat really feels like you’re out there in the middle of nowhere, exploring!
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Egypt, Honduras (Roatan), Belize (CayeCaulker), California, Australia (East and West coasts), Maldives, Palau, Thailand (Kao Tao, Similians), Philippines (Anilao, Tubbataha), Malaysia (Aur, Sipadan), Indonesia (Bali, Gilis, Bunaken, Lembeh, Raja Ampat, Komodo)... for now!
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 24-29°C / 75-84°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 5-25 M / 16-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Usual safety rules on depth/time etc
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 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 I usually have a camera setup (compact but with strobe, macro lens, wide-angle lens and extra night light), while boyfriend usually has video setup, so fair amount of kit to handle.

Arenui is ideal for photo/video as plenty of room to setup, store, clean, charge etc and crew helpful with helping to rinse and carry onto tenders prior to dive.

Specific info: at least 2 charging table areas with lots of plugs including some for 110v if needed, needless to say they have adaptors too… but also, in restaurant/lounge area there are lots of other tables most of which also have plug sockets in reach, so generally there was never a problem finding space to charge equipment or settle down with laptop to edit etc … then, also in lounge/restaurant, there are 2 computers setup for both PC and MAC operations with software for editing… and they also have 2 LCD screens in restaurant/lounge which can be used to show videos or slideshows or even to help if photo pros are giving talks, plus they use these for dive briefings so you get to see dive site map and also some samples of critters at that specific site… in dive prep area (front of boat) they have rinse tanks just for cameras, as you’d expect … crew have large plastic crates to transport/store equipment between main boat and tender for diving so all very easy! Plus, the cruise directors are both there to help with tips and advice!
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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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