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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Arenui, Apr, 2011,

by GlobeTrotter, Buckingham, GB (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6310.

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 Where to start? My husband and I have been on several liveaboards in Thailand and Indonesia, but none as luxurious as this one. Our first sight of The Arenui as we approached in a tender from Sorong was of this beautiful, elegant Phinisi wooden sailing vessel.

But neither this nor what we’d read and seen online beforehand prepared us for the luxury that awaited us on board. The Arenui has two brilliant cruise directors – Debbie and Jerry, who are unfailingly enthusiastic and helpful 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. Their dive briefings were always so full of information and humour – they make a brilliant team.

The crew are fantastic and so helpful. Imagine climbing aboard after a dive, going straight into a hot shower on deck (there are two just opposite the ladder/staircase) and then being met with a freshly dried, warm towel! On our other liveaboards, we used those micro towels, which are quite good but this was indeed luxury! After the night dives, we were met with mugs of hot chocolate – such decadence! Even my husband drank it and he doesn’t usually like it! From the shower, you walk through the saloon to the dive deck, but your drips of water don’t matter because a crew member is immediately there mopping it up.

The dive deck has plenty of space for everyone to get ready and members of the crew are always there to lend a helping hand with zips and so on. I thought at first I might slip over on the wet floor (which, at age 63, one doesn’t want!), but there are several non-slip mats down and I found it quite safe and didn’t slip over at all. I didn’t see anyone else slip or fall either. Some people wore crocs or Teva flipflops, which are an added safeguard, but it wasn’t really necessary.

The sundeck was amazing – plenty of wide wooden sunbeds, facing in various directions, out in the sun or in the shade (your choice), with really thick comfy mattresses. Again, more towels supplied on deck for you to use on the sunbeds. In the evenings, weather permitting (which it did every night on our trip), dinner was served up on the sundeck. This was like the icing on the cake – dining under the stars with the ocean all around.

That brings me on to the food … I have to say, this is my only complaint: I put on 5 lbs in weight !!! I went on board with all good intentions of not overdoing the eating bit, but it’s impossible! Where on earth did they get that chef?! He’s brilliant. Before the first dive, you can have a snack if you want – toast, etc – and then breakfast proper is after the first dive. Pre-ordered eggs however you want them, masses of other yummy things served buffet style. Lunch is also buffet style and so much choice, it’s difficult not to try them all. Dinner is served at the table (either in the saloon or up on the sundeck) and each night surpassed the previous one. Oh, and just in case you’re feeling peckish during any other part of the day, there’s fresh fruit, cake and other moreish nibbly bits.

Our cabin was fabulous. The kingsize bed was much more comfortable than ours at home and it was lovely to snuggle under the soft, luxurious duvet after a day of three or four dives. The shower had one of those big drench-type shower heads, which was fantastic for rinsing off the salt at the end of the last dive of the day.

I suppose I’d better mention the diving itself !! We had dived twice before in Komodo, which was amazing enough, but this was even more so. The water was always warm enough for a shortie wetsuit (3mm). Once or twice I wore a long-sleeved, long-legged skin thing underneath just to protect from some hydroids, but the rest of the time it wasn’t needed. The corals are so breathtakingly beautiful, the marine life so colourful and strange – huge turtles munching the coral a few feet away, bumphead parrotfish, harlequin sweetlips, scorpion fish, cuttle fish, squid, flying gunnard, lionfish, mantis shrimp, titan triggerfish to name but a few. The dive guides know all the best places and where to find critters if that’s what you want. We actually prefer the big stuff! We saw loads of wobbegong sharks – such strange creatures on this planet of ours. The highlight for us was at Blue Magic dive site – GIANT MANTAS! So graceful and fascinating to watch. It’s such a pity we humans are limited by our lungs – we could have stayed down there all day.

The tender crew are really helpful when surfacing from the dive. There isn’t long to wait until the tender arrives and the crew take all your equipment from you before climbing into the tender. This was also a huge improvement on previous liveaboards – the ladder into the tender is longer and so much easier to go up. I have a back problem and my husband has an arthritic knee so this was a big help. Getting from the tender to the Arenui was even easier; you climb out of the tender on to a sort of staircase/ladder attached to the side of the Arenui. There are 3 or 4 steps about 3 feet wide with a solid wooden handrail so no danger of tripping or falling.

Various shore excursions were organised – one of which was to Arborek Village, where we became the Pied Piper to lots of cute children of various ages. We also dived around the jetty, in maximum 10 metres, staying for about 90 minutes just content to be part of many large shoals of fish – too many to list.

Another excursion wasn’t shore-based, but to Tomolol Cave where you swim through slowly, with a lifebelt or lifejacket for comfort – gazing up at the stalactites and down through snorkel mask at the stalagmites. We were there for an hour or so and it was great fun shouting and making echoes – one of the best excursions we’ve had on a liveaboard.

The scenery around the volcanic islands is simply breathtaking and just added to the trip. All in all, we can’t wait to go again but I’m going to have to diet first so I can put it all back on !!
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

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

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 29-30°C / 84-86°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-25 M / 49-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 30 metres recreational diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I am not an underwater photographer, unfortunately, but there were several on our trip. There are two Apple Macs in the saloon, where anyone can view or edit their photos and show them off to others.
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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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