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Dive Review of Arenui in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Arenui: "Raja Ampat with the Arenui", Jan, 2015,

by Alice Ribbens, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 8749.

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 With all of the Arenui bashing that seems to have happened on Undercurrent in the last year, I wanted to throw in my two cents and tell everyone what a great experience we had on the Arenui. We've been on liveaboards all over the world, including 2 trips on the Arenui, one to Komodo in Sept. 2013 and more recently to Raja Ampat in Jan. 2015. You will not find a harder working crew anywhere. On our Raja Ampat trip, we had one of the larger cabins on the upper deck. When we boarded, the A/C in our room was barely working. One of cruise directors and two of the engineers on board basically spent the next 24 hours repairing and eventually replacing our A/C. I am sure other boats would have just told us they were sorry, but they didn't have any spare parts. That was not the case with the Arenui. Some of the other reports I have seen complained about lack of A/C in the salon. Although apparently the salon now has A/C, I don't think we ever felt uncomfortably hot there. We also had the opportunity to chat with one of the owners on the day that we were leaving. When we thanked him for the hard work that the crew put in to fix our A/C, he said that the A/C battle was a continuous struggle, mostly because Americans wanted everything to be air conditioned but other nationalities, not so much.

Yes, the setup for gear is a little odd, in that you keep a lot of your gear in a cubby on the front of the boat and have to walk through the salon before and after dives to get to it. But you know what? The crew makes it work and it is never an issue. They also rinse and hang up your wetsuits after every dive.

There is plenty of food, including snacks after dives if there isn't a meal. We don't have any real food issues, but we saw the cooks and the staff deal with a number of allergies and requests for special meals or substitutions (e.g. Non-cream based soup) with astonishing grace. Dinner is usually multi-course and fairly gourmet with a choice of a couple of different entrees. Lunches are more pedestrian, but there were always plenty of food and plenty of variety.

On to the diving: the Arenui holds 16 divers. Divers are basically assigned to a group of 4 and a DM. They interview everyone at the beginning of the trip and try to set up groups based on dive experience, interests, etc. Both times that we were on the Arenui, my husband and I were "matched" with another couple with very similar experience levels and dive styles. This is one of the great things about the Arenui. Also, while they will occasionally combine groups of only a few people are doing a night dive, they usually don't do this during the day. So if only 1 or 2 people from your group of 4 are doing a dive, your DM will still be with you. We dove with Ronald as our DM on both of our Arenui trips. He is amazing! We still don't know how he finds the tiny little creatures that he seems to find everywhere.

Of course, Raja Ampat is super fishy in general. We saw so many wobbegongs, we almost didn't even react when we found them. We also saw many mantas and one oceanic manta that was checking us out as much as we were watching her. Lots of the usual Indo Pacific suspects, including a blue ring octopus, painted frogfish, anemonefish fish galore, ornate ghost pipefish, Pygmy seahorses (on almost every dive), sweet lips, Titan triggers, etc. We loved the Raja Ampat itinerary so much that we booked a return trip a few weeks after we got home. I am a total fish geek and I was overwhelmed by the variety of species we saw on every dive.

All of the diving is done off zodiacs. The crew keeps most of your rig in storage and loads it on to the zodiac before each dive. You keep track of your smaller stuff and the stuff you want to keep in your cubby. One other thing to know about Raja Ampat though is that you need a reef hook and you need to know how to use one. Bring your own. The boat has some for sale (I think), but they don't just loan them out the way some boats in Palau did when we were there.
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Komodo, Maldives, Palau, GBR, Fiji, British Columbia, Monterey, Hawaii, Bonaire, Turks & Caicos, Caymans, Honduras, Belize, Cozumel, Akumal, Sea of Cortez, etc.
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There We had to go through Makassar to get to Sorong, but there may be a direct flight from Jakarta to Sorong now.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 75-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dives were supposed to max out at an hour, but most of our dives were 70-80 minutes.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
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 4 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 I am not an UWP, but my husband is. There are several small tables where people can work on cameras, charge gear, etc. If the majority of the divers on a given trip had big camera rigs, this would probably be an issue. However, everyone seems to work together and the crew helps to make it work. The crew is also very helpful in getting cameras down to the zodiacs for diving.
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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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