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Dive Review of Blue Marine Diving/Damai Bungalows in
Indonesia

Blue Marine Diving/Damai Bungalows: "Solid diving but a lot of earthquake damage on the reef", Feb, 2019,

by Eileen J Councill, China, China (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 10852.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Gili Air is a ghost town at the moment. The earthquake six months ago on Lombok has significantly reduced tourism and it's offseason. The operators were literally sitting around waiting for customers. There were so few. My husband, daughter and I were the only ones on the boat for 3 days and I was the only customer one day. They still took me/us out. I was not impressed with the guide they gave us at the start. He seemed "bored" and even though I told him what I liked, I felt like I was looking harder than he was. Also, I couldn't keep up with him. My daughter is a new diver and learning how to conserve air, but to chase him underwater required enormous effort. Once I did catch him and asked him to slow down, he did and was much much better the rest of the dive days.

The boat is a wooden frame, comfortable with lots of space. With low tide, it was a fairly long walk out to the boat but they dive shop provided croc-like sandals for all of the divers, if needed. I just wore my booties. The boat crew helped with donning the tanks and we had a back roll entry. There was a ladder to get onto the boat or you can kick fin and jump in.

The coral was quite damaged and bleached. There were some sites that were still in tact. Animal life is still quite good. There were dozens of turtles on every dive, cuttlefish, octopi, nudibranchs, ornate ghost pipefish, varieties of scorpionfish, tons of fish schools and varieties, and all of the other tropicals you will see. Viz was not great but it is offseason. The best site was seahorse bay where we encountered at least 15 different seahorses, octopi, batfish, cuttlefish, lots of juveniles, etc. It was fabulous.

The dive group typically does one dive in the morning at 9 and one at 2 pm. We asked for a two tank dive. Some days we returned to their beach for the SIT and other times we just remained wherever we had been for the first dive. The SIT was always 60 minutes + despite dive computers and relatively shallow dives (usually 65 feet). I appreciated the conservative diving rules and it was not a hardship to enjoy the beauty on the boat during the SIT. They did provide water for us but that was it. It was a very relaxed dive organization and the guide and crew were very kind. They were attentive to my daughter, as a new diver, which was great. Most of the dive operations told us that they released most of their dive guides after the earthquake as there was not enough business for them so they are down to one guide or the owner as the guide. It's quite sad.

One other thing - there is no fresh water on the island running from the pipes. Apparently the earthquake damaged the water conduit. Therefore, you rinse your gear in salt water, take showers in salt water, etc. I am sure this is not good for the gear...it's no one's fault, but it is reality.

Gili Air is an ADORABLE island - no motorized vehicles, only bikes and horses with carts. It was really quaint. One paved road (kind of) and the rest is sand and dirt. It was VERY chill. The food on the island was outstanding. Local Warungs were quite cheap. The western restaurants were pricey for Indo, but the food was excellent. That was a huge surprise. The circumference of the island is about 3.5 miles so you can easily walk around it or through it. We stayed on the NE corner so we walked to the West side every night for sundowners and the sunset. It was lovely. Mosquitos are the size of Texas and as numerous and irritating as I have ever seen anywhere. I am sure it's because of rainy season, but they were horrible. None of our sprays actually repelled them and there were nights we just had to get into our cabins to avoid the blood suckers. Bring spray with deet. Power outages were fairly common, but it didn't seem to interfere with service. Wifi was strong and consistent at some locales, but many places just said, "It wasn't working."

Our bungalow was quite simple and very cheap (around $30/night with taxes) with a lovely outdoor bathroom and a great pool that unlike other places, was situated off the main road so it was quiet and private. Our manager was amazingly organized and helpful and on top of any issue. I can see why it gets 5 stars on trip advisor.
Websites Blue Marine Diving   Damai Bungalows

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Galapagos, Bali, Egypt, Philippines, Indonesia, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mozambique, South Africa, Hawaii, Pacific, Palau, Guam, Yap, Maldives, Lembeh Strait, Kenya, UAE, Oman
Closest Airport Denpasar Getting There Fly into Denpasar, van to one of several coastal locations that offers a ferry (Amed, Padang Bai, etc.) then ferry to the island.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79-83°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-30 Ft/ 6-9 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth and time underwater but they were flexible with bottom time
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments The dive shop makes no accommodation for cameras. There is no rinse tank, no camera table, no bucket on the boat...you are on your own with this. I only have a small unit so it was fine for me.
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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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