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Dive Review of Damai in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat, Triton Bay

Damai, Mar, 2010,

by Michael Emerson, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5421.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Komodo, Ambon, Lembeh, Fiji, Palau, Solomons, Mergui, Galapagos, Hawaii, Belize
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We were allowed to dive responsibly with no real limits on our diving.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 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 See review below

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments In mid March, my teenage daughter and I spent 12 days aboard the newest Indonesian liveaboard, the MSY Damai. We flew from Jakarta to Kaimena where we were looking to dive the sites of Triton Bay and then move northward through the Misool region and ultimately finishing in Papuan port of Sorong.

The trip got off to a rough start when we learned that we would have to skip the Triton Bay portion of our trip. Local thugs were demanding high fees and threatening the safety of the boat for those who did not pay. We later talked to another captain who had been threatened by these locals. Until this situation is resolved, visitors should plan to avoid this area.

The Damai provided an incredible experience for a group of 8 divers. Each of the four double rooms were spacious and comfortable, more like a nice hotel than what liveaboard visitors are accustomed to. The cruise staff was top notch and everyone focused on making sure that our experience was outstanding. The food was very good, but fell a notch below what it will probably be in a year after the boat gains more experience. If you never spent anytime in the water, you would enjoy your time on this beautiful boat.

The facilities for a dive photographer were convenient and spacious. Two of our travelers were professional photographers and three more of us were serious amateurs. Simon Buxton was the headline professional who provided tutelage to those of us who were wanting to improve their skills. My photos got better throughout the week and his tips were invaluable. Of course his work set a high bar for us to aspire to some day.

Of course, the real stars of the two weeks were the reefs, fishes, and critters of Raja Ampat. Other than a manta free manta dive, each one of our four daily dives provided incredible sights to see and photo. The reefs of Misool were spectacular. I have enough soft coral reefscapes to bore my friends and family for years. We visited the mangroves of western MIsool, which was controversial since most boats have avoided that region since the croc attack last year. We were careful and had a croc free day although I did have dreams that night about big reptiles swimming out of the mangrove roots.

I was also surprised at some very nice muck diving along the shores of Bantana where we saw many of the critters one would find in Ambon or Lembeh. Of course, every dive included some time looking for one of four species of pygmy seahorses that inhabit this area. My photos document the many sea fans where they live. Finally, the dive sites near the Kri eco resort in the north were every bit as fishy as the brochures tell you. The density of life is amazing and reminded me of the signature pinnacle dives of Komodo.

Since most of us were experienced divers, we were left to dive until we were out of air and growing gills. On the other hand, the dive crew was there to ensure safety on a couple of sites where we learned about the intense (and even whirlpool type) currents that can appear suddenly. We always had one dive guide for each pair of divers. While you dont have to be a super diver to vacation here, you should be comfortable in some difficult situations. As a father of a young diver on the trip, I was always impressed with the care taken to ensure that we were all safe.

So even without Triton Bay, this trip exceeded my high expectations. We saw an underwater world that can only be seen in a handful of places on our small planet. I definitely recommend a liveaboard option for anyone going to this vast area of diverse diving. A minimum of ten to fourteen days should be taken to cover the major sub regions of Raja Ampat. Go and you will not be disappointed.
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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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