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Dive Review of Dewi Nusantara in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Dewi Nusantara: "Raja Ampat in November", Nov, 2014,

by David E Reubush, VA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 62 reports with 30 Helpful votes). Report 7928.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was my 4th trip to Raja Ampat, but the first in the Northern Hemisphere fall. I found the conditions somewhat different from that in the spring (March, April, & May). In the spring I generally found clear water with currents at only a few sites. On this trip I generally found what I will call murky water with lots of currents at most sites. While some of the difference may be due to site selection (We had a lot of wide-angle photographers who wanted to shoot massive schools of fish.) a number of the sites were the same as I had dived before with clear water and no currents. What the currents and murky water did give us was the massive schools of chevron barracuda, jacks, fusiliers, batfish, bump heads etc. that the wide-angle folks were looking for as there was lots of food in the water. The trip was split about evenly between sites in the South and sites in the North. The notation below of squadrons of mantas is a bit misleading as the choice was (1 or 2) or squadrons. At Magic Mountain in the South we saw 2 huge oceanic mantas which let us get very close while they were being cleaned. At Manta Sandy in the North we also saw 2 mantas being cleaned, but the water there was much murkier than I had ever experienced before so, being held behind the "line in the sand," we did not get an opportunity for great pictures. The pearl farm pier in Aljui Bay had been one of my favorite macro sites in past years. The pearl farm has now restricted diving to just a night dive after all their activities have ceased and they have cleaned the supports for their pier so the habitat that drew all the wonderful creatures before is no longer there. The dive is a pale shadow of its former self, however a number of muck type creatures can still be found in the sand out away from the pier. All in all the wide-angle types loved the trip. The Dewi is a relatively large boat compared with the other live-aboards I have been on, taking 18 passengers in 9 cabins which are large and have plenty of storage. The bathrooms are also generously sized. The boat uses 2 large tenders which split their divers into 2 groups each so there are generally 4 dive masters in the water at all times. This trip was led by Burt Jones of Secret Sea Visions and Kerri and Hergen of Got Muck, so we actually had 19 divers for most dives plus the dive masters. At places where there are 2 sites relatively close together one tender will go to one site and the other to the other site for one dive and then swap sites for the next dive. Therefore, you generally have plenty of space and photographers don't have to wait long for good shots. Between dives your fins and BC stay on the tenders and the tanks are brought back onto the boat to be filled rather than using long hoses to fill the tanks in place on the tenders. I asked why the tanks were not filled in the tenders and was told that doing this in rough water would be too difficult. I question as to why this would be more difficult than taking the BC's off and hauling the tanks up the stairs to the boat and then reversing the process after the tanks are filled as they do now. Anytime you have this much disassembly and reassembly there is the possibility of damage to equipment. On this trip one second stage and one AIR 2 got broken with all the handling. The air/nitrox fills were also on the light side. I saw from about 2600 psi to about 2900 psi with the majority about 2700 - 2750 psi. For the most part this was not really an issue because the dives are limited to 60 minutes, but for those who used a lot of air it often cut their dives short. Also, somewhere in all the assembly/disassembly water got into my first stage. I took my air integrated computer off after I got home and hooked up my first stage to a tank and was able to blow water out of the system. Another reason I prefer boats where your BC stays on the tank and the tank is filled either in the tender or back on the boat. On a very positive note there is a head and 2 warm water showers on the dive deck. It was great to be able to come up, hit the head, and then take a warm water shower to rise the salt off. Food on the Dewi is generally good. There is a light breakfast available before the first dive, and a made-to-order breakfast after the first dive. For the made-to-order breakfast you could order just about any kind of breakfast food you wanted, from eggs, omelets, pancakes, and french toast to mie gorang or another local breakfast food. Lunch was served buffet style after the second dive and consisted of a wide variety of items to choose from. A snack was served after the third dive and dinner was served after the fourth dive if it was a late afternoon dive. For days when we did a night dive instead of a late afternoon dive those that did not do the night dive were served while the dive was going on and the night divers were served after they returned. Dinners were served plated. I was especially appreciative of the fact that your food did not come until after you were seated. This allowed me to get cleaned up after diving and still get hot food to eat. Beer and one glass of wine were free with dinner. Beer and soft drinks were available in a refrigerator in the salon at all times for free. The only restriction was that as soon as you drank a beer your diving was over for the day. Unless it was raining all the meals were served at 2 tables out on the deck under canvas awnings. We only had 2 meals that we had to eat in the salon during the whole trip. The only issue I had with the food was that a number of us came down with diarrhea at various times during the trip. This was the first time I have ever had this to occur on a live-aboard in Indonesia. I believe this occurred because I violated one of the prime rules of eating in a third-world country - don't eat uncooked food. In all my previous trips I had avoided all salads. The Dewi serves salad as part of every dinner and it arrives on your plate with the rest of your food, not in a separate bowl. This serving method encourages you to eat the salad. The next time I travel on the Dewi I will specify no salads. All in all I had a good trip and will go on the Dewi again.
Websites Dewi Nusantara   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Belize, Bimini, Bonaire, Caymans, Curacao, Galapagos, Indonesia (Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Lembeh, Bali, Banda Sea), Philippines, Red Sea, Southern Bahamas, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There LONG flight to Bali (DPS), spend night, next day connect to Sorong through Makassar. This trip we had to spend the night in Makassar. Have heard that you can now make the trip in one day.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 81-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Time limit 60 minutes. Don't go into deco, don't empty the tank. (Nobody checked.)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments A relatively small rinse tank on the boat for the number of photographers which resulted in your camera just getting dunked when brought back on the boat and then placed on a soft rubber mat for you to deal with. The camera room was relatively large, but with the number of photographers and gear onboard it was still crowded. However, people were good about getting their work done and getting out of the way for 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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