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Dive Review of Dive Damai in
Indonesia/Komodo

Dive Damai, Aug, 2009,

by Dave Van Rooy, Bali, Indonesia (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 5011 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Hundreds of dives in Indonesia, most places in the Pacific (Palau, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomons, Malaysia, ...) and Caribbean, some eastern Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive reasonably
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 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 Plenty of camera workroom and storage. Individual rinse tanks for camera gear.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a shakedown cruise on the new boat. The owner, Alberto Reija, formerly cruise director with his wife Olga on Kararu's Voyager, invited friends to try out his brand new 33m (110 ft) phinisi and help work the kinks out with his crew. So we and 6 others did a 7 day cruise to Komodo from Bali. He pushed us all for detailed feedback on all aspects of the boat, operation, and crew.

There are many new boats trying to come online in Indonesia, and many of them are having troubles getting started, often due to bureaucratic difficulties here as well as just how things operate in Indonesia. He managed to get this done and working on schedule, which is no mean feat these days.

The boat has only 4 cabins (8 guests max), so it's extremely spacious and luxurious for a liveaboard -- the cabins are huge (close to 1000 sq. ft) and have separate ensuite toilets and bath rooms, complete with tub(!) and separate shower. Most have two king size beds and more storage space than my attic. 2 cabins have attached verandas complete with lounge chairs. Most other liveaboards of this size have 7 or 8 cabins (14-16 guests max), so the feeling of spaciousness on this boat is especially noticeable.

The chef backed out at the last moment, so Alberto had his chef friend Andreas take over for the first two weeks. Our meals were generally excellent, esp. the presentation, but unclear who will take over this duty in the future.

Many of the crew (at least 6) I knew from various Sea Safaris boats and all except for some galley and masseuse hands, have had ample liveaboard experience. But there were some problems initially in getting them all working together and doing the right things, e.g. a few times tank valves were not open when we donned tanks in the tenders, glasses were not properly stowed for rough weather, ... But not as much as I would've expected for a first cruise.

Gusti is his lead dive guide and very well known here -- he has worked with liveaboards for 25 years in the area, including Grand Komodo and Kararu. He is very knowledgable and helpful in critter finding, as is Aris, the other dive guide.

Alberto is very service oriented, perhaps too much so. He's aiming to personalize everything from meals to dive times, but unclear to many of us that this is really do-able, or even desirable. A few more cruises should settle such issues.

As this was my sixth trip to Komodo, I knew what to expect dive wise, tho this time the water was warmer than expected, there were many more big fish and mantas than previously, and we had some good vis and some of the more usual 10m kind. We did get down south (not usual at this time of year) and dive Cannibal Rock (one of the world's best dive sites in my book) where we found a super-ornate bright yellow rhinopias, monster grey frog fish, "lady bugs", sea apples, nudis galore, ... -- a truly remarkable reef.

We started out at Gili Lawar in east Lombok with some nice nudis, ... followed by Sangeang (dropped in on a very cooperative wonderpuss) with some nice black sand diving and a prolific reef (nudis, leaf fish, blue ribbon eel, pygmy frog fish, ornate ghost pipe fish, inimicus, several varieties of cuttlefish, ...) Manta Alley off Langkoi Island gave us a large number (10-20) of 4-5m mantas feeding and cruising all around us, as well as a very large Napoleon wrasse, schools of bumphead parrots. Other standout dives included those at Crystal Rock and Hard to Find Reef off Gili Lawa Laut, with so many large schools of fish (surgeonfish, snapper, fusiliers, rainbow runners, pyramid butterfly, damsel, horse-eye jacks, trevallys -- both bluefin and giant) as well as grey reef and white-tip sharks, some large groupers, barramundi cod, ...) it was hard to focus on just one thing. Some mating cuttlefish added to the show.

It's hard to go wrong when diving in Komodo. Dive Damai still has a few kinks to work out, but it is an interesting addition to the liveaboards operating in the area (he'll do Komodo, Raja Ampat, Kalimantan, and ...). The spaciousness of the cabins and boat with all its amenities along with the more intimate atmosphere of fewer divers is definitely appealing. It's more expensive than many others, but less than some, so the market will determine how successful the boat is.

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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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