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Dive Review of Dive Damai in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Dive Damai: "Raja Ampat - fantastic trip aboard Dama 1", Apr, 2016,

by Chris Watt, MA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 15 Helpful votes). Report 8884 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our first trip to Indonesia, split into 6 days at Lembeh Resort, followed by a 1 week Raja Ampat liveaboard on Damai. What a great trip. Since we had never been to Indo before, we enlisted the help of Jenny Collister at Reef & Rainforest, who in addition to our own research was incredibly helpful in helping us evaluate options and then putting it all together = Lembeh, Damai, international flights, indo flights – very seamless. Loved the experience on Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia – both have great service. Also good to note that Garuda has re-instituted their additional free luggage allowance for scuba gear as of April 2016!

Our 1 week Damai itinerary was Sorong-Sorong, with time spent in the south in Misool, and then looping gradually back north to the Dampier Straight area.

The experience in Raja Ampat on Damai 1 was fantastic = beautiful/comfortable boat, great cruise directors, great crew, great food, fantastic diving. Damai carries 12 passengers, which during our trip was my buddy and I plus a group of 10 fun-loving Singaporeans. Although there was a wide range of diving experience levels on the boat, the low DM/passenger ratio (4:1) kept this manageable. We were in cabin 1, just downstairs from the main salon. This cabin was configured with 2 comfortable single beds and featured tons of in-room storage, with 2 under-bed drawers, a full size closet (with safe), a night stand (with drawer) between the beds and a full size desk with 2 drawers in the corner of the room. The en suite bathroom was among the largest I’ve seen on a liveaboard, with a completely separate shower stall and sink/toilet room. Rooms were straightened daily while we were diving and laundry service was included. Laundry was consistently returned the same day and left in a neatly folded pile on your bed. Great for keeping luggage weight down.

I definitely enjoyed the physical layout of the public areas of the ship – plenty of areas to lounge in/read/nap between dives. The air-conditioned salon on the main deck had one large dining table + a separate couch area with a flat screen TV, fish ID books. Not a huge amount of space indoors, but our group seemed to gravitate to the outdoors areas during the day. Up one level was the open air top deck with several very comfortable, queen-bed-sized couches, padded bench seats, chaise lounges and beanbag chairs. This could be sunny or shaded depending on passenger request via a shade that the crew could manually deploy. There was also a large, comfy U shaped couch unit on the stern on this level.

Meals were in the salon (except for 1 special dinner we had on the upper deck). Each meal was at the single large table…..which definitely made for quicker passenger group bonding. The daily schedule was continental breakfast starting at 6AM, morning dive 1, second (cooked) breakfast, late morning dive 2, lunch, afternoon dive 3 and then a night dive or dusk diving sometimes before or after dinner depending on where we were/boat movement schedule. Food was great and plentiful and the chef was able to provide a wide variety of options. Some of our fellow guests requested more Asian-oriented fare (Chinese, Malaysian), which was no problem. Special orders of any type were always greeted with “no problem”. The kitchen offered snacks after the afternoon dive and the crew was almost militant in making sure we were all drinking enough water, since medical/hyperbaric facilities are a flight away. There was an ever full jar of peanuts in the main salon as well as a help yourself fridge with soft drinks (and beer once diving was done for the day). I definitely did not go hungry on this trip.

The crew was great and all made an obvious effort to make our trip as enjoyable as possible. Cruise directors Steph and Kai definitely set a very positive, friendly tone on the boat, always responsive if we needed something and hanging out with us during the day and in the evenings. Once we set up our reg/BC for the first dive, gear was handled for us for the remainder of the week. Wet suits/booties were literally taken right out of our hands after diving for the crew to handle washing/hanging to dry….and were always ready next to your gear when the “time to dive” bell rang. Cameras were handled with the right amount of care = deposited in your personal rinse tank after dives, gently dried via air gun and then deposited at your workstation in the camera room. Udin, our meal host in the salon, was fantastic, always asking if we needed coffee, drinks (and learning what we liked), and always very patient with our multi-cultural special orders.

Camera room was located in a room off of the salon with nice workstations, dual power, sufficient lighting, camera towels and plenty of available storage.

Damai has one of the nicest personal dive gear stations I’ve experienced; each diver has their own tank/seat, their own personal rinse tank and their own gear box underneath your seat.

Diving: as mentioned above, we did 4 dives on most days. Diving is from 2 small but comfortable open tender boats with tank slots on the gunwales. We dove in 3 waves = 3 groups of 4 plus a divemaster. Groups were kept consistent during the week and the schedule was rotated each day so that each group had turns going in the first, second and last wave. The crew handed loading/unloading your tank/reg/BC, fins and camera to/from the mother ship before/after each dive. All we had to do was get our wetsuits/weightbelts on and make our way to the tenders. Trips to the dives sites in the tender were usually about 2 minutes. Entry was via backroll; re-boarding was via a temp ladder after handing up your gear. Boats were always there to pick us up quickly when surfacing. There was definitely some moderate current at certain sites, so a good SMB/spool is a good idea. Wave conditions were on the calmer side, so surfacing divers were easy to spot. Existing/re-boarding the mothership was easy, via a set of stairs on the ship’s starboard side. Upon re-boarding, we were met with a dry towel, water and hot chocolate after night dives. There is a shower on the dive deck with shampoo and soap. We used Nitrox = consistently in the 31-32% range.

What we saw – some of the most beautiful reefs I’ve experienced. So many colors and very fishy, particularly when we experienced current. Some of the highlights - huge schools of barracuda, surgeonfish, spade fish, unicorn fish, trevally and fusiliers. Schooling bannerfish. More butterflyfish types than I could keep track of. Angels = regal, emperor, blue faced. Sharks = white-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, wobegongs on almost every dive, epaulette sharks. Mantas at a few sites. Others = turtles, sea snakes (mainly on night dives), nudibranchs, clouds of anthias, sweetlips along and in schools, morays, ribbon eels, several types of scorpionfish, octopus day and night), bumphead parrot fish (including one large school of these), blue spotted rays, various puffers, various anemonefish. Perhaps the most enjoyable for me was the soft corals….just a complete color explosion at every dive site.

Damai is definitely on the more expensive side…but the ship, the crew, the food, the rooms the common areas….all made for the most enjoyable liveaboard experience I’ve had (this was my 4th liveaboard trip). If you are looking for the ultimate liveaboard experience, you won’t go wrong with a Raja Ampat trip on Damai 1. Highly recommended.
Websites Dive Damai   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving New England, FL Keys, St. Lawrence River, Red Sea, Maldives, Italy, UK/English Channel, Turks & Caicos, St. Vincent, Roatan, Costa Rica, Belize, Hawaii, Bermuda
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-80 Ft/ 23-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions None imposed
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
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 comments in main report
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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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