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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer/Raja Ampat Explorer in
Indonesia/Papua

Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer/Raja Ampat Explorer: "Whale Sharks at Cenderwash Bay", Nov, 2014,

by Steve Smith, TX, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 7852 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This can only be described as a bucket list type diving trip. We went half way around the world for a five day dive trip that really centered around two days of diving at Cenderawash Bay's whale sharks and it was definitely worth it.

Travel consisted of flying to Jakarta with two days at the airport hotel to recover and adjust to the time change. We then joined the rest of our group for an overnight flight to Manokwari, West Papua. We were met at the airport by the ship's crew even though the group was spending the night at a local airport. The crew took us to our hotel and made certain that everyone had accommodations before leaving. The next morning they picked us up and took us to the ship.

It took about a day and a half to sail from Manokwari to Cenderwash Bay and the whale sharks. We stopped a couple of times at reefs along the way to dive. The diving along the way was good, but not as spectacular as on the other side of the island in Raja Ampat.

The primary reason to go to Cenderwash is to see the whale sharks. There are between 4 and 6 fishing platforms in Cederwash bay where the locals fish at night and store their catch alive in large nets suspended below the platforms. The fisherman believe that the whale sharks bring them luck, so they feed them cut up fish. The call the sharks by repeatedly dropping a plastic bucket of water into sea.

On our first day, there were six other dive boats anchored near the fishing platforms, so we only had two whale sharks at our platform. The small one was about 15 ft and the larger one was about 25. They completely ignored all the divers around them as they came up to the surface to get some fish. As a result, we could get as close as we dared knowing that these monsters could do some serious damage if they were to catch you with their tails as the swam away.

On the second morning, we were the only dive boat around, so we got the sharks from the other platforms as well as the two from the first day. At one point we had 5 sharks ranging from 15 to 35 ft in length. One of the group lost his mask, so he decided to simply go swimming with them and at one point had a shark within touching distance on either side of him.

As for the crew, the service they provided was excellent. Diving was out of inflatables, so if you wished, the crew would carry all of your gear to the boat and then assist you as put it on. At the end of the dive, they expected to carry everything back to your station for you as well as provide a hand for the transfer between boats.

For photographers, there is a medium size table in the dive area for cameras. But most of us used that table for drying and used the long charging table in the salon for actually working with our cameras.

The food was good. It was a local menu since we were the only Westerners on board.

All dive briefings on this trip were given in Bahasa, but the dive master made certain to come over to give a special briefing to us in English. When we were onboard the RA Explorer last time, the majority of the guests were western, so briefings were given in English and then repeated in Bahasa for the two locals whose English was not quite fluent.

So in the end, between travel days, recovery days, a non-diving day before flying; this was a two week trip that centered around the two days of diving with the whale sharks. Would I do it again, quite probably.
Websites Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer   Raja Ampat Explorer

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Cocos, Palau, Truk, Tahiti, Cozumel, Cayman, Bonaire, Raja Ampat
Closest Airport Manokawari Getting There Jakarta then overnight flight to Makokwari with connection in Makassar. Jakarta-Manowwari fligth is on domestic airline that does not accept credit cards for reservations made outside of Indonesia.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79-86°F / 26-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Normal limits on pressure upon return
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Photograph table in dive area is limited in size and there is minimal enforcement of limitations for other use. But the large recharger table in the salon provided plenty of space for working on equipment once it had been dried.
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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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