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

Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer: "Raja Ampat Explorer", Oct, 2014,

by Mike Szathmary, OH, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8047.

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 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The travel: Coming from mid-US, the trip is a marathon. Expect to spend a minimum of 30-36 hours to get to Sorong. Most of the flights and airlines were reliable. If you have a choice between Garuda and Expressair in Indonesia, pick Garuda. Garuda doesn't charge extra for overweight luggage if it's dive gear.

The country: Having never been to that part of the world I had no idea what to expect except for what I have read in Undercurrent and other sources. Once there I found the people to be friendly and never felt threatened in any way. Except on the roads, where the myriad scooters were like missiles. Overall, we found the hospitality of the Indonesian people to be second to none.

The boat: I have absolutely no complaint about the boat. Granted, its not as new or luxurious as some other boats out there but for filling the needs of home base while diving around the region it filled the bill nicely. We had an almost full complement of divers (12 out of possible 14) and the only area that felt cramped was the dive deck. It is small in comparison to other boats. The diving was done from RIBs and the crew managed the deck very efficiently by having us go in shifts to the dive sites. The food was plentiful, tasty, and no one went hungry (some dishes were spicy, but there was always an option that wasn't). One final note about the boat. I had seen in different reports about the abundance of ants and/or roaches on the boat. I did not see any of either on this trip; not one. The only insect I saw the whole week was a fly that got into our cabin.

The crew: I can't say enough about the crew. Although most spoke little or no English, communication was never a problem. They all at some point assisted on the dive deck, even the captain. The dive guides pointed out the tiniest critters on the dives and all seemed very knowledgeable of the area. When one of the guests got to breakfast late and all of the food was picked over and cold, they fixed her something fresh right away. Without asking. When the cover on my second stage was starting to come off after a night dive, I pointed it out to them, thinking I might need to use one of theirs if it came off. When I went to suit up for the next morning's dive my second stage was fixed. On the last night of our cruise they took us to a small island for a cookout. After eating the crew played and sang some native songs; it was obvious they were having just a good a time as we were. It was a very memorable way to end the trip. A special shout out to Joni, the trip director, who ran the operation smoothly.

The diving: Spectacular. I was traveling with my marine biologist daughter and she was blown away by the health of the corals and the diversity of life we encountered on this trip. It probably spoiled us forever. We have been diving in several locales around the world and this area is truly the pinnacle. You may not see as many big critters here as in other areas but there were plenty to eliminate some of the items on my bucket list.

In closing, this trip was to be a once in a lifetime trip. After what we saw and how we were treated we are thinking about making it a twice in a lifetime trip. Same boat, same crew, same itinerary. I can't give it any higher recommendation that that.
Websites Grand Komodo -- Raja Ampat Explorer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Throughout Caribbean, Florida, North Carolina, Australia, New Zealand
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There No travel difficulties except for the fact it takes a long time to get there.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No limits
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
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 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The main area for photographers was in the salon and not on the dive deck. This worked out pretty well since the dive deck is on the smallish side. There is also a table on the dive deck for photo gear before and after the dive.
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Subscriber's Comments

By carl berenson in WA, US at Jun 14, 2015 11:42 EST  
i totally agree with this review as my husband and myself were on this trip.....tho my name does not look like a wife name...
By carl berenson in WA, US at Jun 14, 2015 11:42 EST  
i totally agree with this review as my husband and myself were on this trip.....tho my name does not look like a wife name...
By carl berenson in WA, US at Jun 14, 2015 11:42 EST  
i totally agree with this review as my husband and myself were on this trip.....tho my name does not look like a wife name...
By Jeff Moore in FL, US at Sep 18, 2015 21:59 EST  
I, also was on this boat in May 2014. I agree with everything said.My only disappointment was no desserts were served. Had I known this, I would have asked to be dropped off at a bakery as I arrived in Sorong and bought my own. I had no problem sneaking overweight carry on baggage on Express Air [it'spricey!!!].
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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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