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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- TemuKira in
Indonesia/Misool & Raja Ampat

Grand Komodo -- TemuKira, Oct, 2012,

by Rickie Sterne/Chrisanda Btuuo, AR, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 6758.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Turks&Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, other areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 82 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We were encouraged to dive safely and conservatively since we were diving in a remote location.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments When we saw all the cameras, strobes, ports, and electronic devices emerging from bags, we wondered whether there would be room on the camera table and in the charging station for all the equipment the twelve divers had brought. There was. We never had to wait to plug in our several battery chargers. The charging strips had universal plug adapters built in, a great help. The crew handled all our photographic gear carefully, both in the dinghy and on the deck. By the second night, the crew knew that we carried only one camera on night dives and which camera it was. When I inadvertently left my strobe turned on, the compressor man found me and pointed out my oversight.

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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Having decided in advance that ten days was not enough time to spend diving in Raja Ampat, we moved directly from Grand Komodo's Putri Papua to their TemuKira. This cruise was to spend the first two days in Misool and then move northward. We unpacked, dined on quite a good private luncheon, and rested while awaiting the arrival of ten Australian divers on the late flight from Manado. The group of Aussies, who had been diving together for twenty years, were highly skilled and experienced divers who kindly included us in their group.
We had made several previous trips on the TemuKira and knew already that we like the boat and the crew. Our double-bedded cabin was spacious enough for us both to stand up at the same time and had enough storage space for us to stow our bags under the slightly elevated bed and to put all our clothes in various drawers. There was a small Balinese settle and a built-in dresser-desk. Each cabin has individually-controlled air conditioning. The ensuite bathroom had a drying rod as well as the usual fixtures. The shower ran tepid to warm every night.The salon is air-conditioned, but most of the time the group chose to open the windows and enjoy the sea breezes. The shaded sundeck with its sling chairs and two Balinese settles has always been my favorite place to spend surface intervals with a book, unless I am in the salon consulting the boat's excellent ID library (the best we have encountered on a liveaboard).
The dive deck has stations spacious enough for a full load of twelve divers to gear up at the same time, especially with the crew helping us. There was ample storage space in each gear station in two under-bench baskets. Dive lights and our individual water bottles stayed on the second shelf of the camera table. When one diver set her cup of tea on the upper shelf, a crew member quietly moved the offending liquid to the second shelf each time she did that. The crew carried our fins to the dinghy for us and handed in our cameras after we were all settled. There were always two crew members to steady us as we stepped down into the dinghy. Crew members even put on fins for some divers. After we made our backrolls into the water, the dinghy drivers always stayed on the site, watching for divers who needed to be picked up. Our dives did not end when the first diver had burned through his air. Tank fills were always 3000+, and the dive guides seemed willing to stay on the site as long as divers wanted to and still had air. Grand Komodo has two outstanding new dive guides in Putu and Jerry. Putu's meticulously drawn briefing maps corresponded well to the sites' actual topography, and we always understood what the dive plan was, with the caveat that a change in current would require underwater adaptation. Both Putu and Jerry were very sharp-eyed. However, they also knew exactly where to drop us into the current and were aware of where their divers were in the water, even though we did not always stay in a group. Both were eager for all the divers to enjoy all their dives. Before the third dive of the trip, Jerry asked me if my camera were shooting only macro. When I said yes, he began "feeding" me macro subjects, lots of macro subjects. During this trip, only four divers regularly participated in the night dives. On the last night, however, everyone went. We decided to hang back out of the crowd and poke around on our own. At the end of the dive, we were the only two left in the water with the dive guides. Putu apparently decided he "owed" us something nifty since we had been doing our own finding. He swam around over an area of rubble for fully five minutes until he spotted an epaulette shark. The shark gave us a good demonstration of its "walking" skills before we ascended.
The steep, richly covered walls of Misool are still gorgeous. We dove on sites in both Misool and the north that we had not visited on previous trips. At Karong Bayanga near Warkraket the beautiful walls were surrounded by schools of mid-sized fish. We also saw two large mantas soar over us and encountered four white-tip sharks. We ended the dive admiring three palette surgeonfish, which I consider one of the prettiest fish in the ocean. When we reached the northern area, one of our Aussie companions summarized the general dive plan thus: "Find a seamount swept by strong currents. Dive in and kick hard through large schools of assorted fish, avoiding the mackeral, trevally, and barracudas. Reach the point and hook in or hide behind a coral head. Watch a gazillion fish and a number of blacktip sharks cruise past. Let go and drift up toward the top of the seamount to a beautiful coral garden. Admire the corals and smaller fish and critters until you are exhausted or out of air." This general dive plan netted us many magnificent dives. As another Aussie often commented, "Another raging fish dive." We did have the opportunity to observe the behaviors of the reef's smaller denizens as well. Hooked on the point at Cape Kri, I was gawking at large schools of yellowtail barracuda and sleek unicornfish, a swimming woebegong, and two large bumphead parrotfish in a cleaning station. I was distracted by being repeatedly attacked by a damselfish who clearly felt I had invaded his territory.
For most of the divers, however, the apex dive occurred on our second dive at Manta Sandy. We had been quite pleased by our first dive at the site when six mantas swam through the cleaning station and four lingered for leisurely grooming services. Everyone wanted more mantas, so back we went. We quickly realized that a bit of current had come up while we were eating our breakfast. But with the current came the mantas. I saw my first manta before I even reached the official site. He was apparently swimming away from the cleaning station while I was swimming in. For 66 minutes we knelt or lay on the sand at sixty feet. At no time during that hour was a manta not present hovering in the station to be groomed by assorted small fish. Once there were six mantas in view. They hovered, they soared, they turned barrel rolls. They swam directly over us. Even the dive guides pulled out point and shoot cameras we didn't know they had. When we were down to 1 minute no deco time, we swam up ten feet, gained another three minutes, and watched some more. There were still two mantas in the cleaning station when we reluctantly swam up the slope. As a sort of consolation prize, Jerry pointed out a trio of pegasus seamoths wandering around on the sand. A very excited, very happy group of divers returned to the TemuKira for lunch.
With a dozen divers spending four and a half to five hours a day doing vigorous dives, the cook was kept very busy. We enjoyed three tasty and hearty meals of Indonesian food, featuring fresh fish caught by the captain, as well as afternoon snacks. As on all Grand Komodo boats, the entire crew worked very hard to ensure the divers' comfort and pleasure. When people who did not night dive requested an earlier dinner service, the cook and steward arranged two seatings for the evening meal. The boat is kept very clean. I kept dropping small objects in our cabin and having to scrabble around under the bed. I can attest that there are NO dust bunnies on the TemuKira. One guest was snorkeling rather than diving, and a crew member accompanied her on every site. On our last night on board, the crew serenaded us after dinner with Papuan songs. We were all surprised to find what beautiful voices some of the helpful but silent crew members possessed. We heartily concurred with the comment made by an Aussie diver,"This crew has completely spoiled us."
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Subscriber's Comments

By Arthur Burke Jr in TX, US at Nov 12, 2012 10:16 EST  
Great review. Need to add to the diving bucket list.
By Arief Latif in ZZ, ID at Jul 23, 2014 05:06 EST  
Had the privilige to dive in Raja Ampat on board Temukira in 2007 and glad to see the level of service was still high in 2012. Hope to someday return to Raja Ampat. Thanks for the great review that brings back great memories.
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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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