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

Grand Komodo -- TemuKira, May, 2011,

by Peggy & Jose Miguel Duran MD, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 6371.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving The Caribbean, Sea of Cortez, Galapagos, Papua New Guinea, Philipines, Maldives, Palau, Solomons,
Andamans
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 35 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. Dictated by your experience and common sense.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 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 Large camera table plus rinse tanks on dive deck. Large charging stations in lounge. Crew extremely careful handling, rinsing, drying cameras..

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 $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spent a few days diving Misool and Raja Ampat during our previous TemuKira cruise in December 2010 from Alor to Sorong and it whetted our appetite for more diving in Misool, so we returned for a second trip in May 2011 on the same boat operated by Gran Komodo Tours.

After over 30 hours flying from Corpus Christi to Houston, Moscow, Singapore and Manado in Sulawesi, we were looking forward to a dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant "Wisata Bahari" and a good night of sleep before our flight to Sorong in Papua Barat the following morning. But we were met at the airport by a Grand Komodo agent with news that our flight had been cancelled. With their usual efficiency they saved the day by getting us last minute tickets with Lion Air for their flight to Sorong leaving in 40 minutes!! He hustled us to the money changer -excess luggage fees-- and the domestic terminal, helped to negotiate down our 20 kilos fee and put us on the plane. Three hours later we were at a very nice new hotel in Sorong where we were able to rest before boarding the TemuKira to a warm welcome from all our friends in the crew.

Good checkout dive at Mantan Island, cut short by one of my video lights flooding. Agus, the engineer, was very helpful while I tried to fix it --unsuccesfully, but the manufacturer replaced it after the trip. The following morning Mioskon Reef offered lots of color with schools of five-lined and blue striped snappers, two tasselled wobegong sharks, some truly giant tridacnas and beautiful coral. A great start.

We followed this with Blue Magic at Mansuar Island with large schools of big mackerels and yellow-fin barracudas weaving their hypnotic magic. Then Mike's Point where abundant fish life and turtles reminded us of Batu Bolong in Komodo. In the evening we stopped by to see our old friends Ibu Reno and Pak Nyoman, the hard-working owners of Grand Komodo, at their new gorgeous Raja Ampat Dive Lodge. They had recently hosted there a huge European TV crew filming a documentary on Raja Ampat. They can be rightfully proud of the fine job they have done building this resort with its lovely Balinese flair and breath-taking views and sunsets.

We had a great long encounter with four manta rays at their cleaning station at Manta Sandy. The visibility was not as good as at our previous visits there, but it was an awesome dive nonetheless. Lalosi was a garden reef with giant cuttlefishes, wobbegongs, bumphead parrotfish and pipefishes. Gam Channel was going through a sandstorm but there was still lots to see: juvenile batfishes, spot-tail dartfish, juvenile ribbon eel, and lots of baitfish.

Mbrainuk Reef had electric pink anemones and hundreds of yellowtail fusiliers, a school of tuna on the hunt, winged pipefish and giant sweetlips. Barracuda Point on Fam Island had an 8 foot tawny nurse shark. It was a lovely island seen through a gentle rain. Anita's Garden had pygmy seahorses and razorfishes plus lots of macro life.

My Reef on Fam Island showed off deep, colorful soft and hard corals, schools of two-spot snappers, wobeggongs, lobsters, we got so distracted seeing so much that we had to do a long deco stop. We dove Fam Channel under a welcome returning sunny sky. Striped surgeonfish and lots of butterflies reflected the light. Melissa's Garden in the late afternoon had an enchanting quality with streams of fish moving all around us.

The crossing to Misool took 13 hours and sometimes got rather rough during the night, but mysterious, dark Batu Kembar (Twin Rock)with its haunting forest of fans and gorgonians with 2 octopi slithering through gave us a good welcome in the morning. Farundi Cave with its enchanting swim-through and Fiabacet #2, a tiny beautiful rock with 2 trees on top, was the tip of an underwater wonderland. We felt blessed.

The surface landscapes of Misool make it one of the most memorable and beautiful places we have ever seen. Lush layers of green sit atop quaintly shaped mushroom islands. Sunrises and sunsets worked their technicolor magic and were duly documented in video and photos.

At Raja Ampat (Four Kings), we went down to see shark silhouettes in the deep and then up to enjoy the soft corals, Napoleon Wrasses and yellow jacks. Gorgonian Passage was bright under the sun and a slower current allowed us to appreciate its beauty better than during our previous visit. Kelig Rock began with a fast down-current. Although the divemasters always checked the sites beforehand, these can appear suddenly. Enjoyed blue blanquillos, 8-banded butterflies and lovely scorpions.

Next day was cloudy but The Windows at Boo Rock was perhaps the best dive so far with fusiliers, bumpheads, barracudas...heaven. Fiabacet #1 had huge Malabar groupers and wobeggongs. GA Reef was lovely although the visibility was only fair. We had a great night dive later on though with large numbers of pajama cardinalfishes. Balbulol Rocks 1,2 and 3 were our next 3 dives, all excellent, but #1 was noted in our diary as "fish soup at all levels".

Wagnah Wall was our farewell dive, around a lovely small seamount. The lower visibility added a more mysterious magical element. Although the visibility was not as good as on our December trip due to the beginning of the wet season, the fish life was if anything even more abundant. This was the TemuKira's last trip to Misool for the season.

This was our 18th liveaboard trip with Grand Komodo and the fourth on the TemuKira, a 100 foot wooden Pinisi sail/motor vessel. It can accommodate 12 divers and our group of five had lots of room. The cabins are clean and comfortable, all with AC and en-suite bathrooms/showers,adequate storage and shelves. The comfortable lounge/dining area on the main deck has TV/DVD plus a good Fish and Invertebrates Identification library, three AC units and a large well lighted charging station There is a double cabin on the upper deck next to a large sundeck with awning and beach chairs. The dive deck has ample room to suit up and is well-designed with wide tank racks and gear bins under the seats as well as a spacious camera table, two rinse tanks and a toilet/shower. Two other hot/cold water showers on the dive platform and beach towels were appreciated after our dives. The compressors were well maintained and the air fills were correct.

The food was consistently good with a variety of Indonesian and Western dishes. Soups and desserts were served by the steward, entrees were buffet style. Cookies, toast and coffee and tea were available before the first dive. Breakfasts followed, served with delicious fruit smoothies. There were cakes and snacks after our third dive before dinner.

We had 3 dives during the day and a night dive was offered unless we were sailing. After usually very long dives, sometimes we did not take advantage of the night dive. The divemasters were meticulous in their pre-dive briefings and expert in checking current and conditions before every dive to make them as enjoyable and safe as possible. Joni and Nowak kept a close watch on us and were helpful without being obtrusive. They were excellent at finding small marine life and were very patient with our long dive times.

The TemuKira is a very comfortable boat, but what makes it truly special for us is the great crew, working together and committed to provide the best diving experience for their passengers. This, along with the incredibly rich and diverse marine life is what keeps bringing us back from the other side of the globe.

To complete a great trip, we finally were able to have dinner in Manado at Wisata Bahari before flying back home.
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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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