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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- TemuKira in

Grand Komodo -- TemuKira: "Whale Sharks to Nudibranchs. Cendrawasih Bay - Raja Ampat on TemuKira", Sep, 2015,

by Peggy and Jose Miguel Duran MD, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 8516 has 2 Helpful votes.

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 $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We dove for almost 3 hours with 5 whale sharks!! This absolutely justified our long trip around the world.

These gentle giants appeared to enjoy the interaction, repeatedly approaching us with curiosity matching our awe in repeated face to face encounters, yet treating us fragile divers very carefully even when they were engrossed in their snacking from the fishing platform. These are memories we will carry for the rest of our lives. We got so much excellent video of them that it will be really difficult to choose what to include in a film.

After a 3:00 AM flight from Manado to Sorong and then Manokwari, we boarded the TemuKira at 11:30 AM and were in the water doing our check-out dive on the Shimwa Maru wreck by 1:30 PM. After a twelve hour night sailing we had some good dives at Ripon Rock, the Zero airplane and Reef and a night dive at Wandamon Reef before continuing sailing to Nabire at the southern tip of Cendrawasih Bay where we were to dive at the fishing platforms that the whale sharks frequent. The fishermen were not there the first day due to a local holiday, but one whale shark approached the rear of our liveaboard. We had just showered after a dive when the crew called us. We jumped in the water in our shorts (in Peggy's case, in her dress) and played with him for almost an hour.

Another liveaboard arrived after us and the divemasters arranged the schedules so that we were not diving on top of each other. We were explained the protocol of diving with the whale sharks especially avoiding video lights and strobe flash, but with the shallow depth and good visibility and sunshine, they were not missed.

We had not been back to Cendrawasih since 1993 and the dive sites were quite good, although the visibility was less than at Raja Ampat. Again, the whale sharks are what makes it worthwhile to come here. After diving with them, we continued our trip, sailing north now around the Bird's Head peninsula to Mansuar Island in Raja Ampat. At Blue Magic, Mioskon and Mike's Point, the visibility and sheer abundance of life was again incredible, perhaps even better than our last trip here. We had a great night dive at the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge jetty, with even a couple of twin-spotted lion fish thath we hadn't seen in a while.

Of course we also dove Sardine Reef, Yenbuba Corner and Chicken Reef before having a magical night dive at Mioskon. The following day we sailed to Gam where Lalosi and Citrus Reef proved excellent. At Fam Island, Barracuda Point lived up to its name. Anita's Garden had lovely corals and Fam Channel was a dreamlike experience. During the trip we had a very large variety of nudibranchs and other macrolife. We also dove the mangroves at these unspoiled islands before moving back to Mansuar to experience again the best of the best before returning to Sorong. Our last dive at Yenbuba Corner provided clouds of surgeonfishes, barracudas, batfishes, chubs, and fusiliers galore before presenting us with a huge marbled stingray such as we have not seen in years, as a parting gift in our last few pounds of air.

Again, it is difficult to describe the sheer variety and abundance of life that has changed little since we first came here in 1991, in spite of the increasing number of liveaboards and resorts in this area. You have to experience this for yourself.

This was our 22th liveaboard trip with Grand Komodo and the fourth on the TemuKira, a 100 foot wooden Pinisi sail/motor vessel. It can accommodate 12 divers with plenty of elbow room.
The cabins are clean and comfortable, all with AC and en-suite bathrooms/showers, adequate storage and shelves.
There is cabin with a double bed on the upper deck and another quite large cabin, Cannibal Rock, on the lower deck. The rest are double bunks.
A comfortable lounge/dining area on the main deck had TV/DVD plus Fish and Invertebrates Identification library, two large AC units and a large well lighted charging station There is 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 welcome after our dives. The compressors were well maintained and the air fills were always over 3000 lbs.
All the GK vessels cooks are very good but on this trip we were lucky to have again the one we consider the best, trained at a good restaurant in Bali. Her varied gourmet meals were almost as good as the dives with Indonesian and Western dishes, fresh vegetables and imaginative desserts. Cookies, toast and coffee and tea were available before the first dive. Breakfasts followed, always with delicious fruit smoothies. There were cakes and snacks after our third dive before dinner. Great hot soups were welcome to start the meal after the night dive.

They offer usually 4 dives daily, 3 during the day and a night dive as allowed by the anchorage. The boat is usually anchored at night in protected, secure spots to allow a good night rest. Even after usually doing very long dives, we took advantage of almost every night dive.

We had 3 dive masters, knowledgable of the dive sites terrain,
sea life and currents which makes all the difference for great and safe dives. They did a very good job, always checking current and conditions before every immersion to make them as enjoyable and safe as possible. They always take care of matching the diving to the experience and physical abilities of the divers. We did not have to fight strong currents, but we had some enjoyable, fast drift dives. The briefings before dives were detailed but not tedious.
All the guides were great at finding small marine life, plenty of nudibranchs, pygmy sea horses and pipefishes, etc. They were patient with our long dives even when they were a little cold.

All the diving was done from fiberglass dinghies boarded from the dive platform with the whole crew assisting the divers in and out while carefully handling the cameras. The drivers were excellent at keeping track of divers and always being there when you surfaced. The currents in this area can change rapidly and be quite fierce, and there may be heavy surge when boarding the dinghy after the dives. Because of the great care and attention to safety provided by the crew, we feel we can give four stars for -relative- beginner divers in this often challenging area.

The Indonesian dive guides, captain and cabin steward are fluent in English and most of the crew understood enough for adequate communication. All the crew cooperate to provide a great experience for all their guests. The engineer was great at fixing my regulator malfunction.

Grand Komodo Tours always takes care of all the local flights,
transportation,hotel accommodations and any changes sometimes required by cancellations or rescheduling of local flights. We flew With Garuda Airlines and they give divers -on request, do not forget to ask- an extra 20 kilos weight allowance, so that we did not have to pay any overweight surcharges on any of their flights.

Again, Grand Komodo Tours provided us with an excellent, perfectly arranged trip and an unforgettable diving experience. We'll be back.

Peggy & Jose Miguel Duran, MD
Websites Grand Komodo -- TemuKira   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Sea of Cortez, Philipines, Galapagos, Maldives, Andamans, PNG,
Palau, Solomons, Bali, Komodo, Taka Bone Rate, Wakatobi, Bunaken, Lembeh,
Halmahera, Tidor, Ternate, Misool, Togians, Banda Sea, Alor, Flores, Ambon Cendrawasih Bay
Closest Airport Manokwari and Sorong Getting There Quite a trip: Houston-Moscow-Singapore-Manado-Sorong-Manokwari

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Common sense and diving experience
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 Dedicated fresh water tanks for cameras. Crew rinsed and dried cameras thoroughly after each dive. Camera table on dive deck, Ample charging station in lounge. Crew extremely careful with cameras when loading on dinghy, resurfacing and unloading, especially with heavy surge. It could get a little cramped with many photographers with large cameras.
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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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