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Dive Review of Kararu/Cheng Ho in
Indonesia/Komodo

Kararu/Cheng Ho, Aug, 2008,

by James Jenkins, CA, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 4302.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, PNG, Malaysia, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 74 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The Cheng Ho enforced the "no gloves" policy we were told was in effect for the Komodo park area -- most of the diving. We were encouraged to stay with our guides on some strong current dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Housings are kept outside and subject to exposure to wet divers and weather; inside in the large dining/salon area is ample space for chargers and room to work on cameras in a dry environment, between meals.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The service, food and general accommodations on the Cheng Ho are above average. The boat is very large, with multiple spaces to relax, read or get away (both shaded and in the sun). I've been on this boat twice, with 15 divers and 20 divers (plus guides, cruise directors and boat videographer) and the boat never feels crowded.

The boat is very large and rides fairly smoothly underway and is more stable at anchor -- important both for boarding the tenders and avoiding mal de mar.

The guides, Kerri and Hergen, and crew are great. Kerri especially is great at finding the critters.

They run three tenders, loaded serially from one stairway. The operation is smooth and fairly quick. Sometimes divers are all dumped at the same place -- this IS necessary for some, not all, of the dives, due to currents.

The diving was some of the best we've done, combining great macro on a par with Lembeh Straights and wonderful wide-angle with healthy reefs, soft corals, sharks, mantas, turtles, large schools of fish, etc.

The water temps in the Indian Ocean (and where it comes in between Komodo and Rinca) can be chilly: I read lows of 74/75 on this trip; it had been down to 68 earlier according to some divers; on our trip right before (Archipelago II) cruise we had lows of 71-72. Most will need a full 7mm suit to be warm. I had a full 5/4 with a hooded
vest and a second vest and just managed to avoid the shivers.

I would recommend this boat and crew. I recommend Komodo ONLY for very experienced divers.
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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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