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Dive Review of MSY Seahorse in
Indonesia/Banda Sea & Raja Ampat

MSY Seahorse, Oct, 2009,

by Wayne & Danie Warren-Angelucci, CA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 5224.

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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We went for one trip and stayed for two!

In late September 2009, we boarded the MSY Seahorse for a crossing from Maumere, Flores across the Banda Sea to Ambon. It very was pleasurable to be greeted back by the staff and their wonderful smiles!

We had been on the MSY Seahorse before, so we were familiar with the boat – 6 cabins with two single beds each and two double cabins in the stern – all with private bathrooms and individually controlled A/C. The salon doubles as the dining room. The partially shaded sundeck over the salon is a wonderful place to spend the surface intervals, and the dive deck is spacious. Nitrox is included in the cost of the trip.

One of the owners, or their manager, Cici, is always on board to make sure the trips run smoothly. Cruise Director, Cedric, is great at choosing dive sites and pointing things out under water. The Indonesian crew is phenomenal! They carried the tanks and fins back and forth from the Seahorse to the tenders, and they were always extremely helpful.

The three course meals are served at the table, instead of buffet style, and they are a delicious combination of western and Indonesian cuisine! We were impressed to have green salad in such a remote area. Those who had special needs or wants were accommodated with special meals.

Diving is done from tenders. The main speed boat is an aluminum boat with space for 12 divers and the other one is a hard bottom inflatable. With two tenders, divers who come up early can be shuttled back to the Seahorse instead of having to wait for other divers to finish up, yet there is always a boat available when divers surface.

We delighted with the dives off the islands of Flores and Alor – so many colors and unusual animals – and then headed out to cross the Banda Sea. The area of the Banda Sea is comprised of many volcanoes and reefs rising from the deep ocean floor.

Our first stop was Gunung Api, which lived up to it’s nickname of Snake Island. We dove with hundreds of turtle-head sea snakes! It was disconcerting to look you’re your shoulder and see a snake swimming by and occasionally rubbing against your legs. It must have been really amazing years ago, before so many snakes were collected for their skins, when there were thousands of snakes on a dive instead of just hundreds.

At Desperandum Reef we had the exhilarating experience of diving with a school of hammerhead sharks. At first it looked like mantas in the distance. As the school came closer, we were able to make out that they were sharks, and then the got really close, and we saw that they were hammerheads – at least 40 in the school! They let us keep up with them for several minutes.

The rest of the diving was extraordinary, too. We saw eagle, marble, and mobula rays, huge tunas, napoleon wrasse, and barracuda and massive schools of trevally, anthias, and various kinds of baitfish. Enormous sponges littered the reefs, and we were treated to some beautiful topography.

The trip wasn’t all diving. The Banda Islands were famous in the early colonial times as this was the only area where nutmeg grew. Nutmeg was worth more per ounce than gold, and many wars were fought over these islands. The English and Dutch swapped Run Island for Manhattan in 1667 as they were then considered equally valuable. It’s interesting to contemplate how different places have grown in such diverse ways. Run Island remains a quiet tropical paradise, while Manhattan is anything but.

When we arrived in Ambon, we discovered that there was a last minute cancellation on the next trip, Ambon to Sorong, Papua, so we decided to stay on for another 12 days. We back tracked to The Banda Islands, and then headed north to Raja Ampat. The diving here is an amazing assortment of life and color, from pigmy seahorses to manta rays, woebegone sharks, blue-ring octopus and stunning hard and soft corals. We were really glad that we had the opportunity to dive this area again.
Websites MSY Seahorse   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia:Pulau Weh, Alor, Komodo, Bali, Flores, Sulawesi, Papua/Raja Ampat & Triton Bay, Kalimantan; Malaysia: Sabah & Perhentians; Maldives, Caribbean, Australia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-85°C / 176-185°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-150 Ft/ 15-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Limit to 65-75 minute max dive time
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
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 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Boat had both camera tables on the dive deck and separate camera room below. F/W rinse tanks. Crew took good care handling all equipment
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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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