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Dive Review of MSY Seahorse in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat (South)

MSY Seahorse: "A Pleasant Voyage To Supplement My Land-Based Stay", May, 2017,

by Eric A Frick, IL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 29 reports with 21 Helpful votes). Report 9642 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments As the boat returning me and my fellow travelers from Misool Eco Resort (see my report on Misool) entered Sorong harbor, my friends were thinking about their upcoming overnight in a local hotel and of beginning their long trek home. I had other plans. After signing up for the Misool trip being offered by my local dive shop, I had enlisted the help of Ultimate Dive Travel (ultimatedivetravel.com) to find out if there might be a live aboard departing Sorong at any time close to the end of my Misool experience. Bingo! MSY Seahorse had a departure scheduled for that very afternoon. Their itinerary (the last Raja Ampat trip for the boat that season) included a bit of overlap with the area I had just left but the convenience of beginning one part of the trip just as the other part was concluding was too good to pass up. All I had to do was make sure the boat departed Misool on time for Sorong and that Seahorse knew that I would be aboard. Sure enough, as we pulled into Sorong harbor, Seahorse’s tender fell in astern of us and followed us to the dock. My luggage was transferred from one boat to another and I stepped across and waived farewell to my pals. We tied up to Seahorse as they were weighing anchor and I had neatly managed the trickiest transition of my trip.

I greeted dive masters Daniel, a Spaniard, and his associate Tony, a Ukrainian via Vancouver. Steward Sulis handed me a glass of punch and I was advised that I was one of only four guests on the boat designed to accommodate up to 14 divers. I ditched my sandals, placing them in a bin on Seahorse’s spacious dive deck and did not touch them again for 11 days. Despite the low number of passengers on my voyage, the dive deck, amply shaded by a blue tarp, would be sufficient for a full complement of divers on the 108-foot Seahorse. The traditional pinisi boat design makes for a majestic vessel with a wide beam. Seahorse is lovely and decently maintained but the finishes are not deluxe. My cabin (#6) featured more than a few cabinets with missing knobs and a bracket where the smoke detector used to be (I carry my own travel smoke detector on live aboards). The head had a handheld shower head hanging on the wall and the hot water worked well once I figured out the heater. A small leak around the base of the toilet did not worry me but I knew I was not voyaging in the lap of luxury. Dishes offered for each meal are posted on the whiteboard in the dining room. Sulis is happy to offer alternatives to suit guests’ dietary needs and special requests. Meals are served by Sulis who is assisted by an additional steward on more crowded trips. For most meals, a single main dish was offered so some might consider the food choices a bit narrow.

Divemasters provided a detailed briefing before each dive, along with a drawing. Since dive sites are so close, Daniel would take a quick trip out to the site to check currents and visibility so we were well informed before each dive. We dove for as long as our computers and judicious management of our breathing gas allowed, returning with 500 p.s.i. or so in our tanks. Currents were generally mild but at Cape Kri we did experience significant current and were happy to have our reef hooks.

Diving is done from uncovered aluminum tenders tied to the port side of Seahorse. Tanks and BCDs are carried by crewmembers from the dive deck down the stairs to the platform and placed in the tender. Divers follow with masks and fins. Cameras were treated with care. Once at the divesite, divers simply backrolled into the water. A small ladder at the stern is deployed to allow divers to climb back aboard. Fins were handed up and the crew happily also hauled tanks and BCDs aboard for those who did not want to climb up fully equipped. Ladder rungs were a bit small in diameter which made the climb back up onto the boat somewhat uncomfortable. Returning divers simply ascend the stairway mounted on the side of Seahorse and are greeted by Sulis with a beverage (cool water on earlier dives, sweet tea after the last afternoon dive and hot cocoa after night dives). Tanks and BCDs are brought up by the crew for refilling. A camera rinse tank was provided as well as a tank for wetsuits. Two handheld showers are provided on deck for a rinse. With only four divers aboard for our charter, this wasn’t a problem but a full complement of 14 divers might mean a wait for a shower. Sulis happily offered towels and assistance with wetsuit rinsing and hanging.

We were privileged to witness one of those satisfying underwater experiences one sometimes encounters. During my land-based stay at Misool before boarding Seahorse, I had been told of a manta that had become entangled in a heavy gauge fishing line and had been seen at a dive site called Magic Mountain. I did not see this particular manta while staying at Misool but did spot it when we again visited Magic Mountain while aboard Seahorse. Divemaster Daniel del Ordi quietly moved toward the manta and, after two tries, got the fishing line off! It was a great moment as the manta swam off and then returned to hover over the reef.

Life comes with highs and lows and we hit one of the lows of the trip when we ventured into one of the mostly-enclosed lagoons for a look at the “beehive” shaped karst rock formations. The recent high tide had brought in lots of floating trash. We cruised in semi-stunned silence through an otherwise beautiful area. As I said in a previous report, Indonesia would do well to get a handle on their trash disposal challenge.

The board listing our dives of the trip steadily filled up and before long it was time to return to Sorong. Daniel handled the settling of passengers’ shipboard accounts and requested that we do so in cash. Getting to Raja Ampat requires a good deal of time and some patience but our return to Sorong in the morning meant that passengers could start their return journeys in time to catch flights out of Jakarta that evening instead of the overnight stay there our inbound journey required.
Websites MSY Seahorse   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Various Caribbean, Mexico, Florida Keys, Great Lakes, Hawaii, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Maldives.
Closest Airport Sorong (SOQ) Getting There Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT) to Jakarta (CGK) to Makassar (UPG) to Sorong (SOQ)!

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-90 Ft/ 12-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive within computer limits. Return with 500 p.s.i.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

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 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 Ample room on a table aboard Seahorse. Dedicated room for charging devices.
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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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