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Dive Review of Maluku Divers in

Maluku Divers: "great but chilly critter diving", Oct, 2014,

by Rickie Sterne/Chrisanda Butto, AR, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 7927.

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 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Maluku Divers advertises "Critters without the crowds." Their claim is accurate, and their critters are legion. We were welcomed to the small, quiet Maluku operation by Emily and Joe, the resort's British hosts. A tasty club sandwich and fries made filling out the usual paperwork less onerous. While we were scribbling and munching, we were surprised and delighted to be accosted by Ali, the gentleman who introduced us to the pleasures of muck diving seven years ago in Lembeh. Ali helped the late Larry Smith invent muck diving, and he must surely be one of the top muck diving guides in Indonesia. We were over the moon when we learned that Ali would be our guide for the week.
Maluku Divers assigns only four divers per guide, and we were as fortunate in our fellow divers as in our guide. We were paired with an amiable Dutch couple who were both expert and considerate divers. Our gear was picked up from our bungalows and taken to the dive dressing area or the boat. When we waded out to our large covered boat after breakfast, we found our gear set up on the tanks with the weights distributed as we had requested. We were all diving Nitrox. After a briefing by Ali, we entered the water by backroll and began our leisurely exploration of the critter-rich sands of Ambon Bay. The routine was to do two dives at different sites each morning, with the surface interval spent on the boat. During the interval we were provided with towels, and offered cakes, water, and hot tea or cocoa. Since the water temperature was a chilly 77-79 degrees F., we consumed a lot of hot tea. After lunch and a longer rest break, we returned to the boat for an afternoon dive at 3 pm. Night diving was available on request, but we were too cold to venture out after dark. Staff carried all our gear and cameras to and from the boat. In the dressing area, each diver was assigned a dry box, and there were warm showers where we could rinse off.
Cool water temperatures notwithstanding, we made very long dives, 75-90 minute long dives. Being cold does not seem as important when you are seeing lots of cool critters. We decided that you cannot go underwater in Ambon without encountering an ornate ghost pipefish or three. Ali pointed out many species of shrimp, including bumblebee, Coleman, crinoid, and harlequin shrimp. We had seen a few tozeuma shrimp before, but in Ambon we saw trios of richly colored ocellated tozeumas gathered on a single gorgonian. Ali pointed out ten new-to-me species of nudis. There were two species of Rhinopias on offer, and we were led to numerous interesting cephalopods. We could extend this catalogue of our sightings much further, but you get the idea. We were shown LOTS of unusual and colorful critters. Several people told us that the diving is best when the water is cool. Well, the water was cool, and the diving was great. Diving with Ali was a privilege we had not anticipated.
The boat carries a crew of two in addition to the dive guide. The captain drove the boat, but also helped divers don their gear. A second crew member kept our gear set up and helped us get into and out of the water. The drill was to hand up our gear at the end of the dive before we climbed the ladder over the upholstered seat back into the boat, so the crew did quite a bit of gear hauling. When I developed ear problems, the Dutch gentleman, who is a technical instructor, suggested that I make the softest possible entry by donning my gear in the water. The crew was completely obliging about helping me do so, and I believe these gentler entries saved my ear and let me keep diving.
The spacious stucco bungalows at Maluku Divers have practical painted concrete floors. The bed was huge and comfortable. There was a generous wardrobe, and two desks. The large bathroom included a shower big enough for a party with plenty of hot water and good water pressure. The resort provides a liquid soap that doubles nicely as shampoo, and I found a hair dryer in the wardrobe. The bungalows are cleaned thoroughly each day. You signal your desire for fresh towels by leaving the dirty ones on the floor. Being heavy drinkers, we appreciated the large water dispenser. We dried our swimsuits on the drying rack on our porch. In the late afternoons, I sat on the porch to enjoy the ocean view. Bungalows have both AC and ceiling fans. We slept under the ceiling fan and were comfortable.
We enjoyed our meals. Breakfast was a buffet with one Western and one Asian dish on offer in addition to fresh fruit, toast, and eggs to order. Brewed coffee and a selection of bag teas were available. Lunches began with homemade soups, especially good after long, cold dives. We were then served plated entrees, followed by a fruit plate. The three-course dinners began with salad and ended with a fresh-baked dessert. Although there was no choice per se at lunch or dinner, we were asked repeatedly about special dietary needs and preferences when we arrived at the resort. Our Dutch companion requested larger portions and received them.
We were moving from Maluku Divers to a liveaboard at the end of the week, and we truly appreciated how easy Maluku Divers made that transfer. We did not have to pack our dive gear or cameras. Instead our gear was transported to the Damai in one of the resort's crates, and our cameras made the trip in their cooler bags. Now that's customer service!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, BayIslands, Belize, Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Turks&Caicos, Sea of Cortez, GBR, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, other areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport Ambon Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 77-79°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 25-50 Ft/ 8-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox MOD. We stayed with our dive guide so we could see all those beautiful critters he was spotting
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Maluku Divers features an air-conditioned camera room with enough work stations for every guest in the resort to bring a camera. There are plenty of electrical outlets, but North American divers would do well to bring a few plug adapters. Each work station has a soft pad, towels, and an anglepoise lamp. A narrow shelf above the work stations stores batteries and tools; a large shelf under the stations stores camera bags. The resort provides each photographer with a soft sided cooler bag in which cameras are transported from the camera room to rinse tanks and thence to the boats. When the crew takes cameras from divers at dive's end, each camera is promptly replaced in its cooler bag. The crew handled all cameras carefully.
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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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