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Dive Review of Papua Diving/Kri Eco Resprt in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

Papua Diving/Kri Eco Resprt, Mar, 2007,

by Sandra Cohen, WA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 3632 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our two week stay at Kri Eco Resort was superb; the resort is blessed with fabulous human and natural resources. Maya Hadorn is a Swiss woman who is managing Kri for Max (who spends all his time at the “upscale” Sorido Bay now). She is a treasure. The dive guides, boat crews, housekeeping staff, and kitchen staff are all kind and fun-loving Papuans who made us feel welcome.

The dive guides and boat crew spoke little or no English, but that didn't matter, as they were incredibly helpful, careful divers. The two of us most often had one guide, Berjones, to ourselves. He has the most amazing eyes for small critters – flatworms and nudibranchs smaller than the white tip of my little fingernail. The day we arrived, Maya had us fill out forms stating what we hoped to see underwater, and the guides personalized their services to deliver. We were treated to pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, and mantas, all as requested, and much more. The diving is some of the very best in the world. Only thing missing is lots of large pelagics. Variety of life and quantity of coral and creatures are unmatched.

We each dove about 30 times in 12 days of diving. Maya kept track of what sites we dove, remembered our preferences, made suggestions, and assigned divers to the small open boats. We had 16-18 guests at the resort the first week (capacity is 20), and only 7 the second. No dive guide ever had more than 4 divers, and most of the time it was 2 or 3. I never felt Maya was trying to cut corners in terms of shortchanging anyone on their dives or their guides or boat or destination assignments. She was clearly trying to make the visit as great as possible for each of us. That was a really refreshing change from other places we've been. This is a class operation, despite the many serious challenges of remoteness and simplicity of resources.

We liked the food at Kri, in large part because it was mostly Indonesian, with lots of good spicy sauces available. Veggies were delicious for as long as each Sunday's new supply lasted (they are not refrigerated), and fresh fruit was served with a smile after lunch and dinner.

Each guest room at Kri has overhead electric lighting, but not sufficient for reading. Kri supplies full bedding, including nice mosquito nets, sheets and pillows. The room is made up daily, and sheets are changed twice a week. They also provide towels, changed every 2 days, and a bar of soap. There is a mirror in each guest room, and also in some of the mandi rooms. There are several mandi huts, with western toilets (flushed with water you pour in) and nice clean tile floors. Mosquitoes tended to lurk in the mandis, particularly the buildings made entirely of thatch.

Ample drinking water is available free in plastic pitchers that you can refill any time in the kitchen. Some cold pitchers of water are kept in the single fridge, along with canned beer. Bottled Aqua cost 0.5 Euro if you need it.

We walked around Sorido Bay Resort, and were glad we didn’t stay there (though the humidity and heat made the a/c tempting). It has no breeze because of the location in a bay, and has no view of the spectacular sunsets we enjoyed nightly from the jetty at Kri. The cabins are not out near the water, and the guests there seemed to be more likely to stay inside or on the porches of their own cabins, rather than mixing together happily as we all did at Kri.

Most of Kri's guests are Europeans, though there were several other Americans there for parts of our stay.

Some of the guests at Kri found everything too primitive: they wanted guides and boatmen who spoke English or Dutch, and detailed site briefings before each dive. They were unhappy with the diet of mainly rice and chicken. And they thought the boats should run more reliably, especially in light of the price paid (particularly for the surcharge trips).

We agree that the "fuel surcharge” required for the more distant dive sites is too steep. Also, we found it difficult to sleep well because of the heat and humidity and the non-breathable foam mattresses. The portable fans in every room didn't help much, because they barely penetrated the mosquito nets. The nets were essential, as I got a couple of mosquito bites each evening despite long sleeves and pants that were treated with permethrin, and using DEET on all exposed skin.

Towards the end of our second week, there must have been a bad batch of fuel, because almost all the boats experienced motor problems. This went on for a couple of days, and dives were late or divers had to wait for a replacement boat to pick them up after a dive. Boat crews didn't seem to get started trying to solve the problems until it was almost time for the dive.

The biggest negative for us was that the brackish bathing water was quite salty. This meant that we were always sticky and salty and our skin began to rebel after about 10 days, with rashes and itches everywhere. TAKE ANTI-FUNGAL POWDER ALONG!

All extra charges must be paid in CASH upon departure. (Extra dives, fuel surcharge for distant dives, charges for beer and canned soft drinks and bottled water, t-shirts, etc.) They take many currencies (at rather poor rates), but only cash. The only other option is making a detour to the office in Sorong to pay with a credit card, for which Papua Diving adds a 3% premium. No travelers checks.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Red Sea (Sinai), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Great Barrier Reef, Belize, Little Cayman, BVI, Honduras, Vancouver Island (Canada), Washington State
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 20-80 Ft/ 6-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive guide doesn't let you get into deco situation. All dives (3 per day, sometimes including a night dive) are at pre-set times, regardless of tides, with no adjustment made to dive a site at optimum current.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales >2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There were no fresh water rinse tanks on any of the boats for cameras, but that didn't bother us, as we don't take underwater photos. The cameras of the others on our boat were carefully tended by the crew, who laid them down on towels and covered them with other clean towels during the trips to and from the resort.
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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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