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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Komodo Dancer in
Indonesia/Komodo

Peter Hughes -- Komodo Dancer, Aug, 2011,

by Philip johnston, Bayswater, AU (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6251.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali, Rajah Ampat, Lembeh), Cocos, Cozumel, Galapogas, Tahiti, Tonga
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 22 to 27 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 20 to 40 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No-decompression diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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 Good amounts of space for photographers, the crew were good in transferring cameras to/from dive tenders etc. All power points were Indonesian but a number of adaptors were provided free of charge for European/American (but not Australian) rechargers.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 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 The Komodo Dancer is a wooden hulled schooner, although the sails were basically only for show as we motored from place to place. The boat is in good condition, the passengers in 1 cabin complained of a leaking toilet but I didn't have any problems myself with the boat or any of the fittings. The cabins were a little on the small side though.
I rated the crew as excellent. All of the 14 passengers took the same flight from Bali to the departure port of Labuan Bajo, however the luggage of 5 or 6 of them was simply not loaded onto the plane. Despite the next day being a national holiday in Indonesia the cruise director Jimmy & the local office managed to quickly track down the missing bags & arrange for them to be collected from the airport (when they did eventually arrive)& delivered to the boat immediately, which was a pretty good effort. For those who had no dive gear in the interim, rental gear was provided at no charge.
I found all crew members attentive & helpful without fail, particularly the dive crew who consistently carried camera gear to the dive tenders for us. The divemaster did a preliminary dive on all dive sites to ensure currents were not unreasonable.
Food was of good quality without being gourmet, & in good quantity. Unlike every other live-aboard I have been on, beer & soft drinks were free of charge.
Diving was a good mix of reefs, sea mounts & a few critter/muck dives. I would rate 4-5 of the dive sites visited (including Cannibal Roack & Crystal Rock) as world-class, with the rest being reaonable to good. I can recall only 1 dive (an exploratory dive at the southern end of Komodo) as being a dud. We dived one well-known site (GPS), & whilst it was good & a few pelagics & sharks were seen the divemaster indicated that the shark life there is now a shadow of what it was 10 years ago....may all those who eat shark fin soup choke on it....
Mantas were seen in good quantities at 2 dive sites, once or twice approaching within touching distance. I would have liked a few more critter/muck dives however the cruise director generally deferred to the majority wishes of the passengers, who were generally disinterested in muck dives despite their quality. After diving Cannibal Rock twice we dove a nearby site called Yellow Wall, I would have preferred to have done the critter dive at the small bay near Cannibal rock (which we did later that day as a night dive). Fans of muck dives should ask specifically to dive that small bay as the critter life there equalled anything I have seen at Lembeh.

We visited a beach on Rinca to see Komodo Dragons.....whilst it was good to be able to see these creatures in the wild & reasonably close-up whilst on the beach, a fair degree of caution should be exercised as the dragons proved to be quite aggresive & at one stage had to be pushed away from us with poles by the crew.
Overall, I rated the cruise as a professionally run operation, with excellent levels of service from crew. Highlights? - good numbers of interactions with Mantas, & one of the divemasters showing me a Rhinopia he had found at Cannibal Rock - the first (& only) Rhinopia I have seen in almost 30 years of diving.
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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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