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

Peter Hughes -- Komodo Dancer/Komodo Dancer, Nov, 2013,

by C Kapfer, VA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7701 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments ---- The Good ----
This was a 10 day trip through Komodo. Diving on the whole was excellent, world class by any measure. The cruise director was a master at reading the notoriously finicky and sometimes dangerous currents in Komodo.

Dive sites were picked optimally given the weather conditions which at times were a challenge due to heavy seas and currents. There were a mix of large creatures (~15 mantas, several turtles, a few sharks, even a grey whale) and small critters (stargazers, nudis, a few frogfish, mandarin fish, ghost pipe fish, crabs, mantis shrimp, stonefish, etc) and most dive briefings were very helpful as the cruise director had intimate knowledge of the currents.

Fresh towels were provided after each dive. Gear was prepared for us on the tenders generally without a hitch, though occasionally the wrong weight pockets were placed into my BCD. This could be a serious problem for an inexperienced diver if not caught.

Deck hands were efficient and friendly. Dive tenders were in good condition and the right size (about 5-6 divers per including guide).

Breakfast was made to order, food was very average but plentiful, mostly Indonesian, mildly spiced. There were a few meals which weren't up to par but on a 10 day trip, this is to be expected. A glass of wine was included with dinner.

Upstairs lounge is nice.

The cruise director was able to secure a kayak for one of our non-diver friends. This was a life-saver for her on such a long trip.

We were able to visit Komodo Island and see the infamous dragons first hand.

---- The Bad ----
Nitrox had been promised to us but upon arrival we were informed that the compressor was not working. It turned out that this had been broken for some time. We should have been informed in advance as we'd made it clear that this was essential--there was ample time to inform us.

My wife requires nitrox as she has had trouble with skin bends in the past diving air. The cruise director was able to secure enough nitrox tanks to allow for her to dive at the last minute. This was much appreciated as we would not have started with the trip otherwise! However, in Komodo due to the depth and current at some sites, bottom times were somewhat reduced and many of us were more fatigued than need be due to diving air.

The boat was infested with cockroaches! They were in the galley, in the silverware drawer, even in some of the cabins. The cruise director mentioned that the boat had been treated with Borax just before our trip which caused the roaches to go crazy. This left a lasting impression and I along with another guest had severe stomach illness several days into the trip that lasted for 2 days. Of course I can't be sure that it was related to the roaches. I missed 4 dives in a row as a result.

The beer ran out the last night of the stay onboard in Labuan Bajo and guests were asked to pay to replenish it. As a group the guests refused to pay but the cruise director made it right. Beer was supposed to be included in the rather expensive cruise fees.

The anchor was extremely loud when dropped and retrieved. This happened on occasion at night and early mornings when we were sleeping. Also, in rough seas the doors of some of the holds would not latch and the boat was extremely squeaky and loud.

Hot showers were not available in many of the rooms. The communal outdoor shower would have hot water only occasionally.

Cabin was adequate, not as nice as the price would have suggested. We had engine fumes in our cabin when sailing and our a/c was rarely working.

---- What I wish I had known ----
Nitrox was NOT available on board.

There was a severe roach infestation. Older wooden ships are almost certainly going to have roaches, but this was ridiculous.

Water temperatures varied throughout the trip. I wished I'd had a 5mm for a few sites which is rare for me, but my 3mm was okay most of the time.

---- Summary ----
The cruise director (Finn) is amazing at what he does and deserves to be running a better vessel with better management. However, the owners seem to be running this operation into the ground. I would not choose to dive the Komodo Dancer again ... but I would love to go back to dive Komodo somewhere with the same cruise director on a different liveaboard.
Websites Peter Hughes -- Komodo Dancer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Bali, Komodo, Oman, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 25-28°C / 77-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 5-25 M / 16-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive your own no-deco profile, stay near DM. Dive times were ~60 minutes. Max depth 30m.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 Good area for setup of ~5 large cameras. The large rinse tank was a bit crowded at times and could have used more frequent replacement. Deck hands are careful with equipment. Camera table is outdoors--wind can be a problem. Compressed air is available. Charging area is a little cramped but was okay for this trip since there were just 5 of us.
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By robert kopkiin FL, US at Aug 24, 2014 10:12 EST  
I dove on the KD in 2013 and there were roaches on the boat then. I advised Aggressor re this & got promises, promises, B.S. from Aggressor. However, it was still a very good trip and the diving was excellent. The reefs in the Komodo area were in pristine condition & vast. I would have been really pissed off if the was no NX on the boat. The NX system was fine on my trip.
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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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