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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Paradise Dancer/Dewi Nusantara in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Peter Hughes -- Paradise Dancer/Dewi Nusantara, Dec, 2011,

by S Lori Brown, WA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports). Report 6384.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 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 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We traveled from Seattle to San Francisco to Korea to Singapore to Manado to Sorong in West Papua (previously known as Irian Jaya). We were met at the Sorong Airport by Paradise Dancer Crew and transported to the Dewi Nusantara. We went on an 11 day cruise in December 2011 starting in Sorong, heading northwest through Raja Ampat with our first stop at Kri and the final dives southwest of Sorong.
The Diving: All of the dives were spectacular—in their own way. The diversity of the dive sites was part of the overall delight. Some highlights were Ganan Island in Alijui Bay. I could not exaggerate the number of different nudibranchs and flatworms: there was the ever present Phyllidopsis as well as Phyllidia, Glossodoris, Chromodoris (several), Glossodoris, several, and Tamja. I couldn’t identify all the flatworms. Another notable dive was the Manta Ray Dive. A coalition of local dive operators built a semicircle of large rocks and detritus facing a cleaning station. Wendy Brown, the Cruise Director, worked hard to dampen expectations – sometimes she said, there were no manta rays—in which case we would just make a leisurely tour. But OMG, as soon as we got down and situated around the rigged amphitheater— a half dozen manta rays were sailing around in some cases, within a few feet of the divers.The show was still going strong after about an hour when we got the signal that it was time to leave.
Another dive worth repeating was the dive at Forundi Cave. The cave was a huge protected cavern and featured a manic electric clam hidden behind a sponge. In the twilight of the cave, the electric clam was dazzling. There was also a cave within the cavern but for lack of equipment – I dared not enter the narrow hole. Nearby we came upon a large octopus out in the open pretending not to be there. It is ridiculous that I haven’t yet mentioned the unbelievable coral, both soft and hard, throughout the journey and the swarms of fish on every dive.
The Dive Operations: Wendy Brown is the Cruise Director and our dive guide was Andre. Two tenders ferried the fifteen divers to sites. There was an elderly disabled woman on our boat. I have to give kudos to the dive crew, and Wendy especially, for keeping her safe and comfortable. Wendy dove solo with her and no one could have asked for a more attentive and competent dive guide. Our guide, Andre, accompanied four of us. He was helpful but not intrusive and was dedicated to finding things for the photographers including pygmy seahorses, octopus, and strange nudibranchs.
The Boat: Dewi Nusantara is a beauty. We had a regular cabin which was spacious and clean. The bathroom was large and had a real-sized shower with HOT water. I was actually stunned at how large the room was and there was plenty of room for storage. One problem in our room was that the ceiling leaked when there was heavy rain—this happened twice. I was a bit alarmed to find water had leaked onto my beloved Kindle—fortunately it wasn’t damaged. The housekeeping staff was quick to clean up the water and change the bed in the room. There was a covered deck for lounging and reading and an uncovered deck for those who do not burn to a crisp in the blazing sun. There was an indoor lounge with a library and tables for logging dives or playing games. This was by far the most beautiful live-aboard we have ever been on. My understanding is that the Dewi Nusantara will be leaving the Dancer Fleet in February 2012. They already have a website with their 2012-2014 dive trips.
The Meals: Mixed reviews on the meals. The best meal of the day was lunch. Heinrich and the kitchen staff prepared and served local foods buffet style—usually a soup like soto ayam or tom yum soup, a large grilled fish with beautiful sauce, a curry, a spiced local vegetable, spiced fried shrimp or calamari, and gado gado to name a few. One day a man pulled up alongside the Dewi Nusantara selling a fresh caught tuna— we had the best sashimi ever. The dinner was a bit more hit or miss. It was served European style and honestly, I’d say that the best of it was when there was an Indonesian dish such as curried beef or a freshly grilled fish.
Land Trips: We made a few land excursions – one to a pearl farm which was well worth it and the other a hike to a beautiful view.
Overall, a great trip and we would go back to the Dewi Nusantara without hesitation.
Websites Peter Hughes -- Paradise Dancer   Dewi Nusantara

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington (Puget Sound), Bonaire, Cozumel, Fiji, Indonesia (Irian Jaya, Sulawesi, Bali) Papua New Guinea, Jamaica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-30 Ft/ 5-9 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions A dive guide was with us on every dive but there were no enforced restrictions, just an appropriate reminder that we were far away from the nearest chamber.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a room on the boat dedicated to photographers. Tables with plenty of outlets. Crew carried the cameras to and from the boats and handed cameras to divers. There was a wash tank dedicated to cameras.
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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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