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Dive Review of Pindito in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Pindito, Dec, 2008,

by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, USA (Top Contributor Top Contributor 46 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 4607.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Pindito has offered diving in the Raja Ampat area of Indonesia since 1992. Smokers will love it.

The 45 minute flight from Manado to Sorong left late but was otherwise uneventful; everyone’s luggage arrived so we were able to leave port earlier than expected for the overnight ride to Misool.

The first dive was pretty, cozy at 84 degrees, with lots of soft coral, a school of anchovies, and colorful clownfish darting about their anemones. Visibility was not as good as I expected, true on most dives, limiting wide-angle photos. Successive dives produced plate coral 6’ across, massive giant tridacna clams almost 5’ long, and sea fans 4-5’tall. In the Misool area our guides found several pygmy sea horses of various sizes, tiny cowries on sea fans, and whip coral gobies and shrimp.

The Pindito is a beautiful wooden boat with 8 cabins plus the owner’s cabin. Our cabin had a double bed with an upper removable bunk. A small sink is in the main room and a separate room holds the commode and shower. I love hot showers, but after the first two days, it was luke warm. There is ample shelving next to the sink and under the bed; there’s also storage under the bed for large suitcases. There was one set of 5 hooks on the wall. Reading lights were above both beds. Two small wooden steps helped climbing into either bed. The boat is very quiet, even while moving, and didn’t rock much.

Indoor/outdoor carpeting is only in the camera room, which would be crowded if everyone had a camera. Wood floors were everywhere else, so drippy swimsuits weren’t a problem when racing to the cabin after a dive, since there was no head on the main deck. There was one warm water shower on the port side of the boat. Since gear wasn’t rinsed until the last day of the trip, the shower was popular for wetsuit rinsing.

The main lounging area and dive deck were up front. A large tarp was rolled out on sunny days so there was plenty of shade. There was also a semi-shaded sitting area up one level in front of the wheelhouse. Gear was kept in large baskets under benches along the sides of the boat; about 15 minutes before scheduled dive times tanks were brought out. Tanks were DIN with yolk adapters, and Nitrox was included. We dressed the tanks and the crew hauled them down the steps on either side of the boat to one of three zodiac-style skiffs. Cameras were placed on a small platform attached to the side of the skiff and bungee cords were used to keep them from falling off. After each dive, gear was brought back up to the main deck, we took off our BC and regulator, and the tanks disappeared to be filled at the stern of the boat.

Skiff rides were 3-10 minutes. We were in the same skiff the entire week; the 3 guides rotated between. They diligently hunted for critters. If we happened to be nearby, they waved us over. Since currents could pick up suddenly, dives were limited to 60 minutes; if you were more than a couple minutes late, they assumed you were missing.

We had assigned deck towels that were washed a couple times during the 10 day trip. We got yummy snacks after the afternoon dive, but nothing after the night dive.

The big difference was the smoking policy. Most of the staff smokes, the no smoking area policy was not enforced, and the European smokers smoked everywhere but in the dining area. I am very allergic to smoke, so this affected my enjoyment of the trip

We were disappointed there were few large things—a shark or two, 3 manta rays, a couple turtles. We did see our first bamboo and wobbegong sharks. We also saw many pygmy sea horses, ghost pipe fish, a couple sea snakes, dozens of clownfish, and too many nudibranchs to count. The staff found 4 sargassum frogfish floating off the boat, put them in a clear fish tank for a short while so we could see them and takes photos, and then replaced them in their home. My favorite dive was at the end of the trip, at Wolof Island, a colorful wall with clear water and lots of interesting critters and fish living in the nooks and crannies of the wall. Another neat dive was a night dive under a jetty where we saw a big, angry woobegong shark, cockatoo and long spine waspfish, devil fish and various strange-looking scorpionfish.

Food was OK Indonesian food—lots of chicken and rice, with fish a couple times.

We did several night dives. The first two were rather disappointing, even the guides saying they were “quiet”. The others were better, with lots of tiny soft coral crabs, shrimp, bamboo and woobegong sharks, and even a hermit crab giving birth to miniscule babies.

We saw many neat things, but the diving on the whole did not quite live up to our high expectations. We were put in one washing-machine situation, noticeable from the boat, that had continuous up, down, and every which way currents, with three people suddenly swept down to over 100’. I spent 25 minutes kicking and inflating and deflating my BC, trying to stay stable, before giving up and aborting the dive, then being swept down to 30’ while trying to make my ascent. Another dive, we were guaranteed strong current and lots of sharks, but it was “the first time” neither currents nor sharks showed up, and the Mandarin dive was nothing but surge, sand, and dozens of sea urchins with very long spines ready to stab us, another dive aborted.

If you like beautiful soft corals, mostly smaller fish and strange critters, don’t need to see big things or have wide-angle visibility, and cigarette smoke isn’t a problem, this is the trip for you. Next year, we will try again on a different boat.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Caribbean, Galapagos, Socorro, Cocos, Malaysia, Micronesia, Fiji, Australia, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 84-°F / 29-°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minute dives. No decompression.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Inside camera room and charging station--no salt spray.
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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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