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Dive Review of Raja Ampat Dive Lodge - Grand Komodo in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat Dive Lodge - Grand Komodo: "RADL: Lovely resort, great value, great dive ops!", Apr, 2018,

by Sharon Bailey-Bok, Panama, Panama (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 10351 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments RADL is just a lovely resort with delightful people and excellent dive operation. Excellent price/value, too. We spent two weeks at this resort after a fantastic live-aboard experience with Grand Komodo’s MV TemuKira (see separate review). We wondered if we’d booked too much time and whether we would see many different sites. Well, we LOVED every dive, every day (we did finally take one day off). We had our own RADL dive master for just the 2 of us for the whole time and there were never more than 5 divers on the small boat (the other divers had their own guide, too). Daily, the boat departed right after breakfast at 7:30 a.m. (normally it is 8 am but our request for “earlier” was granted) for 2-tank dives. Our dive master, Michael, had no problem with 70-80 minute dives, especially since most of the diving is relatively shallow (we never went deeper than 95’ during several weeks in Raja Ampat); he took us to some sites found just recently along with many of the “old favorites” like Chicken Reef, Cape Kri, Sauwandarek Jetty, Manta Sandy, Mike’s Point; and we went twice out to the Fam Islands—at our request. RADL packed good lunches and for the intervals between the 2-tank dives, the boat went various island sites with small beaches or nice jetties with covered areas—whichever one was nearest the next dive site. RADL has made arrangements with local villages for these lunch breaks (which leads to very good local relationships). These RADL dive guides (all Indonesians) were very skilled at finding critters, very experienced and knowledgeable about each site and they were able to read the currents VERY well which made a huge difference on where we entered the water and began the dive since currents here change so fast and if a dive master reads the currents wrong, you can be whisked away FROM the site rather than TO the site. The list of small critters goes on and on and gorgeous anemones; bumphead parrotfish, many sharks—many wobbegongs, rays including a big bull ray, mantas…And we were delighted with the swirls and masses of incredibly colorful fish at most sites…like huge schools of fuseliers, yellow-lined snappers; we loved the batfish, too. At some sites, the batfish are so friendly that they come up to divers and stay with you the whole dive! Talk about a mystical experience—we had many of those moments! And, the captain and crewman on the little boat were just wonderful in how they handled the boat and in helping us with gear. Language barriers seemed to disappear (though we do speak some Bahasa Indonesia) and we became real friends by the end of our stay.
The lodge itself is beautifully designed and the layout very well planned. Housing: Spacious bungalows with good bathrooms, tables, good wifi (especially though in dining areas); beautiful. Decks for socializing. Boardwalk pathways to make rooms “sand free.” There is a central building for the restaurant and double dining rooms—one area on each side of the entry—with plenty of seating. Delicious food! Often 4-5 star cuisine. Trained chef from Bali. Great buffets and sometimes special “haute cuisine” meals. Lots of drinking water for refilling bottles. Coffee/tea 24/7.
Note: As an ALL INDONESIAN company, Grand Komodo has developed a strong following with Indonesians. Many of the people we met came just for a few days and and used their OWN BOATS (charted for the specific group from Sorong) and for DAY TRIPS for hiking, birding and other exploration that did NOT include SCUBA diving; though they enjoyed snorkeling off the RADL jetty. That meant very little competition at the dive-prep areas or on the dive boats! This may not always be true (we heard that before we arrived there was a large group from eastern Europe) but it is worth noting.
Websites Raja Ampat Dive Lodge - Grand Komodo   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Recently (2018): Lembeh, Bunaken, Raja Ampat (live aboard and island-based resort), Komodo (live aboard). 2017 Bonaire, Caribbean. Previously those of 2018 & many other sites throughout far eastern Indonesia; Thailand, Seychelles, Maldives, Red Sea, Kenya, Tanzania; Australia;& Caribbean locations
Closest Airport Sorong, West Papua Getting There From Singapore or Denpasar through Manado or Makkasar; often need an overnight in Sorong. Can be long but worth it.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-110 Ft/ 12-34 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Several small boats. We had our own guide (for the 2 of us) and never more than 5 divers on the boat (plus, guides, 2 crew). Once our guide realized we are very good with air and like longer dives (70-90 min.) when sites & currents allow, he loved taking us special places for longer dives (95'max)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 4 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Gregory S Bruce in WA, US at Jul 17, 2018 18:32 EST  
Very nice report. Thanks for posting. What were the costs like for the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge and how much diving per day did you do? Is there a house reef for shore diving? Thanks again.
By report author: Sharon Bailey-Bok in Panama, Panama at Jul 17, 2018 22:36 EST  
RADL is a good price value. rajaampatlodges.com/raja-ampat-dive-lodge-mansuar-island-west-papua-indonesia.html Suggest you contact Grand Komodo directly. They have recently modified their website (it appears to us) and so we were not able to find the exact price charts for you. We know this: There are a couple of package options. We booked a full package where we were pre-paid unlimited diving--about US$2000/pax/wk w large cabin. However, there is a 2-dives/day package for somewhat less. When we do it again (we hope), we will book the 2-dives/day package. Note: We usually did 2-tanks (normal) starting (7:30--see above) with lunch on an island or Jetty. Our dives were often 70-80 minutes each and with currents this was usually enough for us! We did also do some 3 pm dives 65-75 minutes. As for the "house reef," night dives were usually at the end of the long jetty. During the day we never saw anyone diving there. So we really don't know for sure but we can say that with all the other really great dive sites that take energy and time--and are spectacular--, we never even thought about diving a house reef (vs someplace like Bonaire where this is common).
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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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