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Dive Review of S/Y Indo Siren in
Indonesia/Papua

S/Y Indo Siren: "Good liveaboard with great crew and incredibly diverse diving", May, 2017,

by Joel Snyder, AZ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 26 reports with 23 Helpful votes). Report 9596 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We boarded the Indo Siren in Sorong, a 3-hour flight from Jakarta to Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), the Indonesian province that comprises the western half of New Guinea (the eastern half is the independent country of Papua New Guinea). From Sarong airport, a 15-minute drive to the boat got us settled into our cabins very quickly and ready for the all-night crossing to Misool island for some great diving the next morning.

With 8 cabins and a maximum of 16 guests, the Indo Siren is not a crowded boat, but with 3 to 4 dives a day, the pace is relaxed. An early wake-up call around 6:30 starts the dive day with coffee and toast, followed by a first dive, a cooked breakfast, a second dive, lunch, and at least one more dive (and snacks) before dinner. Depending on boat logistics, a 4th evening dive (before dinner) may be available—on our trip, we managed a total of 31 dives across 9 days.

The Indo Siren is a bit tired and slow, but not unacceptably worn---it is more like a well-travelled ship that could use a bit of freshening. After our cruise she goes in to drydock for new engines and a round of sprucing up. It is ostensibly a sailing ship, but we never saw the sails up and the captain used the motor to make 6-7 knot/hour progress during our journey. Cabins are generously sized with individual air conditioners and bathrooms (toilet/sink/shower). Two cabins actually have queen-sized beds; others have twins that can be pushed together depending on guest needs. Rooms each had large individual flat-panel TVs and independent entertainment systems running off of a central server with a large selection of movies and TV shows. Plentiful fresh water and behind-the-scenes maintenance made for a trip with zero boat complaints.

The salon is a bit small, so a trip full of photographers would have problems finding space to work. Meals are served, outside, buffet-style on a well-protected aft deck with plenty of room for eating and socializing, and a large sun deck is available for sunset viewing or achieving a precancerous glow. The eating area is also used for dive briefings.

The Indo Siren is run like many live-aboard boats: an expatriate cruise leader works with a team of local staff to handle everything from diving to laundry to massages (by appointment, at small extra cost). With unpredictable weather, sea conditions, dive-site congestion, and everything else, the cruise leader isn't just the interface between the passengers and crew. They act as an active planner to fit the available puzzle pieces into a coherent picture so that the divers don't even realize how much of the day-to-day schedule is impromptu improvisation. A good cruise director brings it all together; a bad one lets it all fall apart. We avoided weather, bad visibility, and high current all thanks to an outstanding cruise director, Luke.

Diving in this region was spectacular with amazing varieties of hard and soft corals, fish, and everything else on top of it. Coral landscapes including 8-foot sea fans and 15-foot brain corals were healthy, large, and spectacular with no obvious evidence of any damage or bleaching. I lost count of the different species of butterfly and angelfish around 15 early in the trip: regal, emperor, six-banded, blue-girdled, raccoon, vagabond, long-fin, humphead, oval spot. Three species of large spadefish (15-18”) were present on every dive, individually and in small schools, as were light-blue eyestripe surgeonfish. Scorpionfish were common, and nudibranchs were on almost every dive. A variety of sweetlips and enormous black-spot puffers were always present, and we frequently had blackfin (chevron) barracuda a few feet away. Many sites had enormous schools of triggerfish, snappers and jacks swirling around. On the bottom, we found tasseled wobeggong sharks on many dives, crocodile flatheads, and anenomes with the ever-present anemone fish. Small squads of 6-8 bumphead parrotfish, 2-4 feet long each, and preening blue-colored red-tooth triggers were also frequent parts of our dives. By the end of the trip, I had identified more than 200 different fish and nudibranch species. It wasn’t just diversity; it was dizzying.

Sometimes a turtle would show up, and sharks were present but usually wary and kept their distance. About the only critter we didn’t see up-close and personal were mantas. One showed up on our very first dive, but I didn’t spot another for the rest of the trip.

On the first day, we were broken up into three groups of 5 or 6 divers to fit into the two RHIBs (rigid-hulled inflatable boat). At the end of each dive briefing, group 1 would load first and leave, followed immediately by group 2, and by the time group 2 was in the water, the first RHIB would be back for group 3. Each group had a divemaster, and divers were invited (but not required) to stay with him. At the end of the dive, you’d surface, put up your SMB if a RHIB wasn’t hovering overhead, and get picked up for transport back to the boat. RHIB rides were 2-3 minutes. On a few dives, we were asked to limit bottom time to keep to boat schedules, but otherwise there was no limit: across our dives, we had an average time of 71 minutes each.

We also did not have explicit depth limits, but with free Nitrox in every tank and careful site selection, we only had two dives deeper than 100 ft, and almost all of the action was above 60 ft. Our average depth across all dives was 40 ft. Every diver was encouraged to make a safety stop before surfacing. Water temperature was a steady 83-84 degrees with no thermoclines, and we encountered moderate current on only a couple of dives.

The dive deck on the Indo Siren is a bit tight. Divers are arranged in a large U around a shaded, raised, central platform. Each diver has a spot for their tank and BCD with a small storage drawer. BCDs and tanks are married on the first day, and the tank is refilled in-place with a whip between dives. Most of the crew hangs out on the platform, filling tanks, offering help with gear or cameras, and so on. Divers suit up at their stations, put their tanks on, and walk down a narrow walkway to get to the RHIBs where fins are already loaded. (A few divers had crew carry their tanks and slipped into their BCDs on the RHIB instead.) Crew will handle cameras if you ask them.

At the end of the dive back on the boat, you just have to get to your station and bungee down your tank--which the crew usually gets to before you have a chance---and peel off your gear for a quick on-the-deck shower. The crew rinses and hangs your wetsuit, returns your booties to your station, and offers something to drink. If you took a camera on the dive, the crew will soak it in a freshwater tank and place it on a mat on the raised platform. Overall the operation is smooth and well-rehearsed, letting you focus on the diving.

Food was abundant, tasty, healthy, and well-prepared: 90% of lunches and dinners had both chicken and fish available, the others were beef and fish. Breakfasts had different menus each day, but there was always an egg station if you wanted fresh-cooked eggs to order. After your diving day, unlimited free local beer is available, with cocktails and wine at extra cost for those who wanted. Snacks and soft drinks were available all day long from open refrigerators; no one walked away hungry or dissatisfied with the food offerings.

The Indo Siren doesn’t introduce you to Indonesian culture. The crew is all local, speak passable English, and are friendly, conversational, and very helpful. If you want, they’ll help you learn a bit of Indonesian and are open about their families and lives. But there’s no real push from the boat, so if you make the trek to Indonesia and want to learn more, you’ll have to schedule additional land time (hopefully not in Jakarta, a huge mega-city, or Bali, a tourist bubble) to discover more about Indonesia.
Websites S/Y Indo Siren   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Asia; Carib; Mexico; Hawaii; Red Sea
Closest Airport Sorong (SOQ) Getting There Flights are often cancelled: use Garuda Indonesia for best chance at making your flight. Be sure to confirm via Internet as soon as you get close to shore!!! Lion/Batik Air has best reputation of the low-cost carriers and goes direct to CGK.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 20-50 Ft/ 6-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No specific restrictions if the dive guides thought you were competent; bad divers were watched and herded carefully. Rare time limits based on boat schedule.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table space is limited, but otherwise cameras and UWPs are well-treated and well-accommodated.
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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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