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Dive Review of Scuba Seraya Resort in
Indonesia/Tulamben, Bali

Scuba Seraya Resort, Apr, 2010,

by Rickie Sterne, AR, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 5471.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Sea of Cortez, GBR, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, other areas of Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 82 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Come up with air in your tank and any deco obligation completed
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments The dive guide was very helpful in finding subjects. Since we had a private dive guide, there was no pressure to move on if we wanted to take 25 shots of a pygmy seahorse or a section of the wreck (and no other photographers skulking around to shoot the same thing) Since we set the times of our dives ourselves, we could choose the kind of light we wanted. There was a three-bay camera table in a room adjacent to the dive shed, but we kept our cameras in our villa. We used the large desk as a work surface and were able to charge batteries in the villa as well. The boat captain handled our cameras carefully. Since the rides back to the resort were ten minutes or less, we used the large cameras-only rinse tank there. The water was always clean. Both wide-angle and macro subjects abounded.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments As we told friends before we left home, this trip was a holiday with diving rather than a dedicated dive mission. Scuba Seraya, discovered through the Chapbook, was the perfect place to spend such a holiday. Katie at Reef and Rainforest made all the arrangements for us, so the trip was effortless. We appreciate the fact that Katie provides the same great service to just the two of us that she provides to big and important groups like Seacology. The driver from Scuba Seraya came soft upon his hour to pick us up at the hotel in Sanur where we had collapsed after staggering off our twenty-seven hour flight from the US. The drive to the Tulamben area lasted a bit over two hours, but it was a beautiful drive through terraced rice fields and fishing villages. We and a few dozen eggs strapped into the front seat were the only passengers in the late-model, squeaky clean miniSUV.
Scuba Seraya is a fairly small resort (28-30 guests maximum) set right on the beach amid beautifully landscaped grounds. There are two classes of accommodation at Scuba Seraya: garden maisonettes and oceanfront villas. We treated ourselves to an oceanfront villa, and were very glad we did. The villa itself was spacious, with lots of storage. The marble tiled floors were attractive and practical for often not-quite-dry divers. Two walls of French doors let us look out onto the beach and our private courtyard when the privacy curtains were not drawn. The large bed, canopied with unneeded mosquito netting, was comfortable. Good reading lights were attached to bedposts on both sides of the bed. We also had a comfortable settle in the room. The partially outdoor Balinese bathroom was spacious as well. The thick towels were changed whenever we left them on the floor. The villa was cleaned thoroughly each day. The private courtyard was lovely. It featured a covered wet bar area, which we used primarily for our cameras, a settle next the door, a plunge tub with flowers in it on our arrival, and a wonderful Balinese "couch" -sort of a covered double bed where we lounged during surface intervals. The couch had curtains we could drop if we wanted privacy; otherwise, we enjoyed a view of the ocean as we lounged. We fell asleep and awoke again each morning to the sound of waves lapping against the beach. Magical!
We took all our meals in the resort's small open air restaurant. The full American breakfast - fresh fruit or fresh-squeezed fruit juice, a basket of breads, omelet or eggs-to-order, and bacon or sausage - was included in the room rate. The Bali kopi was a treat to those of us who take coffee seriously. We ordered our other meals from a menu. The menu offered plenty of variety for more than a week's worth of meals. Between the two of us, we ordered food from every section of the menu and found it all to be tasty, well presented, and very reasonably priced. The restaurant was open all day if any hungry divers wanted to drop by for snacks. This was not a fast food joint, but the service was quite prompt for individually-prepared meals.
Scuba Seraya offers a small deck with chaise lounges overlooking the ocean, several comfortable outdoor seating areas, and small freshwater pool.
Diving cannot get more personalized than it is at Scuba Seraya. We put our gear into baskets provided, left it in our courtyard, and it reappeared magically in the dive shed soon afterwards. The staff rinsed our gear and stored it inside after our last dive of the day. There were two freshwater showers in the dive shed, and large towels were provided. We were assigned a private dive guide. That's right! Alit escorted just the two of us on our dives. And when he asked where we wanted to dive, he really meant it. We also set the schedule for our diving ourselves. Want to be first on the wreck? 7 am it is! Want a leisurely breakfast before your first dive? How about 0830? We like late afternoon dives and were able to do one every day. Since we were not familiar with the sites around Tulamben, Alit asked us what sort of site we wanted and what we wanted to see, then chose for us (and chose well, I might add) Length of our dives was determined by our own air consumption alone. Most of our dives were well over an hour.
The diving around Tulamben, while not quite as spectacular as the diving around Papua, is quite good, varied, and easy. And Bali is so much more accessible! No inter-island flights with thirty pound weight limits on checked luggage and constantly changing schedules! We were impressed by the variety of diving: the only wreck outside of Truk lagoon we've enjoyed, small walls, reefs, and muck. Tulamben has it all. The Liberty wreck, as many a diver has reported before us, is really a lovely dive. In a single view you get interesting wreck structure, good soft coral and gorgonian cover, and many species of fishes. There we encountered the single largest barracuda we've ever seen anywhere, large groupers, bumphead parrotfish, and a tuna. We also saw smaller beauties like Pomacanthus annularis and Centropygi elbi. On one dive there I counted eighteen species of butterflies. There were a few nudis crawling around the wreck as well. The huge, swirling school of jacks in the shallows above the wreck lured us into safety stop that lasted far beyond five minutes. Tulamben Dropoff must host the second-largest concentration of anemones in the Pacific. A half dozen species of anemonefish skittered around their hosts. We swam past pretty corals at Batu Kelebit and Alam Anda. We saw a good variety of fish and critters during our week of diving. Among others we encountered several ornate ghost pipefish, frogfish in several sizes and hues, numerous leaf scorpionfish, shrimpfish, green razorfish, palette surgeonfish, and a number of juvenile angels. I was bit disappointed the relative scarcity of nudis, but crustacea were very well represented. We saw three gorgeous harlequin shrimp, a pair of Coleman shrimp hitching a ride on a fire urchin, a couple of tiny tiger shrimp, and several wire coral shrimp. We encountered soft coral crabs on most dives and, thanks to Alit's sharp eye and knowledge of habitat, we saw no fewer than three boxer crabs and a fairly large, brilliantly colored anemone crab. The muck diving at Seraya Secrets, the resort's house reef, is not quite up to Lembeh standards, but we saw quite a few cool critters there. Around the artificial reef structure, we saw a large school of batfish getting cleaned most afternoons. The boat dives were done from various small dinghies, some with reentry ladders and one without. The dive staff carried all our gear except our cameras to and from the dinghies. We walked into Seraya Secrets, the house reef, wearing our gear, but the staff cheerfully carried tanks out into the water for divers who requested that service. We did make one mistake. The dives at Tulamben are fairly deep; we frequently found ourselves 0-2 minutes from deco. We should have dove Nitrox, which is readily available at Scuba Seraya and reasonably priced at $3.50 per tank. Rides along the coast of Bali were brief, but we enjoyed seeing Mount Agung and several small temples along the way. Actually, we enjoyed just about everything about Scuba Seraya.
A nod to the poor economy. We spent twelve nights on Bali. While we paid heavily in jet lag, we spent no more money than couples we know who spent a week on St Statia with the local dive shop. We did sixteen dives to their ten, enjoyed a private dive guide rather than being packed into a cattle boat, enjoyed very good dives to their mediocre ones, and stayed in much nicer lodgings.
Were it not for Mr. Davison's ruthless word counter, I could now go on to tell the sad tale of how we were stranded in Singapore by the eruption of the volcano in Iceland.
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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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