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Dive Review of Serenade/Murex Dive Center, Mando in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

Serenade/Murex Dive Center, Mando, Aug, 2005,

by Edith and John Summey, IL, USA . Report 2110.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving USA (FL, IL, NC, TX, MO, CA, Alaska), Canada(BC, Nanavut), Greenland, Carribbean(Bahamas, Turks&Caicos, Curacau, Bonaire, Belize, Mexico)Pacific(Socorro, CocosIsland , Galapagos, Tahiti, Truk Lagoon, Palau, Yap, Sipadan, Bali, N.Sulawesi, Phuket, Burma, PNG) Australia, Antartica, Mediterranean (Costa Brava, S. France, Corsica, Sardina, Italy), Red Sea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 100 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions per your training and computer
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None 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 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments This boat was not designed with photographers in mind, but the crew made an effort to accomodate our needs and were very helpful in all respects. In spite of the lack of first class facilities, we were comfortable with the situation because they had a good attitude.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We made a boat to boat transfer from the Ocean Rover to the Serenade which was like moving from the Queen Mary to the African Queen. We almost expected to see Humphery Bogart appear at any minute. Serenade had all of the color and atmosphere of another century. It was a step back in time, and even though the boat was built in the 90s, it seemed like it must have been in the 40s. The cabins were air conditioned as advertised, and fortunately for us, we were allowed to keep ours on all day, but no so for all the guests. The others were mostly Australians or British who did not mind the heat. But, we appreciated a cool retreat even though we were right over a vibrating and loud engine that shook us to sleep.
Nevermind, we were tired enough by then after not getting the Nitrox we expected. Our request for Nitrox had not been communicated from our agent to the boat. Though dismayed at first, that turned out not to be such a problem. We managed to eek out hour dives anyway and with more personal attention from the lower ratio of guide-to-guest on this smaller boat, we saw more unique creatures than we had on the Ocean Rover. After all, Murex Dive had been the pioneer of diving in the North Sulawesi region and knew the very best places to dive. In fact, Ocean Rover staff had traveled on Serenade to learn where to go!
This boat was the genuine Indonesian operation and the level of quality was not competitive with the "resort" standard set by Ocean Rover. This boat did not have the luxurious lounge, electronic equipment, photo facilities, or even much room on the dive deck. It made up for those deficiencies in flexibility. The tables used for dining were available for everything else including my computer, the camera, housing, or whatever else needed attention at any time other than meal time.
Even though we covered the same areas of North Sulawesi, we dove on different sites and had an extended experience that enriched what we had gained from the Ocean Rover trip. We topped off these two liveaboard trips with a couple of days at the Murex Dive Center accommodations at Manado prior to our departure. Shore diving or day trips may be had from that facility, but we used the time to dry out before our flight to Bali where we were scheduled to dive on the Komodo Dancer for another 10 days. The Serenade had been a delightful and interesting change of pace.
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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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