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Dive Review of Seven Seas in
Indonesia/South of Flores

Seven Seas: "Flores to Alor: Perfect diving!", Sep, 2016,

by Diane, CA, US ( 2 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9497 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments [None]
East of Flores dive trip on the Seven Seas dive boat, September 2016


Boarded the Seven Seas with 7 other divers, and a crew of about 20. The boat is very good, not the fanciest, or the most luxurious we have ever been on, but much more than adequate. The whole trip was fantastic. The dive deck set up could be improved in some ways, but the skiffs are staged, so not everyone was there all at once. All diving was off the skiffs. No warm showers on the dive deck (wan).

Our room, one of the larger ones, I think, was small (about 10' X 12') and minimal, but okay. The bed was at least 3-1/2 feet off the floor, accessible only from one side and the foot. There was a small stool/bench to use to get into bed. That meant that if the person on the "wall side" got up he (in our case) had to crawl over the other (me) to get out of bed and back in again. So everybody was awakened. The teensy bathroom was not air conditioned and was open to the outside through vents. So the bathroom was always quite hot. Since the shower was in the same very small space, with no separate enclosure or curtain, the bathroom was very wet all the time. Think puddles on the floor. I came to appreciate it, since I am usually cold after diving, and appreciated the "heated bathroom" when I showered after a dive. But getting up at night and walking into puddles of water was very yucky indeed. I began wearing Sherm's closed toe shoes into the bathroom at night, and rolling up my pajama bottoms so they didn't get wet.

The skiffs do not have sun protection, and you get in fully geared up, then sit in the sun, wearing wetsuits, hoods, gloves and tanks until everyone is loaded and ready to backroll into the ocean. Fortunately, no skiff journey was over 10 minutes. My shoulder problems made gearing up with a tank painful, and the crew went out of their way to assist me in getting my tank on and ready for the backroll into the ocean.

On the first day, we saw a lot of Orangutan crabs hiding in bubble coral, clown triggerfish, a large shark, a huge turtle, lots of schools of fish, and very healthy reefs. The area is in very, very good shape, but there is a fair amount of trash floating around in some places near humanity.

The second day of diving was even better, with healthy, perfect, colorful reefs and huge schools of fish.

The third day was completely spectacular, on a par with the best diving we have had anywhere. Everything was covered in the most intense colors of sponge and coral; orange, vibrant greens, deep burgundy red, bright yellow, black and white. Huge barrel and other sponges, some the size of houses, sea fans as big as cars, bright blue starfish, clouds of fish, all vibrant with color. The reefs here are fantastic.

Also on the third day, we dove one of the most gorgeous sites in this area, Rainbow Reef. The colors and life are equal to anyplace we have ever dove, and completely pristine and unspoiled. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Our mission was to see a mola mola (sunfish) but no luck.

On the second dive at Rainbow Reef, we experienced an E Ticket ride: all the divers got caught in extremely strong down currents on the wall, necessitating everyone literally clinging to and climbing up the wall, hand over hand, against the very powerful down current, by holding on to rocks and hard corals. From a distance, we must have looked like insignificant creatures battling the forces of nature....which we were. Luckily, it was early in the dive, and we had lots of air. I was wearing gloves because I have had this type of experience before, and am a very cautious diver, but Sherm had none, until, thankfully, one of the dive masters, seeing him struggle, gave him one of his. I was concerned about him, and knew he also had his camera to deal with. No gloves meant stings from hydroids and fire coral, as well as coral cuts, that can be nasty. He was behind me in the current, along with several other divers. The current never stopped, necessitating clinging to the reef as we made our way along it, until we had to let go of the high reef where we did our safety stop, to go to the boat. Not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

The fourth day, the diving improved, if that is possible. The reefs in the area of the Alcatraz dive site are simply beyond belief. Vibrant colors, perfect condition, everything in exuberant good health. It is a diver's paradise, even better than Raja Ampat, which is currently the "gold standard" of reef diving. (We hear Raja will have 50 dive boats operating next year. 50! It will be ruined soon.).

At the Alcatraz site, there is a "forest" of tall (maybe 6" high) soft, black coral that looks for all the world like a forest of black trees, with substantial trunks (maybe 6-8" diameter) and branch-like structures. These corals look exactly like trees. It is ethereal and surrealistic. It is difficult to describe how gorgeous this area is. When we were not diving, we watched eagles fishing. The beaches are exceptional, beautiful white or black sand, completely uninhabited. Rugged terrain, backed by volcanos that sport vertical stripes due to old lava flows down their sides, which makes the area even more breathtaking. The water temperature is cold, with occasional warm spots, making the dives interesting from a comfort standpoint. The weather is so hot, you are grateful to get into the ocean. Than you hit a thermocline that is 20 degrees warmer. Then icy. Then hot. Then icy. The currents are unpredictable and can be extremely strong, often changing direction during the course of a dive. There are so many fish it is indescribable. Vast schools of Moorish Idols, literally millions of vibrantly colored reef fish of every description, including millions of chroma. Soft corals in candy colors, and huge, dramatically sculptural sponges and hard corals. Some of the table corals were 20 feet across. And everything was alive with communities of crabs, brittle starfish, gobis, nudibranchs, tiny shrimp, and squat lobsters hiding in the millions of varicolored Crinoids. Wire coral and gigantic fans were everywhere, along with huge stands of delicate, fern like corals, waving softly in the current. Absolutely spectacular.

Day five: A completely different underwater environment. Black sand, very volcanic area, with steam rising from the rocks near the shore. Muck diving! Not a lot of corals, but what was there was was highly occupied. All over the bottom there were mimic octopuses, wonderpusses, one ringed octopuses, mantis shrimp, pipefish, jeweled urchins, box crabs, hairy crabs, sand divers, sea horses, juvenile lion fish hiding in anemones, and tons more. There was, literally, an octopus every five feet! Very easy dive. Shallow water (60 feet). Chilly, but very warm at the surface.

Day six: we dove the most incredible site, "Anemone Gardens." The bottom was completely covered with anemone of various species, in every conceivable color: red, orange, yellow, green, sapphire blue, purple, black, white, black and white, translucent, grey, and every possible combination of colors. Many places we dive have "carpet anemones" which are about a square meter in size, rather than the relatively small, round anemones we see in California or the Caribbean. Here, the anemones are the size of area rugs, and sometimes wall to wall carpet. They covered every square inch in almost all areas of this very large site, including the rocks. There was only one type of clown (anemone) fish at the site, and there were not enough of them to go around. Many, many anemones were "clownfishless," poor things. No porcelain crabs, no shrimp, either. Just a spectacular display of stunningly beautiful anemones. Everywhere. It is a must see site for anyone who dives here. But the water was quite cold; I wore both a wet suit and a hooded vest, as well as gloves, and was still cold. There was both current and surge, but the site is worth the effort.

Our second dive was equally splendid. Every conceivable type of soft coral and sponge, many we had never seen before (and we have booked over 3000 dives each). Every color you can imagine. Huge specimens! Many were out feeding, creating an even more rich display. It is difficult to convey how truly remarkable these sites are. Plus, there was some hard coral and schools of fish. As an added plus, the water on this site was warm.

Today we saw two whales, but unfortunately we were not in the water: one was off the skiff on the way to the first dive, and the other during the cocktail hour from the big boat. The crew said they were migrating blue whales. The crew saw a Marlin while we were down.

In the afternoon we did some muck diving, and saw octopuses, mantis shrimps, blue ribbon eels, gorgeous hydroids and anemones, golden eels, and banded shrimp. At one coral head there was fresh water intrusion. It was so cold I could not tolerate it, and had to swim away to warmer water. When fresh water interfaces with salt water, there is a shimmer as the two meet, which you can see underwater. Sometimes the fresh water is warmer, but this time it was terribly, even painfully cold. A large school of juvenile salt water catfish also lived there, all nestled into a space at the bottom. Very cool day.

Day 7. Just another day in diver paradise. Celacela Ledge. Beautiful wall and reef, mandarin fish, sea snakes, eagle rays, other assorted miracles. Big thermoclines.

On the night dive tonight the locals threw rocks as the divers surfaced. We are leaving.

Day 8: First dive was yet another perfect reef and wall. Saw leaf scorpion fish, razor fish, blue ribbon eels, large schools, beautiful coral in perfect shape, nudibranchs and their rosette eggs. Watched spinner dolphins off the boat during second breakfast. The two other dives were equally great, and included a sea snake, Mandarin fish, razor fish, and literally thousands of other fish in massive schools.

The only glitch in the 8th day was that the crew forgot to fill my tank, which I discovered as I was getting ready in the skiff at the dive site. That mistake has only happened twice in 39 years of diving. Last time I was in 110 feet of water in high seas in Honduras when I found out. I decided then that that would not happen again, and I was pleased to catch it this time. I was especially pleased (and grateful) when we back rolled in and found ourselves no where near the wall or the reef, with a long swim in blue water (deep water in which all you can see is blue, no reference points) to get to the dive site. Would have been supremely unnerving with no air...

We had Dolphins, including some spinners, all around the boat at the cocktail hour. Very cool.

Day 9: beautiful wall followed by gorgeous reef. Saw gigantic bump headed parrot fish, thousands of fusiliers, dozens of schools of other fish, usual assortment of miracles. We dove VERY close (a few hundred feet away) to an active volcano, with an ash tail extending maybe 200 yards across, from the caldera several hundred feet down to the water. Lots of steam. Water was very warm. An hour later, when we came up, the volcano was a lot more active, and a new vent had opened up. Things are lively in the Ring of Fire! Volcanos smell bad.

Day 10: last full dive day. We dove a site called Cardinal, a shallow dive site known for pajama cardinal fish. Saw octopus, pipefish, razor fish, coronet fish. No current at all, warm water. The closer we get to civilization the worse the diving, but it's still very, very good. Also dove Playground and another shallow site nearby. All were wonderful. We saw ghost pipefish, long nosed pipefish, rays, the largest mantis shrimp ever, and the usual humongous schools of fabulously colored fish. Great last full day of diving.

Day 11: last dive of the trip was almost as good as the rest: turtles, Sharks, schools of fish, including a school of gigantic grey French Angelfish. Rest of the day at leisure, meaning "washing gear". Bali tomorrow!

Personal reflections: The diving south of Flores is truly exceptional: as good or, in some ways and on some dives, better than anywhere else we have been. While the boat is not perfect, it is very good, and no boat is perfect. We have been on many, many, and some were fancier, but had other issues (like failure of air conditioning in the Maldives). The owner was on board, and is a very nice, interesting and knowledgeable guy. The crew is great, and so is the permanent dive staff. The food has been very good generally, and especially for a dive boat, but Sherm has not been happy because there are too many vegetables and too much lamb. Sigh. I guess we need to communicate his food fetishes better.

We are glad we went, and we will do it again this fall!





Websites Seven Seas   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving California, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Maldives, Truc, Yap, Palau, Thailand, all over Indonesia
Closest Airport Maumere Getting There Get to Bali,fly to Marmere

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 68-84°F / 20-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-150 Ft/ 15-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions An hour, generally
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 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]
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Gregory S Bruce in WA, US at Mar 04, 2017 19:26 EST  
Great dive trip report! Thanks for all of the detail.
By report author: Diane in CA, US at Mar 04, 2017 19:47 EST  
Thanks! Going back this fall. Off to Lemberg soon.
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