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Dive Review of Sorido Bay Resort in

Sorido Bay Resort, May, 2006,

by Fred Turoff, PA, USA (Top Contributor Top Contributor 30 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 2554.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Sorido Bay Resort, Kri Island, Papua, Indonesia

Sorido Bay Resort is being finished as this report is being written, but enough was done to show that it is a superior destination. The reefs are as healthy as any I’ve seen, the sea life is plentiful, the staff helpful and the location beautiful. This is the most remote site I’ve visited. Travel there from the US, due to layovers between planes, takes 2-3 days. Papua is the eastern end of Indonesia, with Sorong as the main airport. A half-hour van trip and a two-hour boat ride west brings you to both Sorido Bay Resort and Kri Eco resort, built and run by Dutchman Max Ammer and partners, with plenty of vision. Small Kri Island has these two resorts on it and nothing else – no roads, no bikepaths either.

Perhaps back in 1992, Max had been diving this area and decided to build Kri Eco, which is Papuan-style bungalows built over the water, with shower and toilet facilities reachable on the mainland via wooden bridges to each room on the mainland. His current project, Sorido Bay, has bungalows on the beach, each of which contains shower and toilet facilities. Each room has table areas for cameras and both 110 and 220v receptacles. Both resorts have a main building with a dining area. Watching Sorido Bay’s facilities being constructed out of native hardwoods with a woodshop on premises kept my traveling companion, who is a custom home contractor, engrossed by the workmanship. Underway as we left were the balance of bungalows, a camera center and an expanded main building complex. Diving is done from the end of a long jetty, where most dive gear is kept and boats can pull in no matter what level the tide is – I noted about a 5-foot swing in tide levels.

Diving is done on adjacent reefs or to a number of local islands. Our farthest trips took perhaps 45 minutes, where we did two dives and visited a village between dives. Local dives could be either drop in on the house reef or within a few minutes of travel. Night dives were most often done on the Kri Eco jetty, which had plenty of life.

If there is a pygmy seahorse population center, this may well be that place. There are three and perhaps five species here, and our dive guides found them on perhaps two out of three dive sites. One particular coral head we visited on a twilight dive had at least 10. at the other end of the dive spectrum, there are several sites (the longer boat trips) where mantas are known to congregate. On four dives we had 2-3 mantas visit us and either circle us or constantly return for perhaps 15 minutes. On another voyage in a passage cutting through a larger island, we were surprised to find two mantas, one white and one black, pass us and slow down for inspection.

The water clarity was the one disappointment, as the seas contained much plankton. So backscatter was a photo problem and lowered visibility hindered us occasionally. I recorded estimates of 100 down to 12 feet of vis, with the average perhaps 60. Currents occasionally took us on unexpected adventures, but most diving was in slow current or relative calm. Being thin, I used a 3mm full-suit with a 3 mm hooded vest for all dives for comfort in the 81-83 degree F water.

Animal life was so plentiful. On the house reef, a biologist counted 283 species of fish on one dive. In the David Doubilet book that he signed (as he was there recently doing an article for National Geographic) he stated the reefs were the healthiest on the planet. I saw: wobbegon sharks on at least five dives; a few other sharks; mantis shrimp; cuttlefish; a few ghost pipefish; plenty of nudibranchs and flatworms; schools of jacks, yellowtails and sweetlips; bumphead parrotfish, mantas, pipefish; lionfish; turtles; a variety of crabs and shrimp, lots of anemonefish; large lobster; two huge (4’) tridachna clams with many smaller versions, and healthy corals galore.

Although dive times are scheduled, Max and crew will adjust times upon request. Several optional dive trips are available with additional charge due to fuel use, such as to the Passage, a three dive trip with lunch. Fresh fruit and baked goods followed each dive, with delicious freshly-made juices at the dock. Usually, four dives per day are scheduled, but more can be added. Exotic birdcalls, not too much insect noise and enthralling sunrises will please your senses. The food was a bit spicy for me, as I generally avoid peppery dishes. Both meat and chicken were done more than I like, but Max explained that was the style to avoid food bacteria or parasites. Fish was fresh and tasty. I was able to find enough in the several offerings each family-style meal to keep myself well fed. The staff members did all they could to make the stay as effortless as possible, even offering to carry your camera each way between your bungalow and the boat at the jetty’s end. If you play an instrument (guitar or piano, which are available) you’ll be able to join in the impromptu staff musical nights as a performer rather than just a listener.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Northeast US; Caribbean - US & BVI, Saba, St Lucia, Martinique, Bonaire; Eastern Pacific - Costa Rica, Coco Island, Galapagos, Sea of Cortez, Revillagigedos; Western Pacific - Belau, Yap, Fiji, Malaysia, PNG, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 81-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 6
Water Visibility 12-100 Ft/ 4-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions About 1 hour per dive, but could vary
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Cameras were kept in bungalows in which we slept, where camera tables were available, but rinsed initially where boats docked at end of jetty. Staff often volunteered to carry my camera to and from jetty. Once camera center is completed at foot of jetty, this may change.
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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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