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Dive Review of Sorido Bay Resort in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Sorido Bay Resort, May, 2009,

by Fred Turoff, PA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 5018.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving BVI, USVI, Saba, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Costa Rica, Coco Island, Revillagigedos, Sea of Cortez, Palau, Yap, Red Sea, Sipadan, PNG, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 83 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions suggested time limit but guide stayed with us until we were ready to finish. sport dive depth limit was mentioned, but my deepest dive was to 86 feet.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse tanks on jetty where boats docked. Cameras kept in rooms, where charging stations, table and shelves offer work and storage space. Staff offered to carry cameras, but I use this as exercise. On boats, cameras protected and handled well but no rinse tank. A room on the land-end of the jetty may become a camera room.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I visited Sorido three years ago while it was partly under construction. With most of the building now completed, the resort is a beautiful place to visit, with native hardwoods used in the buildings and walkways, spacious bungalows with toilets and showers ensuite, plus plenty of lounging and office space. I noticed an improved selection and variety of food items for each meal from three years back. Fresh fruit and pastries were always available in the lounge area along with a variety of drinks. Owner Max Ammer was present much of the time (and full of stories), but also watched over his other nearby resort on the small island, Kri Eco. Leon and Claudia Pellarini Joubert (bittenbysharks.com) ran the dive and photo operations smoothly. We did two morning dives and one afternoon dive each day, with optional night dives when requested. After each dive, when we returned to the resort, we were met with freshly made fruit smoothies.

The house reef, Cape Kri, is known for its prolific fish life, and offered a chance to see mandarinfish court during dusk hours by the dive jetty. A school of spadefish calls the jetty home, allowing photographers an excellent backdrop for schooling spadefish photos. This area is known for at least four species of pygmy seahorses, and I was able to photograph all four. Dive guide Dolphinus was amazing in his ability to find these tiny creatures. In addition to lots of small creatures, these pristine reefs feature an extremely large amount of fish life. Our one disappointment was a visit to Manta Point, where no mantas showed, so we headed to a relatively recently discovered reef where it seemed millions of baitfish swarmed and tried to avoid the predatory jacks hunting them. Wobbegon sharks were spotted on many dives, often hiding in niches filled with glassy sweepers. Nearby, schools of sweetlips crowded together to face the current and provide interesting portraits. A tridachna larger than me highlighted one site where current kept us tied to the reef while the fish stayed in place effortlessly. Schools of bumphead parrotfish cruised by on occasion, sometimes allowing a close approach. Four mobula rays passed overhead in formation on our first day. Sharks of several species passed us during a few dives, cruising the walls. Healthy corals abound. Nudibranchs, shrimp, cuttlefish, octopi and Napoleon wrasse were often spotted. A clown triggerfish was being cleaned by several shrimp, while a piece of crinoid remained stuck to its cheek. Barracuda schools passed nearby while ghost pipefish tried to melt into the background. On a night dive I found two species of octopi that I hadnt seen before, a slender filefish colored green like the plants it hid in and a juvenile stonefish, looking like a black fuzzy rock. During a surface interval spent at a local village, we snorkeled around its jetty and found a fish soup made up of several species of silvery fish numbering beyond our ability to count. These schools looked like a wavy bottom that constantly changed shape.

With the sun, earth and moon in alignment during our stay, the tidal swings were large, exposing many corals at low tide and making me wonder how they kept alive while baking in the sun. For most of our visit, the weather was sunny and warm, but plenty of shaded areas helped keep sunburn away. Boats also were shaded. The majority of dive sites were within 15 minutes, although a few, like Manta Point, required a longer trip. With water temp hovering around 84 F, all were comfortable. (Being thin, I wear a wet suit and hooded vest as I get cold easily.) Since no diving is done on Saturday, a trip to a nearby village and a hike through the jungle to seek the red bird of paradise is an option. We also visited an area called The Passage where rock islands like Palau create many secluded lagoons and offer climbing opportunities for adventurous souls. Seeing these mounds of old coral made me wonder when they were undersea or when the seabed lifted, turning coral heads into islands.

The week I was there we had 10 guests, all of whom spoke English. Countries represented were Belgium, US, Indonesia, Germany, while Max is originally Dutch, Leon is South African and Claudia is Italian. All workers were either locals or from other parts of Indonesia. Max recently obtained a small seaplane, which he flew several times while we were there, once on an unsuccessful attempt to direct us to dugongs with which we hoped to snorkel.

Although there were occasional currents that made diving and photography a challenge, for the most part the warm water, visibility and prolific life made each dive a wonderful experience. Ill return again in the future, hopefully with some friends who have yet to see the wonders of Raja Ampat, a part of the world that every diver should visit. Due to plane schedules, it took me three days to get there from the east US. Coming home I spent a day in Bali to relax before the 30-hour trip home from Denpasar. Dont let the travel time to and from worry you its worth it.
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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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