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Dive Review of Wallacea/Ambai in
Indonesia/Sorong to Maumere Transition C

Wallacea/Ambai, Apr, 2013,

by BRUCE VERSTEEGH, TX, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 6962 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Somewhat mixed emotions about the experience on the Ambai, while overall we had a good experience, there are a few issues that need to be resolved to be a top notch operation. We did a transition cruise from Sorong to Maumere (moving from Raja Ampat to Komodo). The boat is fairly well laid out, and cabins are clean and comfortable. There are nice sitting areas (both covered and in the sun). Nitrox was a very reasonable 50 euro for 2 weeks. The crew was great, and very helpful . Your gear is taken by the crew to the dive boats before each dive, so easy to get on/ off without having to deal with your bc/tank. Once we got in the swing of things, they also would handle camera gear if you wanted (from dunk tank to dive boats). The dive ops ran on schedule (0700, 1100, 1430, 1900), and the native guides were all attentive and good spotters. The Raja Ampat/ Misool area was great diving - while the sites visited in the Banda Sea and Alor area were a little more hit or miss but still good dives on average. The middle portion of the trip also had rough seas (2 to 3 meter waves) on the Banda Sea, which caused us to abort a couple dives and not get much rest those nights. But overall, the diving portion of the experience was very good.

Now for the issues they need to address: There were no towels provided on the dive deck, and only 2 towels per room changed every four days or so. As a result - people drip between dive deck and their cabins, making footing hazardous. I slipped on the stairs leading down to the cabins, and was lucky all I received were bruises. The menu was very repetitive, probably made worse by the length of our cruise (15 nights). Morning and afternoon snacks were boxed cookies/crackers, I prefer fresh fruit. Dinner doesn't start until 2030 (the cruise directors are French - so that is their normal time I guess). There was a definite language barrier - the communication about daily events/changes wasn't very good. We knew it was a French company when we signed up - and they tried to accommodate us, but the interaction was strained at times. Not a show stopper - but American guests will struggle a little to communicate if you don't know French. Luckily there was a German couple and a Brazilian that were multilingual to help us communicate.

So in summary - the Ambai experience was overall positive, especially at the very reasonable price they charge. It is a nice boat, with a good dive op. Just a little better customer service/attention to detail and it would a fabulous value. I would dive with them again - and hopefully they take some of my recommendations to heart.
Websites Wallacea   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia (North Sulawesi, Komodo, Raja Ampat), Fiji, Philippines, Cozumel, Bonaire, Grand Turk, Cayman, Flower Gardens, Fl Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, surge
Water Temp 86-73°F / 30-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-150 Ft/ 6-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 4 dives/day, 60 minute day, 45 minute night. No planned deco dives
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

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 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Dedicated camera room beside dive deck - plenty of power outlets. Desk in each cabin for laptop. Dive guides worked hard to find good subjects. Didn't have separate rinse tank for cameras and masks/etc. One guide per 4 divers on this trip, tons of variety. Numerous Pygmy seahorse encounters, blue ring octopus, mantas on 4 different dives, white tip, woebegong, epaullete sharks, multiple banded sea krait encounters. Adult and juvenile pinate spade fish. Barracuda, tuna, jacks, and bump head wrasse. Every description of tropical fish and coral. Not as much variety of macro subjects as I expected - no black sand dives and surprisingly few nudibranches - but fabulous coral and tons of fish. Very nice dive deck - platform at stern of the boat allowed easy on/off the dive boats. Overall - good setup for photographers. We had 10 guests on this cruise, the camera room would be crowded if 16 divers were on the charter.
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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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