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Dive Review of White Manta/Blue Manta in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

White Manta/Blue Manta: "The Big Blue Manta", Feb, 2017,

by Christine Mistler, AZ, US ( 2 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 9493 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Maybe it's because I've never done a liveaboard or been to Raja Ampat before, but the whole experience was, for me, the ultimate in diving.
I think what I'll remember the most about this trip were the otherworldly colors. Never had I seen such a striking array of pastels and jewel tones, in both the flora and the fauna. And, so many fish, so many shapes and sizes. Raja Ampat, I'm told, is famous for its very small creatures, which are weird and wonderful. My problem, with aging eyes, I just couldn't see very much of it! if your vision is lacking, I highly recommend an underwater magnifying glass. I really, really wish I had brought one along. Also, a reef hook, if you don't already have one, but I digress. Our dive guide was very good about finding and pointing out tiny stuff like the pea sized seahorses and pygmy squid but my favorite part was when he was trying to show me another microbe that I couldn't quite discern when I noticed him look up and his eyes got huge as they fixated on *something* out in the open water. Turned out a whale shark was leisurely passing us by and was only about 10 to 15 feet away. I just about blew through my whole tank, I was so excited to see this. On another occasion, I found a brilliant scarlet, green and black nudibranch that I got so excited about I flagged over the nearest DM to show it off. His eyes also got huge when he saw something but it wasn't my nudi that impressed him. Floating right next to it was something I thought was just a leaf but it turned out to be (I think) a robust pipefish. Diving in Raja Ampat was full of such surprises.
One night dive lead us into a grand, underwater cathedral that took my breath away, on another dive, we encountered a number of majestic oceanic mantas that swept in circles above us. There were schools of fish that looked like entire lakes and walls underwater, they were so shimmering and dense. There were cuttlefish of all sizes and a huge octopus that really put on a show, prancing around on its tentacles and flashing us like a disco ball with all manner of color and camouflage. I counted seven species of shark on the various dives inc. lots of wobogogs, black tips and a walking shark.
On the trip, the sky was often overcast but there was little wind or rain and it always felt warm. I was fine in a skin and 3 ml for night dives.
The boat, Blue Manta, and its crew were excellent. We dove in small groups of four and the DM (ours, anyway) gave us plenty of space but was also watchful and alert. I felt very safe but also respected as a diver of some experience and judgement of my own. Perfect combo.
As luck would have it, I got hit with a nasty respiratory bug, an ear infection and seasickness, all on this trip. The fact that I still had a great time says a lot for the Blue Manta. They had some remedies on board that helped save the trip, also lots of steaming hot ginger tea.
The food was very good, especially when the Blue Manta was able to obtain fresh fish from local, sustanance fisherman along the way. The cabins were cozy and clean, the air conditioners always working, the showers hot. The dive deck was huge with a neat row of showers waiting for us after the dives. The crew wisked away our gear and always had it clean, ready and waiting at our individual stations for the next dive. The boat, itself, is very wide and provides a lot of room, there is a gigantic sun deck with a number of queen beds and deck chairs atop. If you are freaked out by the thought of too much close proximity to strangers on a live aboard, you might enjoy the Blue Manta, she looks like a blue whale next to the graceful Phinisis but so roomy. It was the ultimate anti-cattle boat experience and pure bliss.
One thing I noticed was the crew and staff were all male. Not sure if it's fair to gripe about this, since they obviously had a great thing going, but deserves a mention. Another thing, the wi-fi happened to be "down" the week we were there. This did not effect me at all, if anything, it made the trip better, but some of the passengers received quite a jolt from that reveal. And, this has nothing to do with the Blue Manta, of course, but there was a disturbing amount of plastic trash floating around in the waters of Raja Ampat. We were told there had been heavy rains right before we arrived which had caused the garbage to be swept down into the ocean from the hillsides and city streets of the islands. Garbage control on land was clearly not a priority. Indeed, Sorong appeared quite swampy and washed out the day we arrived.
All in all, this was a superior, superior dive experience and I'm already plotting out ways I can return, even though I'm completely cash strapped after this trip. It was worth it.
Websites White Manta   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Sea of Cortez (San Carlos, La Paz), Hawaii, Little Cayman, Bonaire, Belize, Fiji, Cozumel, Honduras, Mozambique
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There via Singapore or Bali to Manado then Sorong. Allow 2-3 days travel time from U.S.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions small groups of 3 to 4 divers and leader. dives all generally about 1 hour, 60 ft average. four dives offered per day inc. daily dusk or night dive
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 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 N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I have a simple camera so I can't judge but it appeared the many photog's on board were very happy. Everyone had own rinse tank and photo room looked huge with many individual stations and outlets.
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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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