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Dive Review of World Wide Dive and Sail/Mandarin Siren in

World Wide Dive and Sail/Mandarin Siren, Jul, 2010,

by Mona Cousens, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports). Report 5801.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This is the maiden voyage of the new dive vessel Mandarin Siren.
We picked up the boat in Lembeh and are sailing to Halmahera which is half way between Lembeh and Raja Ampat. We will dive the northern part of the island. Most of Halmahera is undiscovered with the bulk of the diving having been done in the southern part of the island. It is also a quick stopover on the transition cruises of the vessels from Raja Ampat to Lembeh for the change of seasons.
NONE of the crew (save one) has ever been here before so itís ALL exploratory diving.

First, some rants : The cabin is very small. The forward cabins have queen beds which take up the whole forward part. There is very little storage. The head has a boat style shower so you have a curtain to separate the comode and the shower. When you sit on the comode the shower curtain is in your lap.
The salon area is very small. Two small couches which seat two each or three if you are friendly. The eating area is at the back of the boat and only seats 6. There was a problem with ice and not having enough to enjoy a cold drink at cocktail time. There is extremely limited area for photographers. The charging station is not strong enough for the batteries to hold a charge. All the photographers had trouble getting a full dive out of their batteries.

We left Lembeh, ran all night and at 6am reached the island called Tifore. This is halfway between Lembeh and Halmahera. This is true virgin diving and we jumped in around 7:30am . What a nice surprise. We were on a healthy and thriving wall. We were greeted by a Maori Wrasse and schools of jacks & moorish idols. The wall has lots of coral and reef fish: antheas, firefish, longnose and flame hawk, butterflies. Our third dive was off the island of Mayu.

Day two: We are off to Halmahera. The tour director had the brilliant idea to sleep at Mayu overnight and make the 11 hour crossing in the daytime. All of the guests nixed that idea and said it made more since to leave Mayu after the last dive and run all night. This way we did not miss one full day of diving.

We are now off Selatan Island. The first dive was a hard and soft coral pan with a slope to sand. The corals look good but there are not many fish on the reef.
The second dive was a wall with a coral patch on top around 40 feet. The divemaster found a small seahorse and I found a Xeno crab. The wall was pretty and reminded me of Bloody Bay Wall in the 1980ís.

Day four: we did a dawn dive and saw 5 bumpheads. A second dive was over much rubble which gave us mantis shrimp, razorfish, lots nudis and a pygmy seahorse.
The third dive we called smorgasbord as it yielded so many different things. There were pinnacles and we were also close to a wall which ended in a boulder grouping. A massive moray was living there. We saw some trevally and scorpionfish as well.

Day five: The first dive was at a point with huge boulders. If you have been to Panama it looks like that. We saw our first lobsters, some nudis, clown wrasse, golden moray and bamboo shark, but no great fish life in the blue off the point.
Dive two was in black sand in heavy current with no bottom life. We floated over the sand bottom and came up after 15 minutes.
The two afternoon dives were very good. Over hard coral pans of very healthy coral and then a patch of bombed out. Then a patch of great hard coral and then a bomb area. Even with all that there was lots to see here. It is amazing to see just how much damage the dynamite does when you can compare the healthy reef next to the bombed.

Day 6: we motored across from Halmahera to Doi Island.
Our first dive here was at a point and everyone said the same thing: looks like Fiji or Palau. Finally, tons of reef fish and soft corals out and waving.
I wished for a reef hook just to hook off and hang around and watch the fish. Nothing big, just lots of reef fish.
The next two dives were underwater bommies covered in soft corals and so much stuff that you could not put a finger on the wall. Very pretty.

We motored overnight about 4.5 hours and have gone from Doi to Rau Island. The conditions here are slightly rough with some wind chop.
The first dive had about 45 feet of viz. We saw a bumphead in the haze. One octopus in a hole and a slope of rock which was not very interesting.
Second dive also not very interesting. Water green and murky with the same rocky bottom.

We left Rau Island and sailed about 2 hours to a beautiful atoll that looks like Tahiti or the Maldives. We took a dive there and were pleasantly surprised to find one of the most amazing wall dives in the world today. The whole thing was covered with soft corals in every imaginable color. There were huge sea fans. The sponges were amazing. The top of the reef up very shallow had white sand and sometimes it cascaded down the reef to make the corals look like they were covered in snow.
When the crew asked what we wanted to name the site the guests chose names like Eden, Elysian Fields and Cathedral (because if I believed in God this is where I would go to pray).

So, did they decide to stay here and dive in the AM to check out more of the most amazing reef we have seen on the trip, NO !!

We left in the AM and motored three hours to Morotai Island. They thought there was a plane wreck in this one area but after motoring three hours and spending 45 minutes swimming around to look for this wreck, they did not find it. We dove here anyway with the instructions to look out into the depths for the wreck. We did not find it. The reef was only moderately interesting but the topography was dramatic. The next two dives were better. We motored back the way we had come and spent two dives on the tip of the island. The reefs were healthy, viz better and even saw 2 sharks.

At this point we still had two dive days left on our trip. Why they decided to go hang around off of Tobelo the major city off the northern part of Halmahera is beyond me.
There was lots of boat traffic, fishing boats and military vessels as well. One reef off the town was inundated with crown of thorns. I stopped counting at 14.
We did find one reef there which was quite nice but really, we should have stayed out of the busy populated area for two more days.

All of the dive sites were not named so I can't give you specifics. I don't know what dives they kept and which they deleted from the next sailing. I hope they worked out some of the bugs onboard. At various times we had no A/C, no water pressure, no hot water in the cabins and no ICE. They had to figure out where to put our suitcases which were in the hall the first two days of the trip. I did read recently that they are restricting the boat to 6 people instead of eight. This will help with the crowding issue.

One rave is that they include your Nitrox in the price of the trip. Everyone should do that.

I really think this could be a world class dive area if they can get the dive sites figured out and the itinerary to flow better. No dive operator up to this point was diving the northern part of Halmahera and it did have some facets to the diving which is not available anywhere else.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Raja Ampat, Komodo, Sipadan, PNG, Fiji, Layang-Layang, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 83-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-200 Ft/ 15-61 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.. dive your own computer.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is really only room for one or two serious photographers on this vessel. Just not enough work area to accommodate large cameras.
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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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