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Dive-Damai Raja Ampat trip report


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#1 underwatercolours

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 08:47 PM

I'm just back from a two-week trip around Raja Ampat aboard the live-aboard Dive-Damai. I'm still working on the Bali portion of the report, but since I'm headed out on another trip soon I may never finish that part. Definitely one of the nicest live-aboards I've been on.

I'll warn you now, this is long with a lot of pictures. I typically write my trip reports with tons of detail to hopefully answer the questions of anyone thinking about diving in the area or getting on this boat. So grab your iPad and make yourself comfortable.

I hope you enjoy it!
Diving Raja Ampat Trip Report - Dive Damai, December 2010

Bonnie

#2 ornate_wrasse

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:01 PM

Fantastic Bonnie! It was great to read your entertaining report and see all of the images. Glad you didn't meet an untimely end to your life after your run-in with the blue ringed octopus :P
Too bad Andrea had to pay out big bucks to the immigration thieves :)

Sounds like you had some wonderful underwater adventures.

Thanks for the report!

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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:02 PM

Astoundingly well done Bonnie. Thanks for sharing your stories and images here. The blue ring story is priceless.

Cheers,
Steve

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#4 Kevster

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:39 PM

Great trip report.

Not sure what was more shocking.
The blue ring incident or the $27 cocktail!
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#5 MikeVeitch

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:58 AM

I hear the cruise director on that boat is a real piece of work! :P
Nice to meet you in sorong, maybe on the boat next time :)

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#6 underwatercolours

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:22 AM

Thanks all!

I hear the cruise director on that boat is a real piece of work! :P
Nice to meet you in sorong, maybe on the boat next time :)


Great to meet you too! Sorry we didn't have more time. I've got Damai chartered for a Komodo, Alor, West Timor trip in 2012, so I hope you're on board next time.

#7 stewsmith

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:06 AM

What a great read.

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#8 focker

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:47 AM

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this and posting it! Wonderful stuff :P
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#9 Mamel

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:40 PM

wow, i enjoy the detail story and great pictures. the BRO parts is really unforgettable experience - if I'm, my legs would getting warm :)

#10 kathymm

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:20 PM

Bonnie,

Randy and I have two questions.
1. How did you manage to get everything into one check-in and two carry-ons?
2. Did you check how much it would cost to go swimming in the pool on the top of those three buildings that are connected at the top? Randy wants to know...I will not be seen up there unless really drunk or drugged. ;-)

BTW...We loved the Singapore at night photos!

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#11 underwatercolours

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:56 PM

Bonnie,

Randy and I have two questions.
1. How did you manage to get everything into one check-in and two carry-ons?
2. Did you check how much it would cost to go swimming in the pool on the top of those three buildings that are connected at the top? Randy wants to know...I will not be seen up there unless really drunk or drugged. ;-)

BTW...We loved the Singapore at night photos!

Kathy


Thanks Kathy!

The domestic airlines really nail passengers for the smallest amount of baggage, so Dive-Damai has dive gear on board that guests can use for free. I was VERY reluctant, but decided to leave my beloved BCD and fins at home. It worked out well in spite of my stubborn affection for my own gear. The rest of my gear is lightweight Atomic Aquatics with MyFlex hoses, so it folds up small and doesn't weight that much. They also do laundry on board for free. So I didn't need to bring a lot of clothes. All my camera gear, lenses, and my housing fit into my very heavy hard-sided rolling backpack, which I carried on. The rest went into a duffel. That duffel went into another duffel because I knew we'd be shopping in Bali afterward. Highly recommend this if you like to shop. Cargo companies are expensive. I was a bit over weight, but we did a group check-in on some of the segments. Seriously, we got lucky too!

Damai also has a full Sea & Sea DSLR with Nikon on board for customers to use in the event of a problem, so I only brought one housing + one DP&S in a housing.

We didn't swim at the Marina Sands Hotel. It was 3:30 a.m. and they wouldn't let us go up there. Next time I'll stay longer. That place is amazing. You gotta do it! We had a blast running around Singapore at night. It was the perfect night for it, but we never did find an open Starbucks!

Kathy, I know of this waterfall in Africa where you can swim right at the top edge, 100 meters from the bottom. We gotta do that some day!

#12 tdpriest

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 06:59 AM

Great trip, great report, cool shots. Thanks!

Tim

:)

#13 SOX404

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:13 AM

Fantastic shots! Thanks for sharing.

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#14 sasdasdaf

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:42 AM

What a great report! Thanks for all the detail and great pictures. I'm amazed by the diversity of the life you photographed.

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#15 dubstar

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:46 PM

Great read and good photos.

PS. If you ever do get bitten by a blue ring, someone just needs to keep up CPR until you can be hooked to an artificial ventilator. The venom wears off after 24hours without further effects.... (Useless trivia #102)

#16 scorpio_fish

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:09 AM

Very nice report.

A very minor correction. I believe you are incorrect about Express Air using a 727. They do not have ancient 727-200's. They have ancient 737-200's.

One started life in 1990 with United and was acquired by Express Air from a Nigerian Airline. (Insert Nigerian scam joke)

The other newer unit began life in 1991 as a cargo plane. It was last used by the defunct Sterling Airlines of Denmark before being acquired by Express Air.

It looks like you were on the roomy one. One of them seemed to have about 70+ rows on it, like it was designed to only carry double leg amputees. That allowed each person about 18 cubic inches of overhead space. The other was normal-cramped.
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#17 Drew

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 10:20 PM

Ok George, you scare me now! :D How the hell did you find out the history of the planes? The VIN #? I thought those were scraped off! :(

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#18 Vaschela

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 01:45 AM

Remind me to never start an optimistic thread again.



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#19 underwatercolours

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:11 PM

Yes, scorpio_fish, you are correct. That's a typo. By the way, do you have a brother named "Al" in Seattle? :) I had decided to include the plane info with tongue-in-cheek. We had a guy on the trip who 'educated us' about every detail of every plane at every airport we came into or out of. With all that training I can't believe I still got it wrong. All kidding aside, it's good to know details if you're planning domestic flights around Indonesia.

#20 xariatay

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:52 PM

Beautiful report & photos! Love the nudibranch at #369, it looks like a dancer!

Bonnie,

Randy and I have two questions.
1. How did you manage to get everything into one check-in and two carry-ons?
2. Did you check how much it would cost to go swimming in the pool on the top of those three buildings that are connected at the top? Randy wants to know...I will not be seen up there unless really drunk or drugged. ;-)

BTW...We loved the Singapore at night photos!

Kathy



#2. Swimming at the pool is for the hotel's guests only. Visitors can go to the Sands SkyPark Or Enjoy the dining or club experience... MBS KDT
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