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CritterHunter

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Everything posted by CritterHunter

  1. Any help in identifying this 3/4" long fish in 35' of water - No. Sulawesi, Indonesia. Thank you.
  2. I would like to purchase a focus light (turn off/on) that I can mount on my Olympus 5060 camera with a PT-020 housing. I have a Sea & Sea YS 90 Auto strobe and a little Fantasea fill light. Any suggestions on a flashlight-type focusing light to fit on this housing? Thank you, CritterHunter
  3. Yes, Steve Fish, the videographer, was on our trip. In fact I spent so much time with him that first few days after my camera mysteriously lost the strobe bulkhead on the 20 feet trip from the camera table to the dingy. Steve worked very hard trying to figure out a way to plug the lost metal part. By day 3 with Steve's help and a lot of JBWeld I was back in business!
  4. Regarding the anonymity comments, no offense taken. I'm new to forums as of yesterday, but an experienced Asian diver for the past 10 years. The frustration from the trip drove me to enroll in the forum and post this warning. I'm not sure what I need to do to not be 'anomymous', but I started by completing the profile information. The four of us that dive together have had fabulous trips on both liveaboards and to land-based resorts during this past decade; we were stunned how poorly the boat was run and managed. On another note, first dive - first day, my camera was mysteriously damaged between the camera table and the dive tender. We can't prove it, but it was fine 5 minutes before the dive and we believe they knocked it while carrying it to the tender.
  5. We just returned from an 11-day trip to Raja Ampat on Kararu’s recently purchased liveaboard Cheng Ho. This boat was converted from a day trip booze-cruise party boat to a liveaboard in 6 weeks and now replaces the Voyager liveaboard. We originally booked on the Voyager, but it has now been sent to dry dock, and the Cheng Ho is now being used. Please be aware of the following issues: 1) Six guests were given Crew Quarter bunk beds when we had all paid for Deluxe Accommodations. After complaining, Kararu offered nothing but platitudes; 2) This dive boat had 2 dive masters and 1 trip director (who became a 3rd dive master) for 22 divers. The dive master assigned to checking currents had minimal knowledge of reading currents. For 11 days, they dropped all 22 divers on top of each other instead of attempting to spread us out; we were frequently dropped in dangerous down currents and turbulent currents that were avoidable; 3) The boat leaks terribly; 4) Kararu’s pre-departure announcement of the switching of the boats was nothing short of misleading, false and dishonest. I will start with #4: · Kararu’s email announcement of the Cheng Ho said, “The maximum amount of people will be the same as Voyager so that guests will enjoy even more space onboard.†In reality, instead of 18-20 divers booked on the Voyager, they crammed 22 on the Cheng Ho. The Cheng Ho only have 6 deluxe rooms and three staterooms, so the only rooms left were in the back of the boat beyond the “CREW ONLY†sign. That’s where 6 of us were put. As with all liveaboards, the crew quarters are usually separated from guest quarters. So too on Cheng Ho. The crew sat outside our room 24 hours a day eating, sleeping, smoking, talking and playing music. It IS their area and it WAS their sleeping quarters until the management kicked them out and put the 6 guests in their quarters. BTW, we could only take 2 showers in the room in 11 days; water was no more than a trickle. We took cold dive deck showers for 11 days. Half way through the trip, they stated that the RO capacity is 8000 pounds of water a day and that the 22 guests were using 10,000 pounds per day and to STOP USING WATER IF POSSIBLE. · Kararu’s email also stated, “Your original cabin booking remains the same.†Obviously when you only have 6 DELUXE rooms, numerous people are going to be forced into crew quarter bunk beds. We contacted Kararu’s BALI management (Stein) twice requesting acknowledgement of the substandard bunk bed room. Stein’s response was, “We’re sorry you were unhappy.†His response is quite disturbing considering the promises laid forth in the pre-departure email. · Kararu’s email also stated, “Your cabin on Cheng Ho is 3-4 meters larger than on the Voyager.†Our crew-quarter room was 3 meters x 3 meters – total! We visited our friends’ Deluxe room, who paid the same amount as we did (and got one of the 6 deluxe rooms). You could place 2-3 of our rooms in their room!! A word about the leaky Cheng Ho: This would be just an annoyance, except for one aspect. They have a large charging table in the lounge/restaurant area. This table is covered with power strips (mostly 220 volt) for passengers to plug in battery chargers, laptops, etc. Every time it would rain (most every day), they would cover this area with a plastic sheet as the rain began coming through the ceiling. I still shudder to think of all that water running down onto the floor with all that 220 volt equipment around. A final word on the dive operation: In addition to dumping 22 people on top of each other with 2 dive masters and a trip director, be cautious of the dive tender situation. The 3 tenders are quite small with no racks for tanks, BC’s, etc. They cram 10-11 people in each small tender. You must get into your gear on the main boat, and climb into the tender in slippery, sometimes heavy wave, conditions. Once you have finished your dive, you remove your gear in the water, hand it up and everything goes in a big PILE. Needless to say, many of us were having equipment problems, lost equipment, broken pieces, etc. TAKE CARE, OR YOUR GEAR WILL LIKELY BE DAMAGED. ADDITIONAL WARNING: Do not believe their website’s ITINERARY! Day Two says, “Welcome to Kri Island. The reefs in this area are protected by Max Ammer from the Papua Dive Resort. If you would like to add some dive days before the cruise, you can just stay at his resort and join the boat right outside of the lagoon.†NOT! Four of us were denied this and lost two days of diving by having to leave Papua Dive Resort (Sorido Bay) and return to Sorong where we sat for Sunday and Monday. Sure enough, we left Sorong and went straight away to Papua Dive Resort! the Lagoon. You’ve been warned. Critter Hunter
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