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anthp

Kri Island, Papua Diving

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OK folks! :)

 

My girlfriend and I are dreaming of a trip during October this year. We are trying to narrow down a location...

 

We surfed over to Kri Eco Resort's webpage and found that respected boffins rate it very highly. Some guy called Eric appears to have already been there. :) It sure sounds pretty damned nice with extraordinary species diversity and interesting diving.

 

Hoping to get some feedback from people who have been recently. The website is a bit outdated. Robert (frogfish) any chance you are going to be around? It sounds like this place is pretty good any time of year. What should we watch out for?

 

We are prepared to be swayed in other directions/locations, but I guess I'm just looking for affirmation of our current choice. We are thinking one week at Kri Resort, maybe one week in Bali and my girlfriend (Michaela) would like one week with Orang Utans (possibly says something about her choice in boys? :D ) - any suggestions here would also be appreciated.

 

I'm not really keen to do a liveaboard in Aus because costs seem similar to a trip to more exotic locales in SE Asia and we adore that part of the world.

 

As much as we would love to, there is no way we can afford a liveaboard anywhere actually (unless someone knows of a cheap one), but we are looking for some good photo opportunities for both macro and wide angle. I'm hanging to dive in viz longer than 5 m. Blue water would also make a nice change. It would also be pleasant to have a change from the freezing cold water we're used to (Southern Australia). Do I ask too much?

 

And Mike - before you ask why we aren't coming to visit you - flights are just too damned exe to get to Yap. Maybe when we are rich, or when you come back to Melb... :D

 

Wags - can we take a rain cheque? Hope Kelly got some good stuff on her shopping spree. :)

 

Todd Mintz - where did you take those incredible soft coral below mangrove shots??

 

Thanks y'all.

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Stayed with Papua Diving Kri Eco Resort in Aug '04. Very basic accommodations, huts built on stilts over the water, separate toilet/shower facilities, local type meals. Great experience if you don't mind roughing it a bit. Excellent diving, currents (sometimes very strong), lots of marine species, more current. Max used to keep the web page pretty current - make sure the place is still open. Strange things happen in Papua sometimes. He was building a really nice resort about 1km down island when I was there.

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Thanks Jim,

 

Appreciate the feedback. So there is some current that can make photography a bit difficult? You got some great shots when you were there! Well done.

 

The roughing it part we are used to (being on a budget will do that :D)

 

I'll email them and see if they are still going. Anyone been there lately?

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Thanks Anthony. If you dive with Max go to the Fam Island Group (about 2 hrs west of the resort). A bit of a boat ride, extra cost, but well worth the diving & topside scenery.

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Recommendations appreciated Jim. Will certinaly keep that in mind.

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I can say you will love Raja Amphat. I spent my 17 days on a LA so I can't really comment on Kri.

 

The diving is diverse and no matter how much time you spend you will want to spend more. You are right in that Robert would be the best to comment. He has had multiple trips to the area and certainly is a wealth of information.

 

Cheers

 

Todd

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Just around the Kri Island resort there are luxury accomodations, if you're into that. I'm not sure what the actual resort is being called, but it should be easy enough to find out...

 

http://echeng.com/travel/rajahampat2004/papuadiving/

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Luxury is good, but probablly a bit beyond the budget I'm afraid. Thanks for the heads up anyway.

 

John - you got some brilliant shots there. Love your jack hunting in front of the soft corals. Just read your article and your recommend a reef hook - sounds like currents are pretty strong there as Jim (jcclink) found.

 

And you mentioned tagging a trip to North Sulawesi - is Bunaken currenty too?

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Bunaken can have strong currents.

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Had Dinner at Sorido Bay Resort with Max and Larry Tackett on Monday evening.

 

The new resort is progressing with nitrox having just been added to the operation.

 

Business as usual for Kri Eco Resort.

post-2339-1152716393_thumb.jpg

post-2339-1152716418_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Pete,

 

I'm guessing Sorido on the LHS and Kri on the RHS?

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Anthony,

 

Thanks for the message to my mailbox, and apologies for not chiming in on this thread earlier - I just got back from a week in Komodo a few hours ago. (It was a great trip.)

 

I haven't stayed (or dived) at Max's place, but have heard mostly very good things about it and the diving. But I'd urge you to give the liveaboard situation one last think through. One of the most amazing things about the Raja Empat region is the variety, both marine and above-water. You'll miss a lot of that shore-based, though the area around Max's place is rich and very interesting. None of the LA vessels operating in R4 that I know about are cheap, but there is a range of prices.

 

Re: your message, the viz varies a lot from location to location, but I don't know that it's a "challenge". I certainly found plenty of opportunities to shoot wide angle. Currents are not really a major problem at any sites that I've been to, provided of course that the people you're diving with know what they're doing. Currents at R4 sites that I have dived are much less challenging than at some popular sites in north Komodo or Nusa Penida o(ff Bali).

 

I'll be in the Ambon/Banda Sea area in October when you plan to be in Raja Empat, but will do a transfer trip to Sorong that ends up there sometime in November. All on the Seven Seas.

 

Frogfish

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Thanks Robert. I think we'll have to start putting away the pennies for a future trip - it really does sound like a place suited to doing LA diving.

 

Have fun on the SS! :lol:

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Anthony, I have a reservation with KRI ECO for the week starting July 30th. If you're still interested in the non-LA route, just drop me an email and I'll let you know how it went.

 

--David

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Hi, i have been in Kri Eco with Max a few months ago look for the pics from mu buddy here http://community.webshots.com/album/549281779aPilUb

 

About a Live aboard there i am almost sure a Live aboard is not the best option there! the Live Aboards don't know the best spots and sure not all the amazing critters like the special pygmee's, we had a few times that the guys from the Live Aboards asked the dive guides where they need to dive etc...

 

The Boats from Papua Diving are really fast so you can dive almost everyware where the Live Aboards go!

 

I have seen Sorido Bay also a few times (we stayed 2 weeks in Kri Eco) The rooms are really great Airco/satelite TV hot shower etc... but who need that? the basic houses in Kri Eco are build above the water i think thats the most beatiful place i ever sleeped in my live!

 

The only bad thing about Papua diving is that they are really getting realy expensive!

 

Greetings Bruno

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Thanks Bruno.

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Hi, i have been in Kri Eco with Max a few months ago look for the pics from mu buddy here http://community.webshots.com/album/549281779aPilUb

 

About a Live aboard there i am almost sure a Live aboard is not the best option there! the Live Aboards don't know the best spots and sure not all the amazing critters like the special pygmee's, we had a few times that the guys from the Live Aboards asked the dive guides where they need to dive etc...

 

The Boats from Papua Diving are really fast so you can dive almost everyware where the Live Aboards go!

 

 

The only bad thing about Papua diving is that they are really getting realy expensive!

 

Greetings Bruno

 

I not sure I agree with this.

 

We had a fast boat from CI pick up some folks who had to leave early from our LA and it is one long trip from parts south where we were to Sorong. Although their boats may be fast I would doubt that it would be enjoyable to run out to some of the sites that we saw. That, and some of the benefit was the ability to keep diving a site that was plentiful with subjects and opportunities.

 

Mark from CI was on out boat and had a wealth of knowledge in terms of dive sites based on his work in the area. I understand Max is also very knowledgeable as he has been diving the area for years.

 

Cheers

 

Todd

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Anthony

As mentioned before. The flights from Bali to Sorong are not direct.

Kri is the basic resort and Sorido the "upmarket one".

Again this goes back to what you are looking for. If you are diving with the gf, then I doubt you're looking to dive one dive site 15 times to get the perfect shot of a pygmy seahorse. Cape Kri is near Waigeo Island and the surrounding islands (eg Batanta, Fam) are pretty far apart. Pull out a map and you'll see. So yes you have a 30km range by boat from Kri. But would you rather speed time on the boat or in the water. Cape Kri is also where Gerry Allen found 284 species of fish. There are other sites much prettier and easier to shoot than that one. But if you're a marine biologist doing a fish survey, you'll get kicks. But trust me, that manta board gets old real quick. Personally I think Kri and Sorido are for those people who are shooters and want specific things within that biodiversity. The pelagics are lacking(a few manta cleaning stations, cudas, nappy wrasse etc, but you won't find a Peleliu Express in the northern islands) but the scenery is astonishingly diverse. You have enough sites around Kri to keep you busy for 1 week, mostly coral reef slopes, pinnacles and more coral reef. but you get a better mix of pelagic/macro diving in say Sipadan/Mabul/Kapalai, albeit less biodiversity.

Btw there is a budget boat called the MV Shakti. It's run by a pom (brit) whose name draws a blank on me right now. Andy Miner (whose new eco resort in Misool will be running soon) use to run the boat. Very basic boat but improved a lot after they got my list of "suggestions". Shared heads and showers but the crew(esp the cooks) worked very hard, harder than most other more luxurious liveaboards. As a comparison, I jumped onto the Pindito for 15 days after 14 with the Shakti.

Whether to go liveaboard or resort is really again what you are looking for.A liveaboard gives you new options. Yes, many a liveaboard hired Max Ammer as a guide initially for the Waigeo/Batanta area for dive sites. But Misool/Kofiau areas are not Max's best areas whereas the TNC in their 2001 survey trip set the trail which more than a few boats can now claim to have bettered in knowledge of sites. To me, Misool and Kofiau offer better diving than the Waigeo/Batanta islands

Kri sits on a fishy house reef and Melissa's Garden(one of the most purtee coral sites around but it's big and shallow so very easy to explore) is within range. Many of the sites need the right timing of tide to dive on. You do have the Pacific on one side and the Celebes/South China Sea on the other. Sometimes a dive over a site can be over in 15 minutes.

As for Bruno's statement about dive sites, many sites are 1 hr away by boat so you pack lunch tanks etc for the day on skiffs. Even with fast boats, say twin Yamaha 85s, you are still limited to 15-20knots per hour. So how can they possible cover the entire Raja Empat area? The best way to get an idea is to google earth the area and see how far apart the islands are. I don't have my GPS so I can't check but I think Kri and Sorido cover about a 30km radius for the immediate area for dive sites.

Either way, just make up your mind and go already!

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Fam, is about 1 hour with the fast boats! and yes whe stayed for the day and do 3 dives there!

The Manta's are only 30 min, and you can do them in a single dive and come back!

 

I know 1 thing for sure and that is that the diveguides and Max are diving there for more then 15 years every day and that the Live Aboard only dive there for max 3 years and only a few monthe a year, and they came more then once asking how and where to dive when whe where diving like in Fam!

 

I stayed 2 weeks in Kri (36 dives), and that was not enough for me!

 

Greetings Bruno

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Todd, Dru and Brumpy - thanks again to you all for your very useful input.

 

We are going to save this area for a future trip after Malaysia Airlines clinched the choice with a special on a flight from Melb - KL for $600 inc taxes last week.

 

So for now, we are off to Sipadan (staying at Kapalai at this stage).

 

We will definitely look into MV Shakti in the future - thanks heaps Drew! :rolleyes:

 

Happy diving y'all and thanks again for all your helpful suggestions and comments. :lol::wub: I'm sure they will be useful to others as well.

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Finally Anthony, a bloody decision! I'm sure you'll like it.

 

Bruno, I don't doubt Max, Otto and the other guides are top notch... for the immediate area. We had Otto as a guide once off Wayag and he'd never been there before. My point is that land resorts, however brilliant (and remember Max has had 2 before :rolleyes: ), are still limited by travel time. And there are many more awesome sites beyond Waigeo and Batanta areas.

 

Fam, is about 1 hour with the fast boats! and yes whe stayed for the day and do 3 dives there!

The Manta's are only 30 min, and you can do them in a single dive and come back!

I know 1 thing for sure and that is that the diveguides and Max are diving there for more then 15 years every day and that the Live Aboard only dive there for max 3 years and only a few monthe a year, and they came more then once asking how and where to dive when whe where diving like in Fam!

I stayed 2 weeks in Kri (36 dives), and that was not enough for me!

Greetings Bruno

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Finally Anthony, a bloody decision! I'm sure you'll like it.

Yeah yeah yeah. :rolleyes:

 

We can't all be on a never-ending trip mate! :lol:

 

Have to weigh up these decisions very carefully. :wub:

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Just to add a little bit of input on this one -- the talk about the liveaboards not knowing sites is not really all that fair. Take a look at the snapshots I have taken from my liveaboards trips through here at: http://www.diving4images.com/irian_jaya_gallery.html, this proves that is not only sites round Kri that have different species of pigmies and the likes. I have to agree with Dru in that there are many great places in Misool that have awesome sites. By the way I should add here that it is really Otto who is the man working at the Papua Diving resort, now he is a great guide and really funny fella to dive with too. He really knows where the critters are there -- I think if you don't get Otto as your guide you may not see all those little weedy pigmies. I am not too sure there are any other great guides at the resort there, I may be wrong here though?

 

As for Dru... you want some biggies, come on, you need to join me for a trip in Fakfak. Now this really is the final frontier, we were the first team to properly survey this region! Highest reef fish biomass ever recorded, this is direct from Mark, Gerry Allens son who done the biomass survey on the trip. As for the talk about Cape Kri having the highest fish diversity, this is now old, this was blown away in Halmahera back in September 2006 when Gerry counted 301, then in April this year Gerry blew the count from Halmahera away with a count of 328 in the Fakfak area. Plus, Gerry and Mark Erdmann came across 13 new fish species, and this was without us doing any night dives!

 

As for critters, we only came across a few cool critter spots as the fishy reef diving was off the charts, having said that I came across enough critters -- 3 species of pigmys and plenty of different colours, a bunch of nudi's, fire urchin critters, loads of cool cowries, check it out at: http://www.diving4images.com/fakfak_gallery.html. With a few night dives on the next trips I know we are going to find even more great critters, I ahve my eye on a few places alreayd for night diving in this region.

 

I reckon that this will be the hottest new dive destination in Asia very soon...

 

Graham

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Does anybody know of any organized dive trips to Raja Amphat in january or feb/o7?

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