Dive Indonesia’s Raja Ampat on the best luxury liveaboard Dewi Nusantrara
This Dewi Nusantara liveaboard review which is about one of Indonesia’s luxury liveaboard boats. It has a ‘master cabin to die for‘ and is what’s called liveaboard diving in style. Possibly the best luxury liveaboard in Raja Ampat.
Dewi Nusantara liveaboard review:
A dive trip to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat on luxury liveaboard Dewi Nusantara is a diver’s bucket list trip. A photographers heaven with the best marine bio-diversity on the planet. The Dewi Nusantara diving liveaboard has great reviews. Sleep in the luxury master cabin and you’ll be scuba diving like a king.
Raja Ampat where is it?
Raja Ampat is situated off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on Papua. Where Papua is the eastern most Island of this Indonesian Archipelago.
Raja Ampat is all about diversity and draws in mostly advanced divers, due to its drift diving and currents and it’s also ‘off the beaten track‘. Raja Amat is probably not suitable for beginner divers due to the strong currents. It’s worth reading the quote below from someone who experienced a strong down-current!
I dived Raja Ampat in October, I only had about 16 dives and actually got stuck in a down current which took me to 30 meters and out of air which was damn scary!
I was diving with my friend who is an instructor who said she had never experienced currents like it. The other five dives were all fine however I felt not as easy to relax there as I have diving other places.
It is incredible, however I would advise getting at least an Advanced before going to help with the depth of some of the dive sights. There are some easier sights and just snorkeling around the house reef on our island of Kri there was so much wildlife.Is Raj Ampat diving appropriate for beginners? – Lonely Planet
It’s a photographers heaven and a scientists dream. There’s a huge diversity of species and a huge range of dive sites to choose from. Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is one of the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.
Raja Ampat means ‘The Four Kings.’ It is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands and cays. If you take the master cabin (see below), you could be diving ‘The Four Kings‘ like a king.
The main four islands of the area include Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool.
Indonesia Raja Ampat Dewi Nusantara liveaboard review
The Dewi Nusantara in summary:
- 57 metre (188 feet) wooden hulled liveaboard sail boat. It’s a magnificent 3-masted, motorised wooden schooner.
- Maximum number of divers on board is 18.
The Dewi Nusantara is the largest of all the Raja Ampat liveaboards and was previously called the Paradise Dancer.
The Dewi Nusantara is the perfect Raja Ampat liveadoard dive boat. It’s fitted with 8 Staterooms on the lower deck. But the best part is it’s luxury master suite or the ‘Commander’s Suite‘ on the main deck. As per the image below.
It’s the Commander’s suit that makes this into the best luxury liveaboard of Raja Ampat.
Dewi Nusantara master cabin luxury – The Commander Suite
The Master Suite of the Dewi Nusantara is in the aft quarters of the main deck.
It’s the dive boat’s signature room and tastefully decorated with classic wooden features. The master cabin is the full width of the vessel and from the stern of the boat you will have a 180 degree view of the ocean behind the you.
It will be a bit like going back to when the ships had large cabins with windows all around. Imagine yourself as a captain of the ship in a bygone era. The room itself is a massive 46 square meters (495 square feet).
The largest room on board the Dewi Nusantara. It’s boasted to be one of the largest luxury suites available on any live-aboard vessel in the world.
Make sure you’re suitably qualified and experienced to dive Raja Ampat, before you invest in an expensive trip on the Dewi Nusantara. If you are just a beginner scuba diver it’s not recommended to scuba dive Raja Ampat, as already explained due to the strong currents.
Dewi Nusantara master cabin review
This is our 3rd visit to Raja Ampat & on the Dewi Nusantara. The diving is fabulous – great mix of big stuff like Mantas, Wobbegong sharks, black tip reef sharks and tiny critters like the various pygmy seahorses, bobtail squid, gobies & nudibranches. The hard and soft coral gardens are amazing.
But note that visibility is variable and there can be strong currents, so having a few dives experience before you go is very useful especially to make sure you have good buoyancy to be able to see the critters without damaging the coral.
It is a trip of a lifetime as the Dewi Nusantara is a luxury boat with great friendly service – many of the staff have worked on the boat for many years. The dive manager selects dive sites on the day depending on conditions and other boats in the area. As Raja Ampat is becoming very busy with divers.
The dive guides are all very good at looking after you as well as spotting critters and helping you frame your photos for wide angle! The food is excellent & you definitely will not go hungry and on our trip they catered for all sorts of special dietary requirements – the chef is very experienced & the serving along with the cabin staff are great. After each dive there is a massage and hot chocolate after night dives ! The cabins are huge (for a liveaboard) with a full size shower / bathroom. Its large boat with space for everyone!Raja Ampat with Dewi Nusantara review on Trip Adviser
More details on the Dewi Nusantara
Nitrox is available on board (only for enriched air certified divers and at an extra charge) to help extend your bottom time. This will give you more time to enjoy the marvellous sea creatures and corals.
The best time to dive Raja Ampat is from October to March. Mostly liveaboard Dewi Nusantara visits Cenderawasih Bay (see whale shark sightings in the below video here), but also Triton Bay, Banda, Halmahera and Lembeh.
All the cabins are air conditioned and have ensuite bathrooms with a hot shower. These have 24-hour 220 volt electric supply with European-style 2-pin plugs.
All meals are full-board and evening meals are served with a complimentary glass of wine, which are buffet style and consist of international cuisine, Chinese and Japanese cuisine, local specialties and BBQs. You only have to pay extra for additional wines and spirits.
Sorong in West Papua – How to get there
The Dewi Nusantara liveaboard normally departs from Sorong in West Papua. You can fly directly to Sorong from Jakarta, Ujung Pandang (Makassar) and Manado.
Raja Ampat underwater species list
From the Papuan Garden Eel to the Mantis Shrimp at the small end of the scale.
With the Raja Ampat Epaulette shark (also known as the shark that can walk on land! See below)and the Tasselled Wobbegong shark at the smaller end of sharks through to the largest of them all, the whale shark. You’ll see a whole host of sharks, if of course you like scuba diving with sharks that is, when you visit Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat Epaulette shark – The shark that can walk on land
I think this is pretty cool, I’ve also learned something new too, from writing this article.
Until I looked up the Raja Ampat Epaulette shark (which I’d not heard of before now), I had never seen this before. I think it’s pretty cool. I remember ‘rock-pooling’ when I was younger and loving exploring rock pools. But if I’d come across something like this land -walking shark, I’d have been amazed!
Here’s an Epaulette Shark in Australia:
Here’s a video of the shark walking along a reef underwater:
Dugongs in Raja Ampat
Something else I learned today was about the dugongs that live in and around Raja Ampat. Dugongs have been mistaken for mermaids in the past and they are similar creatures to the Manatees of Florida and the Caribbean.
They are extremely rare in Indonesia, so your chances of seeing one when you’re diving Raja Ampat are extremely low. So see it as a bonus if you spot one.
Crocodiles of Raja Ampat
There are also salt water crocodiles in the Raja Ampat region. These don’t seem to be the same problem s the salties of Australia, but nevertheless they are there.
These seem to pose more of a threat to those saying on land, on islands like Gam. They pose a particular thread to snorkelers. But having said that, David Shem-Tov was grabbed by a crocodile when diving in Raja Ampat, so it’s worth knowing about.
Just another dive in Raja Ampat
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHERpleasure dive to observe some of the small creatures of the mangroves. I was absorbed by a tiny crustacean on a patch of anemone.
My concentration was broken by a strange muffled sound. Chus Barrientos, my friend and diving buddy, was shouting through his regulator. I looked up to see him finning furiously backwards.
On the surface, perhaps 6m away and just 1m above me, was a saltwater crocodile. It was swimming fast, roughly in my direction.
Crocodile attack Raja Ampat Indonesia – divernet.com
I froze, and held my breath, hoping that if I didn’t blow bubbles or stir the water, it might not notice me. It passed. Then its head suddenly swung sharply to the right and it dived towards me.
Four months before the above attack (which was in 2009), Lauren Greider, a former nurse from California, had been chased by a smaller, significantly less bulky crocodile at the same Blue Water Mangroves dive site.
Other less dangerous sea life in the waters of Raja Ampat include dolphins, manta rays, as already mentioned above, and of course other rays too, including the blue spotted ray.
You may also be lucky enough to see a banded sea krait or sea snake too. Plus this list of other sea creatures:
- Sharks in addition to those mentioned above include blacktop reef sharks,
- Broadclub cuttlefish.
- Seahorses and pipefish.
- Clown fish (Nemo).
- A whole host of coral fish including bennies, cow fish, scorpionfish, lion fish,
- Bumphead parrotfish.
- Moray eels.
Dewi Nusantara liveaboard review – customer reviews
The reviews on the Dewi Nusantara are great too, and include the following two:
Excellent: The staff are the most helpful and professional I have every encountered in my liveaboard trip up till now and the facility is definitely the first rate.Siyi Deng, China, 29 December 2015 on Dive The World
Excellent: Dewi Nusantara is a great boat – huge, spacious and in excellent condition. Very stable regardless of the weather. It is run extremely efficiently – a very well organised operation with no chaos and every issue anticipated. The staff were fabulous all round. The food can be a little repetitive but this is understandable since they do all their shopping in Sorong – a real challenge, I would imagine.
Catriona Steele, Australia, 19 January 2012 – Dive The World
My only slight criticism would be that our guide was extremely focused on pleasing photographers, sometimes to the detriment of others. I dived without a camera for more than 50% of the time after my housing flooded, and was largely left to fend for myself in finding critters (despite staying close to the guide). I don’t think this was true of the other guides, though.
Dewi Nusantara video in Cederawasih Bay 2018 – with whale sharks
For the whale shark footage, jump to 3 minutes 10 seconds.
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