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R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

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R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#1  Postby decimal86 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:24 am

9th thru 18th Jan 2015

this is the fourth visit to Raja Ampat and on three previous occasions, i have enjoyed myself immensely. although the dive sites themselves have not changed and the wobegongs and the schools of sweet lips were as charming as ever, it was the boat and the rules imposed on board that really irked me.

the pearl of papua is badly in need of an overhaul, in particular its ability to make fresh water. this is the first time i have been warned not to take too many baths as they were running out of water for showering ! what? the air conditioning in the dining was broken. so was the air-cond in most of the cabin. the air extractor in the toilet was broken as well. and that left the toilet with a very offensive odour. we had the cabin above the water line and it was supposed to be superior. it was tiny even compared to the room on the Black Manta or Mermaid II. the small headboard was the only space available to charge your devices. headroom for an asian was very limited. what more if you were caucasian ?

the camera area was in the dining hall, it was just big enough for 3 compact cameras. the rinse tank is in the dressing area of the dive deck. a blower is available for removing water from the casing. 1 towel for everybody to wipe their cameras. then you either bring it with you to your room or the dining hall to charge the battery.

the dressing area was big enough for 15 of us but the place to hang our wet suits was not. some of us had to hang it on our tanks or elsewhere. the pearl does not make its own O2. therefore we only had Nitrox for dives 1 and 3 on a 4 dives day schedule. that meant having to change your setting on your dive computer after every dive. and nitrox is chargeable.

and they have a no gloves policy on board. no gloves during diving. and a one finger rule...where ever you rest your hand ? its just one finger.

well i need not tell you about posing the critters for shots right? no prodding the seahorse, no urging the crinoids to reveal the squad lobster. no overturning starfish to find shrimps.

and the list goes on and on...

i hardly shot a thing.

i am all for conservation and protection of the environment but i think this is a bit mucking fudge.

i can see even the dive guides were hesitant in showing us critters when the cruise director was around.

continuing with the trip report......to say that the dining hall was small is like saying hairy shrimp is easy to spot.

it could barely fit 8 but all 15 of us had to eat our meals inside. the air cond did not work and the windows could not be opened because there was tarpaulin covering it. some of us ended up eating outside in the breeze. why the coffee mugs were put at the other end of the hot water and coffee powder, i will never know.

but the food was edible and of good quality. no evidence of msg. the menu changed from day to day. we even had a BBQ on an island all with the hard work of the boat crew...so no comments. oh do remember to bring mosquito repellant if you go on that bbq.

however, what was nice about the dive deck was the fact that they had plastic bottles filled with water, labeled to our dive baskets just at the exit to the tenders, so taking a gulp of water before diving is also available. and immediately after as well.

but....having Mioskon all to ourselves and dropping all 15 of us in at once made no sense at all!! could the 2 tenders not be staggered at the entry point ? most of us had cameras and with the myriad of rules, it was again impossible to get a good shot.

to be fair to the Pearl of Papua, on this particular trip, it was a charter and the price per diver was extremely low. i have never been on a LOB at the price. so the saying holds true about getting what you pay.

i may be mistaken but the cell phone coverage seems to be more than when i dived with Dewi Nusantara as we did similar dive sites. the SIM card we bought at CGK airport was 65000 rupiah and it served us well for 10 days of social media gossip.

so in closing, R4 is still the majestic location that everybody craves to visit. the journey to Sorong is still as arduos. i did not elaborate about the destination as it is well covered in my previous visits and other trip reports here.

but the boat and the dive experience leaves me speechless. i still have hydroid scars....without my gloves.
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#2  Postby raffidi » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:13 pm

Decimal86,
Great write up....people will now have an idea off what to expect when the plan to go with The Pearl Of Papua. I'll skip this company....
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#3  Postby toodus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:13 pm

I LOB-ed with Pearl Of Papua 2 years back.
Ben , the Mat Salleh in charge ......is a grumpy f**cker. Mumbles through his briefings. Is he still there decimal?

We were also told of the no glove policy but we couldn't give two hoots about the policy. I dived every dive with my gloves and I'm experienced enough to not touch critters or their habitat. I just dont wanna get hydroid stings.

Yeah, avoid Pearl of Papua but instead go on Grand Komodo. That one ..... found me the world's most rarest nudibranch - the Melibe colemani......
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#4  Postby Narco » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:44 pm

Great write-up Decimal. This serve as a dive review/reference for those intending to dive R4. I hope those on PoP read this.
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#5  Postby decimal86 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:16 pm

raffidi wrote:Decimal86,
Great write up....people will now have an idea off what to expect when the plan to go with The Pearl Of Papua. I'll skip this company....


as i paid my own on this trip, i gave an honest opinion. and i have the concurrence of 14 other divers.

-- Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:20 pm --

toodus wrote:I LOB-ed with Pearl Of Papua 2 years back.
Ben , the Mat Salleh in charge ......is a grumpy f**cker. Mumbles through his briefings. Is he still there decimal?

We were also told of the no glove policy but we couldn't give two hoots about the policy. I dived every dive with my gloves and I'm experienced enough to not touch critters or their habitat. I just dont wanna get hydroid stings.

Yeah, avoid Pearl of Papua but instead go on Grand Komodo. That one ..... found me the world's most rarest nudibranch - the Melibe colemani......


i avoided using his name but there it is...Ben....the worst dive holiday i have ever been on because of him. it was apparent that the other guides wanted to show us the solar nudi but when they saw him they stopped combing thru the soft coral and swam away. my hydroid stings are still visible.

-- Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:23 pm --

Narco wrote:Great write-up Decimal. This serve as a dive review/reference for those intending to dive R4. I hope those on PoP read this.


thats the great thing about Google, it will trawl the sites to give every trip report on th PoP. i read one stinging one in Scubaboard but the rest were indifferent to the whole experience.

again, i must add that it was the cheapest ever R4 trip i have ever been on.
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#6  Postby Giladivers » Tue May 26, 2015 12:02 pm

Thanks for the great review..i was about to book a trip with them.
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Re: R4 on The Pearl of Papua 9th thru 18th Jan 2015

Post Number:#7  Postby decimal86 » Tue May 26, 2015 1:06 pm

Save yr money and aggravation. Dive with Mermaid or Black Manta.they are far more enjoyable
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