Question Raja Ampat liveaboard for snorkelling AND diving

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South of France
# of dives
2500 - 4999
Came across your post by accident but I hope I can contribute to the discussion. I have been to Indonesia many times, first time in the mid-90's, staying at resorts and dived on many liveaboards all over the archipelago including RA, Komodo, Alor, Derawan, Sulawesi, Lembeh and many more and in most cases, as long as you give prior warning to the boat that you are snorkelers, few will turn you away and most will be anxious to accommodate you in any way they can. Some boats are better suited to snorkeling than others, having two or more tenders, so they can actually focus one of those boats just for snorkeling, and almost everywhere in Raja you will find some good snorkeling close by. Personally I think that Raja offers possibly some of the best snorkeling on the planet and whenever I return there, my wife, who for medical reasons is not able to dive, but loves to snorkel, would not let me go without her. I could advise you of multiple top liveaboards that would be suitable for snorkelers, but the main thing to remember is that as you are on a dive boat, and the majority of folks on board is the best diving, the main focus of crew and guides is to cater to those divers, so there maybe times when you come second with regard to getting you to the best snorkeling spots, but if you are content to spend a large part of your day lying on the deck reading a book, you will be rewarded with intervals snorkeling along shallow reefs amongst the colorful corals and the richest and most bio-diverse marine life on the planet, you will be in seventh heaven. When I do send out non-diving clients to Indonesia, they are never disappointed as long as they understand that their diving companions may get to dive 3-4 hour long dives each day, while they may only 2++ hours of world class snorkeling. It maybe much more but I usually contact the owner/captain in advance and chat with him about who else is on board, and frequently I will hear that there are 1 or 2 or more non-divers, so it really is not a problem. The alternative is land based and that is often the option many choose as many places have a suitable house reef, where one is free to don mask and fins and snorkel to your heart's content. However, I am not sure that you will find space at those resorts this Xmas as many are already full. I can talk to you about numerous excellent snorkel sites in RA but I don't think this is the right forum for this. If you would like to PM me or contact by email/skype, then happy to send you more ideas. At your service, Dom.
Dominick Macan
Dive Advice Travel
Tel: +33 492 94 02 99 (France)
SKYPE: adventuredom

Find available spaces, book a trip on a dive liveaboard | Dive Advice … for up-to-date liveaboard availability worldwide


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Northern California
If you have been on liveaboards previously specifically to snorkel then you have an idea of what your experience will be like but the focus will be on the divers and their sites are going to be away from where it is easy to snorkel. How much the boat will accomodate taking you snorkeling while managing the divers is going to be up to the boat.

If you care to try, the diving will certainly be great and not to be feared. A competent dive crew will take divers on dives within their capabilities. What you may encounter is places where you swim into a current rather than the up and down currents we hear about. Again a competent dive guide won't run you into a current for long because the current wins, so your concern is just decent stamina to deal with such events. Many dives won't hit that and you'll see amazing stuff. I recall many dives coming up and it was like a bathtub.

Visibility is not a concern. It's not gin clear to 100 feet but what makes it not clear is why the diving is great with large schools of fish vs what you might typically see in the Caribbean where it is gin clear. Particulate in the water is food for the food chain . Look at Dan's videos, that is what you'll see.

I would not recommend Aggressor because I see too many reports about how things turned out when there were problems. I took the Dewi Nustara which was an amazing boat. So large you couldn't always tell you were moving. I'd go back in a heartbeat. However, there are now many boats in RA.


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Blue Manta was taking us snorkelers and we took the add on snorkel guide option to go apart from the divers. It would have been great. We will reschedule after we get our better covid vaccines. Old.
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Rolling Hills CA USA
# of dives
100 - 199
For the very reason of finding a nice live aboard for my Wife and Sister in Law that caters to snorkelers and divers we just returned from a week on the Aqua Blu travelling from Bali, Denpasar to Komodo.
The Aqua Blu part of the multi boat operation known as Aqua Expeditions also visits Raja Ampat in December , January , February and March
The ship is a 200 foot converted British exploration vessel formally known as the Beagle and the previous Italian owner dropped a fortune on the conversion to personal yacht .
The trip was booked and paid for over 2 years ago but Covid shut it all down so we were quite pleased to finally get to go.
Some people prefer a large social group not us though and we were grateful to have only 12 passengers aboard the 15 stateroom vessel when the max is about 30 with 29 crew.
It's a leisurely pace on the 500 mile voyage and we took 7 dives in 5 days while the snorkelers went out shortly after us and no one complained about snorkelling enough but I can always dive more . I brought my own gear and the 3 divers who didn't were provided nice Scubapro wetsuits , fins, masks and BC's (not sure if the regulators were Scubapro). This is air only diving and a small compressor fills 2 tanks at a time and is situated along with the gear in a less than optimal space in the aft steering room.
Divemaster's Jamal and Rafili were professional and took good care of those who needed help.
It's close quarters on the dive Zodiac. 8 divers with a couple guides and pilot would be a full and tight load.
There is another Zodiac with teak trim and decent seating that serviced the snorkellers and day trips.
We dove-Labuan Aji,Satonda Reef,Roller Coaster,Shotgun,Taka Makassar ,Cannibal Rock and Pink Beach.
On a tour day we all piled into the Zodiac at 5am for an awesome Whale Shark encounter in Saleh Bay and did a epic Komoda Dragon visit.
The breakfast's are served buffet with cereals and fruits etc also a hot station made eggs and a specialty daily like crepes or Indonesian noodle dishes . Lunch and Dinner was served always excellent and the staff really aimed to please . The house red wine is a decent Malbec and the beer Bitang , a full range of cocktails is available for what seemed like a fair price.
We left wishing we could have spent more time on board as it was one of those rare trips that if the diving or snorkelling wasn't perfect it didn't matter as we just really enjoyed being well taken care of with the super friendly Indonesians in the beautiful settings. I hate to be picky but the only small negatives were the AC in the room didn't get as cool as my wife liked 72-78 ( full disclosure we didn't give them a notice to check into it) and the 4-1968 diesel propulsion engines were a bit smoky at times but we've had boats and can be sensitive and no one seemed to notice but us.
We were also fortunate to visit the ViceRoy in Ubud and the Ritz Carlton in Nusa Dua both very special and super nice. Sorry no dive pics as my Daughter who planned the trip and handles our dive camera in the interim 2 years got into dental school and sadly misssed the trip.


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