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Trip Report from Raja Ampat aboard the Calico Jack Liveaboard

Discussion in 'Indonesia' started by RedFishBlueFish, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. RedFishBlueFish

    RedFishBlueFish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York
    59
    30
    18
    Hello all! I posted this originally in the Liveaboard forum but I think it also belongs here.

    Greetings fellow bubble makers! My husband and I just finished a 12 day/11night trip to Raja Ampat aboard the Calico Jack. Our trip was from 3/24-4/4/19. This is our second liveaboard experience. The first liveaboard we experienced was in Tubbataha aboard the Sakura in 2018 and it was like camping on the ocean next to a floating toilet bowl. So, needless to say, anything would’ve been better than that experience.

    Pick-up: we were picked up by a staff member holding up a sign with our name clearly marked along with the Calico Jack name so there was no confusion. We were then brought to the port and brought by fast boat to the ship. We were provided a welcome coconut drink on arrival and then given a tour of the boat and safety briefing by the cruise director.

    Ship: Beautiful Phinisi ship with hand carved detailing all over the boat. Main deck with dive deck on rear of ship, every diver gets a basket with their name on it to place your equipment. There is a shower head and rinse station for gear at the very back of the boat as well as hot water shower & toilet on the rear dive deck. Front of the main deck is the open air dining area and is always covered overhead. In front of the dining area is more seating and there are also bean bags at the very front of the ship. There is space to hang your clothes to dry as well as clothespins all along the main deck. On the upper deck is more seating, loungers & bean bags.

    Rooms: 5 cabins, all below deck. 10 divers maximum so ample room aboard ship for everyone. Our particular trip was a small group. We were 5 divers & 1 snorkler. Each cabin has A/C as well as small fans. A/C is turned off some time during the night but with the small fans, the portholes which could be opened, and the top of the cabin which has a large removable square hatch, there’s plenty of ventilation. There were two closets in our cabin with drawers under the bed as well. Multiple sockets/outlets in our cabin. All cabins are en-suite with hot water shower, sink & electric marine toilet. Bed was comfortable and towels for diving and showering were changed every few days or when asked. Shampoo, soap, and toothpaste provided. Room was cleaned after every morning dive.

    Staff/Crew: Outstanding crew who went above and beyond to make our trip exceptional. Julie, the cruise director was fabulous and so knowledgeable about Raja
    Ampat.

    Food: Delicious. The chef is amazing. You will never go hungry aboard this vessel. Pre- morning dive you’re provided cereals and coffee, tea, juice. After the morning dive you’re given a full breakfast which was eggs prepared in various ways, fresh bread, crepes or pancakes, fresh fruit, juices, coffee of the day. After the second dive you’re given a full lunch which was usually salad, chicken dish, fish dish and sometimes pasta. Then a snack after the third dive. Followed by dinner which had a different soup every day along with a salad, meat dish, fish dish and dessert. The crew also held a beach BBQ while we were anchored near a small island complete with decorations, bean bags from the ship to sit on, a huge bonfire. It was a lot of work for the crew to set up and then take apart to bring it all back to the shop but they made it look effortless.

    Diving: Our trip covered North, Central, and South Raja Ampat. Absolutely mind blowing diving. Very healthy reefs with amazing biodiversity. Visibility varied. We saw reef & oceanic mantas, black tip & white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, sting rays, eels, wobbegong sharks, octopus, and too many other fish to mention. We also saw a lot of macro critters. Before every dive we were given a dive briefing by Julie the cruise director who would accompany us as well on most dives. We were 5 divers & split into two groups, each with a dive guide. We also had two fast boats to bring us to the dive sites. Some of the dives had mild to moderate current. Reef hooks were provided free of charge. We brought our own gear but those who rented didn’t have any issue with equipment.

    Miscellaneous: we visited the lookout point on Pianyemo and took the fast boat out to see the small islands. While anchored, you could kayak to the small islands and beaches nearby.

    Final Thoughts: After researching so many liveaboards with trips to Raja Ampat, I am so happy we picked Calico Jack. We wanted a reasonably priced liveaboard that covered North, Central & South Raja Ampat and their itinerary was perfect. We were also fortunate to have no rain the entire trip. They offer other itineraries in Indonesia and I would definitely book another trip with them in the future. I highly recommend them!!!
     
    AlMitch, Wisnu, paolobl65 and 2 others like this.
  2. AlMitch

    AlMitch Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    825
    396
    63
    A really great looking boat...the big bonus is the reduced number of divers! Man how lucky were you only to have 5 divers!! That is amazing.

    How do you think the boat would have handled with a full contingent?
     
  3. RedFishBlueFish

    RedFishBlueFish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York
    59
    30
    18
    The maximum number of divers they allow is 10 (we were 5 divers and 1 snorkeled so 6 people total) and I think the boat would have handled it well. There was always leftovers during meal times and we joked that he was still preparing food for 10 people. There’s plenty of lounging space on the top deck as well as on the main deck. There are two fast boats and two guides and often the cruise director accompanied us on the dives. Julie the cruise director is very experienced and was very on top of making sure all divers were ready by the specified dive schedules.
     
    AlMitch likes this.
  4. RedFishBlueFish

    RedFishBlueFish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York
    59
    30
    18
    888767D8-C532-4820-99E2-76A99EAB6392.jpeg These were the sites we dove in Raja Ampat
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. Melvin Ng

    Melvin Ng Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    39
    5
    8
    Wow, that is a very good number of dives. How big was the boat? Was there nitrox on there?
     
  6. RedFishBlueFish

    RedFishBlueFish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York
    59
    30
    18
    Nitrox was available at 15 euros per day I believe but since dives were always a max of 60 minutes with a 3 hour surface interval in between, I felt it wasn’t worth it and just dove on air
     
  7. RedFishBlueFish

    RedFishBlueFish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York
    59
    30
    18
    Sorry forgot to answer other part. Boat was 98 feet long, had a lower deck where all sleeping quarters were (5 cabins), main deck and an upper deck. You can see pics and specifications on calicojackcharters.com
    It is a traditional Phinisi. Only 10 divers max so plenty of room to spread out.
     
  8. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    2,669
    1,911
    113
  9. aleem.k713

    aleem.k713 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Queens, NY
    114
    11
    18
    best liveaboard I've done
     
    RedFishBlueFish likes this.
  10. Melvin Ng

    Melvin Ng Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore
    39
    5
    8
    Is the cruise director an Italian lady?
     

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