There is only one liveaboard boat with over fifteen years experience operating in the Raja Ampat area and that is MV Pindito. Back in 1992, master and owner of Pindito, Edi Frommenwiler, along with 60 local workers, built the Pindito by hand. Edi had a hunch that the area now known as Raja Ampat would have some pretty fabulous diving . What he discovered was that this was the most biodiverse coral reef ecosystem in the world. Pindito offers top-class diving travel with high standards of reliability and safety to some of the most spectacular areas of Indonesia.
The 37-metre MV Pindito is a wooden ‘phinisi’ style motor sailing vessel which takes up to 16 divers in eight teakwood-panelled cabins. There are six double and two twin cabins. All the cabins have individually controlled air-conditioning and en suite bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet. An additional upper bunk can be added to these cabins if a couple would like an extra surface for gear storage. Twin bedded cabins have one lower bed and one upper bed and have a little more floor space than the double cabins.
Meals are always a feature on Pindito, starting with an early continental breakfast before the first dive, followed by a full buffet breakfast after the dive. Lunch and dinner are served with an Asian flair, with meat, fish and salads featuring on the menu most days. Deserts are always a highlight. Between meals, cakes and cookies are on offer as well as an endless supply of tea, coffee, juices and sodas. Once the diving day is over relax with a glass of cool beer. Cocktails and wine are available for purchase at the bar.
The dedicated camera room is located aft of the lounge area on the main deck. Built with the needs of the modern digital underwater photographer in mind, you will find plenty of storage space and professional-grade work areas with both 220 and 110 volts charging stations. In the salon is a large flat-screen TV and computer centre which can be used for DVD watching and also working on your images.
A range of relaxing massages is offered by Pindito’s ‘floating spa’. A specially trained masseur travels aboard Pindito to make sure that each diver gets the opportunity to enjoy reflexology, aromatherapy or perhaps a traditional Balinese massage.
Pindito dive instructors and dive guides are focused on delivering the highest quality of safety and comfort on your dives. Dive guides accompany divers on all the dives. You may dive with the guide but you are under no obligation to follow them. They are artists of marine life spotting and will certainly be able to show you many species that you may have overlooked. There is definitely no need to haul your gear around when travelling on Pindito. Just pop down in to the zodiac and your gear will be waiting for you. Usually four dives are offered each day with the first starting at around 0730, followed by a late morning dive before lunch. The afternoon’s dives will be scheduled for about 1430 and a dusk or night dive will be offered. When the boat is anchored over a calm reef or moored in a calm sea more dives can be scheduled. Most dives are drifts with the experienced crew waiting for you when you surface. Nitrox is included in the cruise price.
Between October and May Pindito offers a series of exciting 11 nights cruises in the Raja Ampat region, departing from, and returning to, Sorong in West Papua. April-May and December cruises include sites in the Banda Sea as well as Raja Ampat. Please see the Frontier Indonesia section of our website for further details of the Banda Sea.
Example cruise itineraries:
RAJA AMPAT (11 NIGHTS)
Day 1: Arrive in Sorong and transfer to Pindito. Set sail as soon as all guests are aboard. Day 2: Head for Misool for a day of fish and coral gardens. Day 3: Travel east to the Fiabatjet group of islands. Day 4 and 5: Dive Wajil Batan before making an overnight crossing to Misool once more. Day 6 offers a choice of a full day zodiac trip to the island labyrinth with the exploration of channels, caves and shore walks (or stay on board and take 4 dives). Day 7: Waigeo, and the chance to visit a pearl farm or take a day’s diving searching out pygmy seahorses, pipefish and nudibranchs. Day 8: Eagle Rock, east of Waigeo, offers chance to visit some rays and a return visit to Sel Pele. Day 9: Dive your way around Jef Fam and tick off Tasselled Wobbegong and Epaulette Sharks. Day 10: Check out the Manta Rays in the channel between Waigeo and Batanta Island then over to Mansuar Island for the night dive. Day 11: Dive Kri and visit the Sardine Reef before returning to Sorong and enjoying a Captain’s party. Day 12: Disembark Pindito and transfer to the airport.
BANDA SEA AND RAJA AMPAT
Day 1: Arrive in Sorong and transfer to Pindito. Set sail as soon as all guests are aboard. Day 2: Arrive at Nusa Laut, south of the large island of Seram in the Banda Sea, and enjoy spectacular reefs and plenty of fish. At night, cruise further south deeper in to the Banda Sea to Banda Neira. Day 3: Dive the sites at Banda Neira and cruise right into the harbour for a Mandarinfish dive at dusk. Day 4: Test out your fitness with a climb to the top of the Volcano at Gunung Api. In the afternoon enjoy some larva flow dives and vast table corals. In the evening, set sail for Koon at the southeast point of the island of Seram. Day 5: Enjoy dive sites in Koon, and try out the dive site “Too Many Fish”. After 3 dives leave the Banda Sea behind and head towards Raja Ampat. Day 6: Explore the many small islands and reefs in the spectacular area of Wajil Batan. Day 7: After a short sail to Fiabatjet, enjoy the gigantic seafans and swarms of small fish hunted by mobulas and Spanish Mackerel. Day 8: Dive the islands of Boo and Jilliet, soft coral dive sites with loads of colour. Day 9: Cruise back to Misool and enjoy a half day excursion to the caves and burial remains. In the afternoon enjoy diving in a quiet bay before setting sail for Jef Fam . Day 10: Tasselled Wobbegongs are the highlight of the day here but keep an eye out for sea snakes and huge Tricadna clams in the shallows. The night dive here is on Red Wall, famous for frogfish and nudibranchs. Day 11: Check out the Manta Rays in the channel between Waigeo and Batanta Island before returning to Sorong and enjoying a Captain’s party. Day 12: Disembark Pindito and transfer to the airport.
There is also usually one Molucca Sea cruise each year, in May, which covers 650 nautical miles through the Molucca Sea from Sorong to Bitung on Sulawesi, not far from Manado. Take in the beautiful corals of the Raja Akmpa, then head south along the coast of Halmahera where you will dive walls and enjoy some big fish action. The small islands to the west of Halmahera are home to some remote and pristine coral reefs. The trip continues by sailing through the islands off north Sulawesi and ends with the spectacular creature diving in the famous black sands of the Lembeh Strait. This is a very diverse trip that will suit all divers.
RAJA AMPAT: $4295. Includes: airport transfers; 11 nights cruise on Pindito on a twin/share basis with full board, plus all soft drinks and some alcoholic drinks, but not wine; 9 days of diving (up to 3 dives per day plus one dawn or night dive, totalling 36 dives); escorted shore excursions where appropriate. Nitrox supplement: about $180. At the time of going to press there was a fuel surcharge of about $250 which has to be prepaid. Contact us for the latest information. In addition, there is a national park fee of $70 for Raja Ampat cruises or $110 for Banda Sea & Raja Ampat cruises (subject to change) which has to be paid on board. Single Occupancy Supplement: 50% of the cruise cost (but you can avoid paying the supplement if you are willing to share a cabin).
KOMODO: $4295. Includes: airport transfers; 11 nights cruise on Pindito on a twin/share basis with full board, plus all soft drinks and some alcoholic drinks, but not wine; 9 days of diving (up to 3 dives per day plus one dawn or night dive, totalling 36 dives); escorted shore excursions where appropriate. At the time of going to press there was a fuel surcharge of about $250 which has to be prepaid. Contact us for the latest information. In addition, there is a national park fee of €35 (subject to change) which has to be paid on board. Single Occupancy Supplement: 50% of the cruise cost (but you can avoid paying the supplement if you are willing to share a cabin).