Rough and ready liveaboards just don’t compare to the luxury that you get with vessels like the Damai.
It takes two long flights from Singapore to get to Raja Ampat, but when you get there, it is more than worth the time and trouble! So what can you expect when sailing the Indonesian seas aboard The Damai? Amazing diving, wonderful service on-board and jaw-dropping landscapes. Everything we could every dream of for the most memorable dive holiday.
The Damai offers two liveaboards: any differences between the two?
Damai I is the first vessel and Damai II is the newer vessel, and practically identical to the first vessel in terms of décor, layout and interiors. Cabins are equally spacious starting from 20sqm to over 30sqm. The new vessel is slightly larger than the first ensuring three large outside deck areas with an outside dining on the top deck, a massage area, and plenty of extra lounging and sunbathing space. Décor is a little more modern and updated on Damai II as well.
Where and when does The Damai sail to?
The Damai sails the Indonesian oceans and routes depend on the season you embark on the liveaboard. As a broad guideline, Raja Ampat season is approximately November to April and Komodo is May to October.
Raja Ampat was completely off the radar a couple of years ago and has been slowly garnering more attention. Its 1600 (mostly) uninhabited islands, and incredible diving (its boasts the largest collection of fish and corals in the word!) definitely helped put it on the map. The limestone you come across whilst you say the Indonesian seas are stunning and the islands filled with a wide variety of flowers and birds.
How comfortable is it to stay on a liveaboards?
Rough and ready liveaboards just don’t compare to the luxury that you get with vessels like the Damai. First of all – proper ensuites. Showers and toilets work just as well as they would in a regular 5 star hotel. While being understandably on the small side, nothing can beat the feeling of having a good proper shower.
Bed are large and comfortable, and had reading lamps, warm covers. There is also laundry service included on the vessel, which means you don’t really need to pack very much considering you will be living in your swim togs in the day.
Expect individually prepared meals, paired with great wine, instead of a mass cook up and a buffet line that you may have experienced on other mainstream dive vessels. Dress up for dinner, enjoy great conversation and cuisine with your friends if you’ve rented the entire vessel or get to know the others sharing the boat with you. Dining outdoors on the deck, under the stars – breathtaking.
Most of all, what really makes a difference, is the staff to guest ratio. After you’ve come up from a spectacular dive, expect someone to help you with your tank and rinse your kit for you, someone else to hand you a towel and a third person to prepare a warm or cool drink, or even fetch you a beer. The chef will also probably have some light bites waiting for you on the table once you’ve dried off.
Now that’s the way dive holidays should be done!
What does typical day aboard the Damai look like?
They adhere very closely to the four main pillars of a great dive holiday. Eat, Sleep, Dive, Tan.
The vessel generally travels from point to point in the evening after dinner, so that you are in a new dive spot by the time you’re awake. You have the option for a dawn dive, you’ll be woken up by a knock on your door – or just indulge and sleep in and rise after the sun starts shining through your peep hole, just in time for breakfast.
After breakfast, there is a second dive, followed by morning tea and some time to relax before lunch. After lunch there is another dive, if you are able to combat the food-coma! And lastly an evening dive before dinner. When not diving, simply spend your days relaxing on the deck, or in the lounge – with a book or playing board games. Or perhaps even learning more about the huge variety of marine life you’ve been seeing, speaking with the extremely knowledgeable dive masters who’ll be able to fill you in on the exact species you saw.
Freshen up before dinner which is usually another hearty 3 course affair, before retiring for the evening.
How much ‘land time’ do you get when you are on a liveaboard?
When you charter the vessel privately you are very much free to design the itinerary as you’d wish to include certain types of diving and land activities. Even if you don’t, Damai team is very flexible and will try to meet all guests requirements fairly, perhaps docking in an area where the diving is great but where others may venture on-land for bird watching at the same time.
Who should experience this holiday?
It’s definitely for individuals who are experienced divers, as Raja Ampat can be challenging for those who have just gotten certified. It is also suitable for families, as long as the majority of them are keen divers. The Damai’s two vessels were always built with families in mind, the owner himself has two young children who love their time aboard the boat. Many extended families also charter the whole vessel for a one-of-a-kind get together.
Diving is the main activity, but what if you need a break? What else can you do?
Sit, read and relax! There is also snorkelling and kayaking on board.