Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Preparing for your Trip
What should I bring with me?
Before the trip departs, we will need to see you diver certification card & log book. We understand that some people may not bring their log books with them, but we will try our best to confirm your experience level and number of dives. If you had 3000 dives would you want your dive buddy to have 4 dives?
We also strongly encourage these items:
2 or 3 t-shirts
2 pairs shorts
As evenings can sometimes be a little cooler, you might also bring a sweatshirt/jumper and light cotton pants. You always need less than you think.
If you prefer to travel light, you can hire rental diving equipment on all liveaboards.
What should I NOT bring with me?
Try not to over pack. You won’t need a drysuit, or much entertainment items as we have books, movies and games available on board.
Please do not bring any disposable plastic onboard Kurabesi Explorer such as plastic bags or disposable bottled water in plastic. We will supply you a range of solutions as soon as you arrive on board including a reusable water bottle, bamboo toothbrush and biodegradable earbuds. We also supply organic amenities such as soap shampoo and conditioner, so there is no need for you to bring much plastic on board.
Can I rent diving equipment?
Yes, you can rent diving equipment from us. The cost for a full set of gear is quite reasonable – see our price list here. We also offer rentals of lights, cameras, video and computers.
You must bring proof of your current certification for presentation before departure.
I can’t find my certification card. Can I still dive?
If you’re a PADI or SSI diver we can check your details online, all we need from you is your full name, and your date of birth. If you’re certified with another diving organization then please let us know before arrival.
I haven’t dived for a while. Can I do a dive before I go on the boat?
Safety first. Whether you do a refresher course back home before your trip begins, or a refresher dive with our staff on site (in a group of no more than two guests with our dive buddies), we are happy to offer this service to our guests for a small surcharge.
Can you pick me up from the airport?
Yes this is part of your standard package.
What kind of visa do I need?
Most Asian and European Countries, Australia and North Americans will receive a 30 day visa upon arrival and you must have a return flight ticket. Please double-check with your local embassy or consulate if this is the case. Upon the day of your arrival, your passport must be valid at least 6 months.
Do I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend that you apply for standard travel insurance., as accidents can happen on the road, we recommend World Nomad an excellent travel insurance company that has a policy of giving back and supports several projects in Indonesian through Surfaid. This is unrelated to diving.
We also recommend specific Divers Alert Network Insurance
(DAN), which you can purchase through us at the time of making your booking. The cost is nominal, USD $40 for 10 days coverage.
Please thoroughly check your travel insurance whether it covers evacuation and treatments in the recompression chamber in case of emergency.
Do I need vaccinations?
Shortly before your departure, it is advised to see a tropical disease doctor to double-check for outbreaks. Or send us an email for advice. If you are traveling to Easter Indonesia, you do not need Malaria vaccination. Your Tetanus vaccination should be up to date. Many of the areas we visit and stay in are quite safe.
Do I need to bring a wetsuit?
Yes. The water is not cold, though we do get occasional thermoclines that can drop the water to 28° C, our normal temperature, year-round is 28° C - 31° C. In addition to the thermal protection your wetsuit provides, though uncommon, jellyfish and other irritants are sometimes in the water, so at a minimum 2mm-3mm is recommended.
Do I need to bring adaptors for my dive equipment or electronics?
Is your regulator DIN or INT? – we are able to supply adapters, just let us know! We are always happy to help. Not sure which one you have? Drop a line and we will sort it out for you.
Can I access ATM machines in Easter Indonesia?
You can access Maestro, Cirrus, Visa, and MasterCard at the local ATM in our ports of embarkation disembarkation in Sorong, Manokwari, Ambon, Bandanaira and Saumlaki.
Do I need cash on board?
There is very little to spend money on. Soft drinks, beer, diving courses, rental equipment, t-shirts, and gratuities for the staff and crew. Our team will be making a running tally of your expenses and you can pay this via bank transfer, your PayPal and / or charge your credit card on land at the end of the trip. Please note that there is a 3% charge for payments with credit card on liveaboards.
What currency should I take on board?
We suggest that you bring Indonesian Rupiah for your sundry payments on board, or if you wish to purchase any of the wonderful handicrafts that are produced on some of the island we will visit as part of our fair trade outreach to local communities. If you only have Dollars, Euros, Pounds or Yen we can also accept and exchange them at our standard exchange rates.
How much should we plan for tips?
Your tip is up to you and should be given voluntarily based on the quality of service provided. We are sure you will notice how hard the staff and crew work to provide you with the best possible experience. We hope you will note how the safety and enjoyment of everyone relies on this teamwork, professionalism and attitude. Many of our guests give a gratuity based on 5-10% of the cruise price or more.
Life on Board
How do I get more info about the weather?
Please feel free to check The Indonesian Department of Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) weather update website for details and updates about local weather conditions.
When is the best time to travel to Eastern Indonesia?
There are 3 seasons in Eastern Indonesia. The best time for a visit is between XXXX and XXX. This is our “dry” season (during the day XX°- XX°C, during the night about XX°C), with a light east wind and wonderful conditions. XXX until the end of XXX is our “hot” season and we frequently get afternoon thunderstorms which can bring a lot of rain and can be therefore very refreshing. Our “wet” season runs from XXX through XXXX with heavy rainfall and strong west winds. There is no scheduled diving during this time
What are the conditions like on the Islands?
Please go the destinations section of our website for descriptions of each of our destination sites and the conditions you can expect both underwater and on shore for each one.
Can we put our valuables in a safe deposit box?
You are able to place any valuables you wish in our safe (within reason – it’s not THAT large).
We also have a storage area for your bags during your adventure. Feel secure that your goods are safe while you are traveling.
What kind of food do you serve on board?
Indonesia is world-famous for the endless variety of tasteful dishes. Great selections of fresh fruits make for delicious snacks and fresh juices. Some of our dishes can be spicy – if you don’t like spice please ask for things prepared Western-style instead of Indonesian Style. Usually fresh fruit and vegetables are combined with both Asian and International Cuisines. We are happy to cater to all requests (within reason). Don’t be surprised to find French Fries next to Papuan curry, next to Sausages next to Fried Rice.
Is the food fresh?
All of our meals are served fresh and made right in the kitchen. Feel free to pop your head in and watch our chef prepare each meal.
Our meals feature Western and Indonesian dishes and you will be delighted with an array of rare and exotic treats.
I have special dietary requirements – what should I do?
Tell us in advance. We will pass on your dietary requirements to our chef to prepare meals for you. We are easily able to offer Vegetarian, Vegan, Lactose intolerant, Halal. If you have specific food allergies – no problem – as long as we know about it ahead of time!
Several of our staff have food requirements, so please don’t be afraid to ask!
Is alcohol included in the price of the trip?
No. We understand that this is your vacation and we are constantly striving to make it the best experience. We do offer Alcohol for purchase aboard our boat.
Can I recharge my torch, laptop, phone and camera on board?
Yes, the voltage is 220. And is on 24 hours, unless guests request silent time.
Is there phone reception, internet and email on board?
For many people being on a boat in the midst of natural paradise and out of contact with the pressures of the modern world is a little slice of heaven, but there are others who do need to be in contact, whether for business or personal reasons.
For safety we do have a satellite phone on board. Email access will be limited to the abilities of your mobile phone (3G is not available in most of the areas where we cruise – yet).
Where will the other guests on my trip be from?
Kurabesi Explorer caters to a wonderful eclectic mix of people and nationalities. English is used as our common language for briefings and courses. Assume your fellow adventurers are divers or snorkelers who are as passionate as you are about the marine life, flora fauna and culture of Eastern Indonesia.
What are the bathrooms on board like?
Each of the cabins on our boat has a private bathroom with hot water showers and western style toilets. We supply you with high-quality soaps that are all organic, phosphate free.
I am traveling alone – will I have to share a cabin?
The cabins on our boat are designed for shared use. For each trip we will make every attempt to match you up with an appropriate cabin mate. If there are two males traveling solo, we will place them in the same cabin. If we do have to place and solo male and female in the same cabin, we will let you know ahead of time. You always have the option of booking a cabin to yourself, if you are willing to pay the supplemental fee for single occupancy. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Where are the nearest Hospitals?
When sailing in Raja Ampat, the closest hospital to the areas that we cruise is the Pertamina Hospital in Sorong, which is the most modern hospital in the region. In Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat, there is Recompression chamber.
Where is the nearest hyperbaric chamber?
As mentioned above, the nearest chambers are on Waigeo Island, Raja Ampat.
What happens if there is an accident?
Our staff are trained in First Aid. We provide emergency kit and medicine, also many hours of 100% oxygen on the boat. Our emergency oxygen kits provide demand Inhalator valves, Non-rebreather masks and supplemental oxygen.
Our Tour leader has a satellite phone for direct contact (regardless of conditions) with local and international medical facilities.
What happens if there is a small medical problem?
We carry a first aid kit on board. The local doctor in Sorong, Manokwari or Ambon is quite affordable (about IDR 150.000 per visit).
What happens if I get seasick?
Seasickness can affect some people badly, and others not at all. It can affect some people sometimes and not other times. The dive season in Eastern Indonesia features generally calm seas. But conditions can change. We do carry mild medication for these instances, as well as local traditional herbal solutions.
What eco-friendly products do you use?
All of the soaps and detergents on Kurabesi Explorer are fair-trade, organic and phosphate –free. This means that any grey water from the showers, sinks and kitchen will be broken down and absorbed by the environment.
In addition they are very high quality and fun to use.
We do everything we can to eliminate any use of plastic on board our boat. To support this we offer reusable water bottles and straws, as well as special amenities such as bamboo toothbrushes and earbuds for all our guests. Our gift shop also offers a range of great bamboo cotton t-shirt as well as UPcycled accessories and naturally handmade local crafts.
When you dive with Kurabesi you can feel assured that you are making a difference.
What is your policy about trash?
It’s pretty basic… leave nothing but bubbles!
Littering under water is incredibly inappropriate. Our team carry trash bags during many of our outings, both on land and underwater. Please feel free to use these containers if you find any plastic or trash on site, especially plastic bags, once in the water closely resemble jellyfish, the main diet of many turtles.
Options for Cultural Interactions
What opportunities will I have to meet with local communities?
Can I bring something that will be of use for local schools or people?
The culture here is amazing! How can I best get involved?
About Diving & Snorkeling
Will I have a professional dive buddy?
Yes. All our trips are inclusive of dive buddies that have professional diving certifications. We never dive in groups of more than 4 guests.
Before each dive there will be detailed dive briefings and site maps.
If you are certified to dive as a buddy team and feel you do not need a guide do let us know, however the service is free, and our team knows the area and conditions.
Do you recommend I use a Dive Computer?
Our on-board dive buddies use computers and we strongly encourage you to use one as well. There is NO DECOMPRESSION diving on our boats and NO SHARING OF COMPUTERS.
Will we be diving from the liveaboard or from tenders?
Both. Our team will decide at each site, depending on currents, visibility and your comfort level as to how we will enter the water. Our captain is very experienced and can drop us on top of key sites. But when conditions warrant it we will use the tenders.
Where is good for diving with Manta Rays?
Manta Rays are stunning and exquisite creatures. They are not endangered, but they are also not common. We do see them at several different sites. These sites tend to be the deeper sites, but you never know!
The most common sightings are at XXXX and XXX. But over the years we have seen Manta Rays at almost every site in XXX.
Will I see whale sharks?
These wonderful and increasingly rare creatures are amazing. We cannot absolutely assure you of a sighting, however on almost all of our trips to XXXXX we do encounter whale sharks. The most common sightings are at XXXX and XXX. But over the years we have seen Whale Sharks at almost every site in XXX.
How deep are the dives?
Only as deep as you are certified. We visit several different sites. Of course each site has many options. We choose each site on each trip according to skill levels. We are not here to challenge or intimidate you, so please don’t feel overwhelmed. Our experienced staff can do each dive site at different levels.
How many dives can I do in one day?
We encourage you to dive at your comfort level. On our trips we normally do a 3 scheduled dives per day. But you are on vacation and and if you feel tired, please feel free to take a break and have a nap, or go snorkeling or spend some time on one of the pristine private beaches we will be cruising by. If you feel the need for more diving feel free to sign up for the next trip for new dive sites, different marine life.
Are night dives included?
We do, typically, offer some night dives on our trips. However your safety and comfort are utmost in our decision and our tour leader will notify guests when we are in an area that offers good conditions for optional night dives.
Can I learn about reef mapping when I’m on board?
Can I touch things?
Kurabesi Explorer has a strict non-interference policy. We are here as guests enjoying the underwater world. By touching things underwater we could destroy a home, ruin a relationship or be injured. So please do everything you can to avoid touching things.
Learning to control our movements and position in the water benefits both your own comfort and safety as well as the health of the reef. Reefs are constructed primarily by colonies of coral animals called polyps. By secreting a limestone skeleton, covered with a thin layer of living tissue over many years, these slow growing creatures essentially create their own geology. Although the limestone is durable, the soft-bodied polyps can easily be damaged by contact with hands, fins etc.
While the loss of one polyp doesn’t appear to be such a big problem, this spot will be more susceptible to infections and can cause further mortality on the colony.
Besides the impact on the coral, accidentally bumping into the reef can also harm you. Coral will easily cut through your soft skin, especially after you have spent some time in the water. Cuts in general, and coral cuts in particular, will heal slowly in the tropics, and are more susceptible to infection.
So for the mutual benefit of the reef and ourselves, we believe it’s both prudent and responsible to master the skills needed to minimize accidental close encounters with coral.
Is it okay to take souvenirs?
Yes – pictures and memories are strongly encouraged. Aside from that not only is it illegal to take souvenirs of any kind from a National Park, but it could cause serious degradation.
Please follow the principle of ‘dive and let live’. Even though it may not seem to be, living space on the reef is actually very scarce. Every little niche is or will be occupied soon by an organism of some type. Empty shells are a valuable part of the ecosystem, and they get recycled many times. Besides the obvious environmental concerns, some “live shells” can be quite dangerous. Some of the most beautiful (cone shells for example) contain animals that are highly toxic and when “captured” can cause serious problems. We discourage any shell collecting.
Those turtles are cute – can I feed them?
Turtles may be cute and relaxed, but they learn to trust humans (and the boats they come on) and go to them for easy food. Human food is generally not appropriate for turtles or other sea life. Try not to teach turtles these bad habits.
Can I drink and dive?
We do not encourage drinking and diving. If you want to have a beer please wait until you are done diving for the day. If you drink earlier in the day you will not be able to dive as anything that could impair your decision making abilities is not allowed. Safety first.
At the end of the day… or if you choose to stick to snorkeling…on the way home… feel free, beers are cold and ready for you. But not before. Please.
What are National Marine Park Fee requirements?
The XXXX National Park Entry Fee of IDR XXXX per person per each entry for both divers and non divers and National Park Fee for divers of IDR XXX per diver per day (divers only). Please note that prices may change without prior notice from the Indonesian Marine Department.
What are National Marine Park Fees for?
These fees go to the maintenance and upkeep of these precious biodiversity hotspots. It pays for buoys, subsidizes the Indonesian entry Fees, pays for the protection and monitoring of the usage and damage, and preservation of certain sites that are completely off-limits to divers.
Will I see more sites than if I stay in Raja Ampat?
This is one of the main reasons why, for many divers, a liveaboard is the best way to dive. Like a floating homestay you can move from one spot to the next, and take in a great range of dive sites – with plenty of time in between. We do more dives than the typical day trip and you get far more diving for your money.