What’s it like to LOB? 10 Days of Eat. Sleep. Dive. Repeat
Written by Ng Sin Seanne 31 January 2023.
I ushered in the new year with a first experience on a liveaboard (LOB) on a Phinisi-style boat made primarily out of wood for a long trip of 10 Days 9 Nights in a group of 14 divers. We sailed and did a total of 29 dives across the best dive sites in the central and southern areas of Raja Ampat.
My trip started with meeting the entire dive group at the Marina in Sorong with the LOB cruise director to get the administrative items i.e. marine park fees, signing liability forms out of the way.
We got on two speedboats and headed to the LOB parked further out. Once we got there, we were greeted with a loud cheer and big smiles by the LOB crew. First business in order, the cruise director gave us a safety briefing and what to expect throughout the trip in the living room. Then, we got a tour of the LOB, our dive group assignments, our stations on the dive deck, set up our gears and unpacked the items we needed in our rooms.
For better context, the sleeping arrangements for this LOB was four double rooms with private bathrooms and two triple rooms with a shared bathroom. I was in the triple room with my brother and his girlfriend. The room was rather small but comfortable!
The 10 Days were a routine of Eat. Sleep. Dive. Repeat. Honestly, if you love diving, this is a dream scenario! My day would typically look like this, weather dependent:
6.00AM Wakey Wakey
6.30AM 1st Dive
10.30AM 2nd Dive
3.00PM 3rd Dive
6.30PM 4th Dive
8.30PM Dinner then beer time!
Everything on the boat is full service. We had our rooms and bathrooms cleaned daily, our gear set up was taken care of, if you wanted food outside regular meal times, feel free to request. Because we were in Indonesia, we consumed a lot of Indomie (haha!). The group also had a fair share of snacks that we brought from freeze dried fruit, 1kg of coffee beans (oh we finished this! My friend brought a grinder and aeropress, while the boat had French press), Indonesia kek lapis to bakwa, cookies and jelly.
Some of my favourite moments include seeing mantas and the walking shark for the first time, witnessing a fish feeding frenzy, everyone “chup-ping” their space on the deck for a nap after breakfast, just chilling and listening to music while enjoying the blue and green scenery, doing silly things like climbing the mast of the boat and a lot of peeing in the ocean as a group when the boat’s freshwater maker malfunctioned due to overworking. Apparently, we consumed an unusually high amount of water. On top of that, there was barely any network connection, even once going 3 consecutive days with none. For someone like me who constantly is on my laptop and phone for work, the digital detox was much welcomed!
For new year’s, our very talented crew played the guitar and sang songs. We were parked in Misool with 7 other LOBs in the vicinity and at the ring of midnight, the boats took turns to launch fireworks – super cool!
- I would also like to point out that my LOB experience is unique
It was a private charter. My friend chartered the entire LOB and some of the divers had already known each other prior. This helped in customizing and personalizing the dive plan ahead of time. FYI, Flow also does private charters for our LOB trips too!
- As 8 of us had cameras, we planned for more muck and macro diving.
- We all dived on nitrox and did 60-minute dives minimum. Most LOBs will charge additional for nitrox but ours was already included as part of the dive package.
On top of that, here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of doing an LOB
- LOBs range from budget to luxury and of course the price you pay and the level of service you get, both increase in tandem.
- Bring all the basic meds you could possibly think of – decongestion, ear drops, Panadol, cough medicine, seasick pills, tummy pills. You never know when you’re going to fall sick or when bad weather kicks in and the boat rocks hard – we had a few days of bad weather.
- Don’t feel obliged to do all dives – go at your own pace
- Please factor in tips for your dive guides and boat crew as a small token of appreciation in your budget! They go out of their way to make your experience on the LOB wonderful. For most LOBs, this is mandatory and there will usually be a recommended minimum.
- Your experience is also dependent on the people you’re on the boat with.
Honestly, an LOB is definitely a must-try for all divers. You get to meet and bond with new friends, see new things underwater and explore what different countries have to offer for diving.
Convinced? Flow has a number of LOB trips planned this year in Komodo and Maldives. Come join us on these epic trips! Feel free to whatsapp us (6012.5229257) or email us at email@example.com for more information!