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Reviews from emails & forums for City Seahorse & Deb Fugitt Liveaboard trips
Offering freedom, flexibility & maximum diving experiences on only the best dive sites in Raja Ampat. Limited participation trips at competitive rates
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Comments from divers on previous Raja Ampat trips with City Seahorse organized by Deb Fugitt:

"Hi Deb, Barbara and I are both finally back to Europe,..dark and damp...a far cry from our time in Indonesia. Somewhat belated but non the less a sincere thanks for the Raja trip, we had the most amazing trip, everything was great, top to bottom. Hope your all prepared for Christmas, have a great time and all the very best for the coming year."  
Steve & Barbara, professional dive instructors (on holiday) from UK & Italy - Dec 2012

"Deb, Once again THANK YOU VERY MUCH for a wonderful trip. The organization was outstanding and made everything work well... Your assistance getting through the process at the Sorong airport was much appreciated. please thank Norberto again for me. Dive and Travel safe. Perhaps we'll meet again in Raja."  
Harry, uw photographer from Virginia - Nov 2012

"Thanks Deb! Your info sheet re: Ondina was the best I've ever seen, including big operations like Aggressor."  
Randy, uw photographer from Texas - Sep 2012

"Hi Deb, Got your document and can read it just fine! You have certainly covered all the bases!!! I really like the way you deal with 'problem' divers."  
Liz, experienced diver from CO - Sep 2012

"Received your EXCELLENT Write-up. Have a new D7000 and Aquatica housing coming for this trip. Will get some pool time in beforehand and maybe a trip to the Keys. Like your rules about 'silt-free' diving and photo hogs."  
Harry, uw photographer from VA - Sep 2012

"hi deb- to follow up, we wanted to say that this was about our BEST DIVE TRIP EVER!!!!!!--there were so many incredible parts, i can't say which was best---the group on ondina was so much fun-nice to meet tony!--we also loved the diving style--freedom--it will be hard to be regimented in our future!"  
Max, uw photographer from WA - July 2010

"Thanks once again for organising such a great trip. Tony, Peter and I had a terrific time and enjoyed the diving and photographic opportunities immensely. The boat and the diving couldn't have been better set up for photography, which made the expedition really worthwhile from my point of view. I will definitely come again, sooner rather than later I hope.!"  
Mark, professional uw photographer from Australia - Dec 2010

"I've dived a lot, beginning 42 years ago, and for most of those years I worked at making myself a prune by immersing myself with students and trip members over many dive spots - from Christ of the Deep in the Keys at the beginning to the Caribbean, and on to the water off southeast Asia.

Here's the point: Deb Fugitt's trip to Raja Ampat that I took a couple of years ago probably was the high point of all my diving. It's not for sissies, but it ain't ice diving either (current may be a bit more variable than the Galapagos). A few plusses: the crew knew where I was in that sometimes-rapid current, even when I may not have been so sure; the crew didn't baby me (I'm old), but they knew when to help out; the boat was convenient for divers (what you needed, where you needed it, camera station well located at the stern, eg., separate wash tanks for camera gear, eg., a shower room for you and your wet suit, large equipment room, cabins that were just large enough not to loose things in, space topside to get away when I needed to); food that didn't weigh me down and tasted downright good - nearly all local dishes which the cooks adjusted for western tastes (and we could go back for more).

Deb has run these jaunts long enough to know when not to get in the way, yet when to watch a little more closely. Because I'm nearing ancient-hood and hadn't dived for a couple of years, she mother-henned me during my first dive; then we went our separate ways. No hassle.

As to the diving itself: I haven't been as amazed by the wet world since my wife and I first got in over our head in the '60's. There's really no way I can describe the scenery and animals, except to refer anyone interested to www.CitySeahorse.com. Sipadan in the old days may have come close, but this place is where I dream."  
Dick, professional uw photographer from IL - Dec 2010

indonesia liveaboard reviews, recommendations
recommended in "Clean Breaks: 500 New Ways to See the World"

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"I don't think I will ever be able to match the trip we took over the past three weeks. Maybe. I have doubts though. Serious doubts.....
After our rainforest trek, we packed up and headed out of Jakarta to Sorong to catch our liveaboard boat through Raja Ampat, Misool, and up to Lembeh. I have to say that diving in Raja Ampat exceeded all my exceptionally high expectations. I don't know how I held my regulator in my mouth on some of those initial dives since my jaw was dropping in disbelief at the sheer amount of life. I have never seen anything like it anywhere: not in Belize, Fiji, or even in Bali. It was just unbelievable. We saw an enormous amount of species in just the first few days. Unfortunately, I don't think anything will ever be able to compare. How do you do two days of diving and see wobbegong sharks, epaulet sharks, eels, seahorses, turtles, banded pipefish, cuttlefish, lionfish, crocodilefish, anenomefish, shrimps, crabs, nudibranchs, flatworms, robust ghost pipefish, sea snakes, and countless species of fish? It was mind boggling to see it all. Sometimes the dives were a kaleidoscope of color with soft coral, hard coral, fish, and crinoids in every imaginable color.

We even had the fortune to see both hard coral and soft coral spawning. Fricking AWESOME!!! !"  
Marianne, uw photographer from California - May 09

""I have seen my pictures with calm on my home wide screen and now I'm more satisfied than on board: this trip for me has been exceptional !!!!! Also I want to thank Norberto, Jerry and Aan, three dive guides truly very good. Deb and Tony have an exceptional organization: very compliments sincerely for you. I hope to repeat a trip with you. !"  
Adriano, expert uw photographer from Italy - Nov 08

    underwater photography contest winners
Susan, Mike, Mitch, Norberto,
1 Bintang and 3 laptops!

"The loveliest reefs in the world... Raja Ampat has held a magical attraction for me, and my visit there has been a long time in coming. Unspoiled reefs and great underwater critters, away from the crowds and the eco-pressures of the rest of the world. I finally got there on this trip, and we experienced a diverse range of habitats and marine life. From mangroves and jungle passages to current swept bommies and manta cleaning stations, this area has it all. I do intend to go back!

The trip was organized by Deb Fugitt and Tony Matheis to be photo-centric, and this focus made a great difference in my photo productivity, as we went to the right sites at the right times. Sometimes it was still a toss of the dice for currents, sunlight or visibility, but their locale specific knowledge really helped in choosing among our options."  
Linda, expert uw photographer from Oregon - Nov 08

"We found the trip to be exactly as advertised and it exceeded our expectations due primarily to the hard work of the excellent crew and to Deb's experience and attention for creating a photo rich environment. This was by far the best photography oriented dive trip that we've ever taken!"  
Karl, expert uw photographer from Texas - Nov 08

"The trip was one of two in the area organized every year by Deb Fugitt out of Texas, one of the first to fully recognize the value of this amazing area to divers. Deb's a fantastic photographer and organizes her trips around that pursuit. She also happens to be an amazingly dedicated trip organizer <big snip>

The Ondina is a diver’s dream. Constructed from bow to stern entirely of wood in the traditional Pinisi style, the vessel is not only beautiful to look at, but specifically caters to the liveaboard life.... <big snip>

One site ... was perhaps my favorite of all time. I was all but weeping in my mask with the sheer splendor of it. The garden in question is impossibly profuse with corals of every size and description, hard and soft, distributed in fields, clumps, outcroppings, small 'mountains', canyons, hills and valleys. There was a brain coral the size of a large igloo, with nary a mark on it. There were cup corals in the thousands, in wide open, orange splendor, climbing the walls of a coral face that formed the subterranean wall of a tiny rock island . Branching corals, including staghorns, formed vast fields, infested with clouds of tiny hovering anthias and other coral fish. Oriental sweetlips hovered cautiously under spreading umbrellas of table corals. A huge giant clam, lavender, green and black, lay open like a small Volkswagen whose roof had been cut away, exposing swollen upholstery. A large, beige and brown Wobbegong shark lounged on large scalloped coral, protruding eyeballs peering up from its weirdly fringed, flat face. Amid all this, reef fish flowed like rivers, lion fish hovered like alien spacecraft, occasional sharks darted and the sun blessed them all with glowing shafts of light.

I got to dive this site four times."   ... more... read full report
Peter, advanced uw photographer from Florida

"I just wanted to thank you for a really great trip - one of the very best I have ever done and from a photographic viewpoint, the most productive ever!"  
Don, expert uw photographer from Australia

"I've been on two of Deb's trips - one to St. Vincent and one the past few weeks with her in Raja Ampat. I organize charters myself, and the reason I've gone with her (and expect to again in the future) is that she simply constructs and runs outstanding uw photo trips. She goes out of her way to think of every detail, and directs the dive operators she uses so as to maximize photo opportunities for her groups. For example, I saw far more critters in St. Vincent in a week with her than I did in more than two weeks on a private charter I did in that area with my own group. Likewise, I had far more and better photo opp's in Raja Ampat on this trip last week than on a charter of the same length there that I organized earlier this year. I realize that this makes it sound like the trips I organize are crappy, and that's really not the case; it's just that Deb's trips are really a cut above.

BTW, Deb is not only a great organizer, she has a great photographic eye and is an extremely accomplished uw photographer in her own right. Unless you are a troublemaker who doesn't play well with others (in which case Deb reserves the right to send you home), I wholeheartedly recommend her trips. You'll get more than your money's worth."
Bruce, Intermediate uw photographer from USA

"I have only good things to say about the trip you organised. The diving was even better than expected. The crew and the boat were excellent, the food was a joy. I had a lot of laughs with Ricard, David and Co. I'd go back any day. I would have liked to stay longer in Misool, maybe an extra day, but that's a personal preference, I had never seen coral like this before (even after 5 trips to the Maldives, and the Maldives is great believe me). I am very suprised we didn't see more sharks, you never said sharks was not on the menu <joke>"
Jerome, expert uw photographer from Ireland

Undercurrent: Divers from our trips created reports on Undercurrent. If you would like a copy of their comments, please send us an email so we can tell you how to find them. Both gave our trips 5 stars in all appropriate categories.

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Diver's Comments:

"This was the only organized trip I have ever taken where I was able to dive the way I like to dive, no problems and no hassles. ... I'd like to join another of your expeditions in the near future."

"We found the trip to be exactly as advertised and it exceeded our expectations due primarily to the hard work of the excellent crew and to Deb's experience and attention for creating a photo rich environment. This was by far the best photography oriented dive trip that we've ever taken!"

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