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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captains log 24 Sept – 04 Oct 2016
Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
Water Temp. 27 C - 29 C
Cruise Director: Antonio
Chief Officer: Ferdi
Engineers: Maxi & Rahmat
Chefs: Michael & Jemly
Housekeeping: Destry & Dian
Dive masters: Herry, Yamin & Jose
Tender Drivers: Ody & Jasman
Deck Hand: Rahmat
Sun: Sagof x 2, Farondi Reef, Wagmag
Mon: 4 kings, Wedding cake, Barracuda, Wayil Batam
Tue: Whale Rock, Nudi Rock, Tank Rock, Kalig Wall
Wed: Fiabacet Pinnacle, Boo Windows, Kalig Wall x 2
Thu: Shadow Reef x 2, Yillet, Romeo
Fri: Yillet, Grouper Net, Three Sisters
Sat: Keruo Channel, Melissas Garden, Rangers Reef, Arborek
Sun: Cape Kri, Sardines Reef, Cape Mansuar x 2
Mon: Friwinbonda, Mioskon/Blue Magic
GUESTS: Sandy, Pat, Bill, Vivian, Mark, Dar, Phyllis, Phil, Ray, Chris, Monika, Oleg & Arina
Saturday September 24th
The whole group stayed at the Marina Mamberamo Hotels and have been picked up at 13:00. Early afternoon we had all our guests on board. We accommodated everybody in staterooms and had a lunch. After lunch we had a welcome briefing and at 16:00 we decided to depart towards Misool area and have dinner while still navigating across Sele Strait, in case we get unexpected rough sea in the Ocean… It was calmed and nice. Arrived to Farondi Islands at 4am.
Sunday September 25th
We wake up in front of Sagof Island (Tree Island) were we will do our check dive.
We found a soft current coming from the NE so we started in the protected side of the island, a gentle drop off with almost no current and from first minute looking to an outstanding soft corals reef… Several groups of silver fish being hunted by jacks, trevallies and mobulas too. Barracudas, bat fish, groupers, pygmy seahorse, nudibranches.
It has been so nice, that we decided to dive again expecting the current to change making possible to dive the other side of the island, where visibility was better and more schools of fish were spotted. This time the mobula school was more active, hunting the bait ball, together with other predators… It was better than first dive. Ended in the protected side with a turtle and some macro stuff.
Our third dive planned was baby rock, but since Herry suddenly spotted an Oceanic Manta Ray from surface a few meters away from the boat, we decided to go there and check if there is something interesting… We got a big surprise when we found a sea mount that doesnt appear in any book nor other live aboard seems there diving before… A new dive site?
It was AWESOME, and will be difficult to be better during this trip… Fish, fish and more fish, constantly, almost no current and a lot of action: huge school of bait, mobulas, jack fish, tunas, trevallies, fusiliers, barracudas, rabitfish, bump head parrot fish, walking shark, macro stuff… It was an incredible surprise to discover such a wonderful new place.
Until we confirm that none was diving there before will keep the name of Farondi Sea mount, as Farondi is the name of the group of islands around.
We moved the boat to Wagmag for a pleasant night dive along a reef inside a bay… Our diver were lucky to get cuttlefish, bobby worm, Spanish dancer, nudibranches, crabs, shrimps and other night active creeters.
Monday September 26th
We moved during the night to Wayil Islands Group, first dive in 4 Kings:
We started with a soft current from W that at some point changed to E. That means we got the low tide slack time and good conditions… Another huge ball of silver sight fish was around, the bigger bonito tunas school seen so far in this trip, more jack fish, trevallies, rabbit fish, groupers all around a beautiful scenery with big sea fans and big table corals in the top of the pinnacles.
Our second dive has been in “Wedding Cake”. Pretty similar (and spectacular) to our previous dive. With similar bait balls, schools of fusiliers, trevallies, jack fish… Just no bonitos this time. In the protected side of the island, we got a juvenile Denise Pygmy Seahorse, and even coral goby parasites, nice macro moments in this dive.
Third dive at barracuda… Was surprisingly affected by a strong current that didnt allow us to enjoy the big schools in the deep ridge… So we stayed in the protected side looking for pygmy seahorses, crocodile fishes, scorpion fishes and other small creeters.
Night dive in the South part of Wayil Batan Island… Best night dive until now, with plenty of lobsters, crab, shrimps mostly… Especially the lobsters, more than 20 did the dive.
Tuesday September 27th
Early morning we moved to Fiabacet Islands group. Some of the best dives in the area are here.
Our first dive in Whale Rock has been really amazing. We got the best visibility of the trip, first group of reef sharks, a big school of jack fish rolling around the divers, Napoleon wrasses, barracudas, the silver sight fish where dominating the whole reef, until the spectacular pinnacle that some divers described as a “flowers shop” for the gorgeous colours shown by the soft coals in it.
Second dive has been nudi rock… And, well… Is just that all dive are so nice to go over and over. But for some divers this one has been the best dive of the trip (and we are only 3 days so far). Grey reef sharks, more schools of sliver sight fish, the biggest schools of barracudas so far, wahoos, mackerels, giant groupers, Napoleon wrasses, trevallies, surgeons… All around some of the biggest sea fans in Raja Ampat, as big as a person most of them.
Third dive: One group decided to go back to Nudi Rock, while another group decided to go to the planed site in Tank Rock… Difficult to see which was better. Nudi Rock was again an amazing dive, the highlight was a guitar shark in the sandy area. Tank rock showed the biggest grouper we ever saw in Raja, as big as an adult man, chased by a big Napoleon wrasse… Both dives were permanently surrounded by schools of sliver sight fish, fusiliers and the usual predators we find on every dive.
Night dive: in Kalig Wall, as usually night dive plenty of nice things, like squids…
Wednesday September 28th
We are still in Fiabacet area.
Our first dive has been split in two groups, one went to Tank rock another one went to Fiabacet Pinnacle. We had to say that group in tank rock got better stuff, such as reef sharks, giant grouper again, Napoleon wrasses and the always present bait balls and its hunters. The pinnacle highlight was a big school of big eye jack fish with lots of barracudas in the side, another giant grouper, Napoleon and bump head parrot fish.
Second dive: Boo Windows… Pleasant, blue water and no current. The reef was gorgeous, plenty of life and colour, sharks were less shy than usual, also wahoos and Spanish mackerels from the blue coming to visit us, close to the windows of boo a friendly school of bat fish. Few pygmies found in this dive too.
Third dive: Kalig wall. Sine the current as this time of the day is too strong to do small islands or sea mounts we decided to dive in the protected side of Kalig island. We got mostly focused in macro animals such us squids, pygmies, found a frog fish.
Night dive in Kalig wall again. Again protected side, with a couple of painted frog fish, lobster, squids, crabs...
Thursday September 29th
We decided to delay the whole schedule 1 hour to get better current condition and enjoy as its best 2 dives in Shadow Reef… Beyond previous opinions, this is the bet dive site in South Raja Ampat for most divers.
We got Oceanic Mantas, Reef Mantas, Giant Trevallies, giant grouper, wobeggongs, grey reef sharks, schools of all kind of fish, school of big eye jack fish, Napoleon wrasses, barracudas… It couldnt be better with blue water in a 25m visibility and almost no current.
We moved the boat towards the North, third dive in Yillet: Manta again, among other amazing reef inhabitants… Like more jack fish, groupers, Napoleon wrasses,etc
Night dive Romeo. Walking shark showed up again, 5 of them this time. Plus tiger shrimp, decorator crab, Spanish dancer...
Friday September 30th
Yillet has been again our choice but no manta during the first dive. Still was an amazing dive with a school of barracuda that wasnt seen yesterday, and some action of hunters attacking the sliver sight fish.
Our second dive has been so far the most fish action one, Grouper Net surprised us with a huge school of silver sight fish being hunted by at least 30 mobula rays, hundreds of jack fish (of three different kinds), trevallies, mackerels… We basically stayed statically around the ball without much kicking along the sea mount.
The third dive in Three Sisters has been more tricky, due to the strong current that was found in the middle of the dive. Our dive masters managed to stay in the protected side of the bigger of the islands. Getting focused in pygmies, orangutan crab, shrimps, and other little ones.
No night dive today and start 12 hours crossing to Central Raja Ampat to spend there the last days of the trip.
Saturday October 1st
After the long crossing we woke up in Penemu island ready to dive again.
Due to current conditions, we decided to dive in Keruo Channel in the morning. As usually it didnt disappoint us, current was not too strong but we spent the dive drifting… Some big stuff showed up like reef manta, eagle ray, school of bump head parrot fish, moray eels. The end of the dive in the sheltered part was nice and calmed surrounded by colourful soft corals.
Second dive has been in Melissas garden. Probably the best dive in Penemu area. Blue water, perfect visibility and no current to enjoy the coral full slopes of this place. Schools of fusiliers, black tip sharks, wobeggong, plenty of small reef fish such as anthias, file fish, puffer fish…
Third dive has been in Rangers Reef, but only 2 divers joined, since the majority of the group decided to go for a hiking in the Penemu Hills, enjoying first the spectacular views and second a small navigation inside the lagoon.
Arborek… Tagged as best night dive of the trip by majority of divers: Wobeggong swimming, lobsters, scorpion fishes, lion fishes, crocodile fishes, frog fish, flat worms,octopus, squids… And another walking shark!
Sunday October 2nd
First dive in Cape Kri, one of the “must” in Dampier Strait… Current was strong but manageable by all divers. And as usually the dive here was fantastic, with schools of jack fish, snappers, barracudas… Deep the oriental sweet lips school, an in the shallows black tip reef sharks, turtles, groupers.
Second dive in Sardines. We are used to have one of the best Raja Ampat dives here, but this time wasnt as amazing as expected… Fish were out of the reef, chasing for prays and we couldnt enjoy much action then. We still saw couple of sharks, trevallies and other predators.
Our third dive in Cape Mansuar has been more interesting… Getting both big and small stuff. Barracudas schooling, snappers, jakfish, up to 5 black tip reef shark… Once in the protected side we found some nice nudis, scorpion fishes, crocodile fishes, ghost pipe fish, pygmy seahorse…
We decided to do the night dive here as well. Got some sleeping turtles, a walking shark, squids, lots of crabs and shrimps and the best a harlequin shrimp eating a sea star…
Monday October 3rd
Woke up ready for our last day of diving in the paradise… Friwinbonda is the chosen place, trying to find an easy place with lots of things to see… And we scored, got a school of bump head parrot fishes, wobeggong, reef sharks, schools of yellow tail snappers, school of barracudas, even the conditions allow us to get some more pygmies and nudies.
Second and last dive in Blue Magic and Mioskon, splitting the groups to offer them what each want.
Nice and calmed dive in Mioskon with schools of yellow tail snappers, a wobeggong, small barracudas and some macro… Blue Magic and its current gave the divers a good gift:
Lunch, last briefing while the crew washes the equipment… At 4pm we did our cocktail party where we give all the awards, followed by a toast and all the congratulations to the crew for such a nice trip. Slowly and one by one, we settled the bills while some of our guests purchased some articles from our boutique..
After dinner we showed pictures from our guests and our photo pros… Last farewells before go sleep to prepare the long journey back home for our guests
Saturday September 24th
In the morning we said our farewells to our guests and send them to the airport. It was a great 7 day trip and we made new friends and had a very good time. We hope to see them all again!