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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captain s log 26 October - 6 November 2016
Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
Water Temp. 29 C - 30 C
Cruise Director: Antonio
Chief Officer: Bahri
Chief Engineer: Yuli
2nd Engineer: Daryanto
Oiler & Deckhand: Rahmad
Chef Assistant: Destri
Dive masters: Yamin, Jemy & Hery
Tender Drivers: Charly & Ody
Th: Laha Jetty x 2
Fr: Nusa Laut x 3
Sa: Tanjung Noret x 2, Tanjung Batu Payong, Ai Village
Su: Tanjung Batu Udang x 2, Batu Kapal
Mo: Koon (Too Many Fish) x 3
Tu: Gunung Laut x 2, Ultima Frontera
We: Nommon Island x 2, Nusa Ulang
Th: Little Komodo x 2, Saruenus, Bo s Rainbow x 2
Fr: Heidiland, Larry s Dive Heaven, Batu Jeruk, Christmas Rock x 2
Sa: Namatote Bagans x 2
GUESTS: Anne, David, Keith, Bruce, Reinhardt, Monika, Susan, Dennis, Julie, David, Lori, Wayne, Fay, Mark, and Connie
Thursday October 27th
We picked 2 guests in Ambon, another 2 in Laha and a group of 11 from the jetty of the Maluku Divers Resort… Early afternoon we had all our guests on board. We accommodated everybody in staterooms and had a lunch. We made an exception this trip and planned 2 dives for the first day. Both in Laha Jetty… Really special muck diving, getting all kind of good stuff: hairy octopus, sea horses, pipe fish, ghost pipe fish, squids nesting, giant frog fish, rinopias, cuttlefish, lots of morays… It became an interesting 70 minutes dive at the end.
We decided to repeat it in the night, and we got some more stuff and more night action.
Friday October 28th
We started our first day in Banda diving in Nusa Laut. First chance to spot the expected hammerhead sharks of this trip… And we got the first of them, just a lonely one swimming close us. Not a bad starting.
Back in the reef we got a huge school of jack fish, leopard moray eel, barracuda schools, few tunas passing, a big Wahoo… We end the dive in the shallow enjoying the beautiful hard corals of Nusa Laut surrounded by a lot of reef fish.
Second dive, same place again. This time with a stronger current from the North, bringing some action to the place as well. We spot hammerheads again, bigger than before, but more schools of fish around, facing the current looking for something to hunt.
The third dive has been in Nusa Laut again, this time in the Northern part, spending most of the time in the shallow, without any big fish, neither action, but enjoying the colorful coral reef, with many kind of reef fish, a turtle, moray eels… Even some nice macro like an ornate ghost pipefish and some nudi branches.
Just after the third dive we lever the anchor and start our long crossing towards Banda Islands, tomorrow the highest chances of get schools of hammerheads will happen.
Saturday October 29th
Wake up in Run Island, in front of Tanjung Noret Dive Site, one of the spots for HH sharks of this trip. The sea is calmed and the weather is nice… We prepare our divers for the first dive and suddenly a storm passing by starts pouring tons of rain… We expect not to see HH sharks with these conditions, but we still want to try… No luck, at the end, so we stayed close to the reef looking for reef fish and macro stuff.
Second dive, we try again in Tanjung Noret. Current was slightly stronger, from the South, flooding tide. Which was bringing more activity to the dive, much more fish schooling (fusiliers, surgeon, unicorn fish), couple of Napoleon Wrasses, lonely barracudas… In the reef we spotted some interesting macro critters, but again no luck with the HH sharks. Highlight: turtles, more than seven in one hit at the end of the dive.
For our third dive we moved the boat to Ai Island, and tried in Tanjung Batu Payong. We didn t expect HH here, and then we enjoyed the dramatic deep walls of the island, extremely blue water (40m+ visibility) and very healthy coral reefs. We spotted a mobula manta ray, turtles, Napoleon wrasse, groupers, fusiliers, surgeonfishes, and snappers… Best dive of the day.
We moved the boat in front of the village in Ai Island, to prepare our night dive. Most of the divers stayed for 70 mins or more, which make us understand they really enjoyed it. Lobsters, boxer crab, 4 eyes lion fish, several shrimps, scorpion fishes, worms, cuttlefish…
Sunday October 30th
After a pleasant night in front of Palau Ai village, we moved the boat to the South part of the island, to make two dives in Tanjung Batu Udang.
The walls here are much more dramatic, and go so much deep. Water was deep blue with a 40m + visibility and the corals and fish everywhere. We spotted several turtles here, 2 schools of jack fish, Napoleon Wrasses, and a lot of bump head parrot fishes, in the shallows we got an electric clam, scorpion leave fishes and much more other reef stuff.
Second dive in the continuation of the wall, where we finished the first dive. The wall was covered with huge sponges and sea fans, some of the biggest we ever saw. Visibility was lower, but fish was more active, due to the increase of plankton in the water. More schools of fusiliers, tunas, groupers, surgeon fishes hunting in the blue, together with trevallies and jacks.
Moving towards the East. We did our third dive in Batu Kapal, around Banda Islands. So far, the fishiest spot of the trip. Lots of red tooth triggerfishes, butterfly fishes, groupers, huge and quite a lot of green and leopard moray eels… The pinnacles of this spot, their big sponges and gorgonians made a delicious dive for the entire group.
After third dive, preparing for a long crossing towards Koon Island. All night sailing.
Monday October 31st
After 12 hours of navigation, with a decent sea, a bit rough but not too much. We arrived to Koon Island. One of the protected areas, near Raja Ampat that still belongs to Banda Sea area.
Our first dive in “Too Many Fish” (East Side) has been as its name indicates: lots of bump head parrot fish, crocodile fish, turtles, pompanos, a huge school of bat fish, scorpion leave fish, robust ghost pipe fish, snappers, barracudas… We are back in the fishy dives!
Second dive in the other side of Koon Island. This time the deep wall great us with more schools of fish in the blue, sweet lips, giant sweet lips, midnight snappers, white snappers, barracudas, tunas… Back in the slope again, the reef fish everywhere, plenty of life. Great dive again!
Third dive in Too Many Fish, has been the best of the day… Starting with no current, diving towards the slope reef, where a current coming from the blue started to bring colder water, plenty of plankton… So the best spectacle happened in this place: 2 schools of barracudas, giant groupers, tunas, pompanos, snappers, jack fish, all mixing in a fish soup difficult to describe. The unexpected: two dolphins came from the top and swim in front of us for a few seconds. Super great dive!
After the third dive anchor is levered and the boat starts sailing towards the East, another long 12 hours sail ahead to reach Palau Kraimer seamounts.
Tuesday November 1st
12 hours of navigation later and here we are. Close to Gunung Laut… A huge seamount in the middle of nowhere. We know the place but since we started visiting it still not yet fully explored by us, the area is too big to dive it in one time.
We spend most of the time in the wall (S side), and the spectacle of fish was as good as in Koon yesterday, but with much better visibility and almost no current: lots of schools of surgeon fish, neon fusiliers, unicorn fish, snappers, tunas passing by, Napoleon, sea turtle and lots of leopard and green moray eels. Some divers spent time in the reef getting nudis, crabs and other macro stuff.
For the second dive we jumped in the East corner, and drifted towards the North side, where a sandy slope with coral patches was showing us a less fishy, but also interesting dive. Pretty similar in life to the South side.
We started moving towards the East for our second dive, and… All of a sudden, the Cruise Director spotted an adult Orca with her baby, passing next to boat. Went back to the sun deck to tell all the guests there, and some of them could see them. All a moment of adrenaline!
Around 2 hours away we found “Ultimate Frontier”. Another seamount, as good as the other one. More schools of surgeons, fusiliers, more eels and some turtles too. Nothing special, but for sure not a boring dive.
End of dives for today, and we start navigating towards Papua Island, to enter Triton Bay area tomorrow morning.
During dinnertime we celebrated the birthday of Dave, on of our guests. With a special birthday cake and the whole crew singing to him in English and Indonesian. Congrats Dave!
Wednesday November 2nd
First dive is in Mike s Mount. One of the famous places in the routes Raja Ampat – Triton Bay… For security reasons we decided to not dive here and to move to boat to the coast to find a more easy dive. North of Nommon Island… Mostly macro, with a sloping reef going down to 15m only… Pretty fishy in the shallow, but we got focused in the sandy bottom, getting stuff like orangutan crab, ghost pipe fish, striped pipe fish, fire worms, rock remover fish, dart fish, and other kind of small lobsters, crabs and shrimps. Such a good dive for macro lovers.
For the second dive we moved the boat towards South of Nommon Island. This place showed us a more fishy face of Nommon Island, even spotted black tip sharks, big napoleon wrasses, rainbow runners and a big Wahoo. Giant clams in the reef, plus a lot of small reef fish everywhere. A couple of interesting boomies with fish aggregation, including a wonderful school of glassfish. Nice dive of the day.
Third dive in Nusa Ulang. Probably the most interesting dive of the dive, we discovered a ridge in a place where we haven t been before. Plenty of fish, up to 6 Napoleon Wrasses, school of Sweet lips, school of surgeon, bump heads, a lot of hard coral and reef fish.
Thursday November 3rd
Starting our first journey in Triton Bay… We planned 5 dives for today to compensate the days of long crossings with only 3 dives.
First dive is in Little Komodo. A Wonderland of soft coral, color and fish just surprised all the divers… Too much to be described in one simple paragraph… The soft coral formations were so gorgeous colorful and plenty of life. Just the visibility a bit low.
Second dive in Saruenus Island. Again another soft coral and color spectacle… The sea fans with pygmies, the schools of silver sight fish, snappers, sweet lips, a lot of groupers and barramundi cods, and high presence of angelfish.
Third dive, in the same area. Some divers decided to repeat Little Komodo, some others to repeat Saruenus. Visibility was a bit lower than the first two dives, but was still an outstanding dive. Plenty of fish and coral again.
For Sunset and night dive we chose Bo s Rainbow. Showing us its two different sides of the island. Both dives plenty of activity. Specially remarkable the cuttlefish and squids hunt of small fish.
Friday November 4th
Second day in Triton Bay… Again we planned 5 dives for today.
First choice has been Heidiland. Early day conditions but we could enjoy the wonderful soft corals, and first fish of the day. Snappers schooling, a few reef sharks, stingrays in the sandy area and several moray eels.
Second dive in Larry s Dive Heaven… Probably the best in Triton Bay for many people, stunning coral formations, plenty of fish and color, though a strong current surprised some divers who finished the dive earlier while the rest stayed the whole time.
Third dive in Batu Jeruk. Jeruk means “orange” in Indonesian, and this site gets its name from the high amount of orange corals that can be found everywhere… We got 2 woebegone sharks a huge marble stingray, napoleon wrasses among the usual schools that are getting use to see in all dives in Triton.
Sunset and Night dives in Christmas Rock: Some divers said that Mandarin Fish has been spotted today, but so far, no photos! What some other divers got was a walking shark (Triton Bay endemic one), bobtail squid, hairy squid, Bobbie worm, and a whole collection of shrimps and crabs that were everywhere.
Saturday November 5th
Moved to Namatota Island, in search of our old friends the whale sharks. After one hour checking the bagans we found the best of them with 3 whale sharks waiting for us. Thee of our crewmembers quickly organized the system to start feeding them and keep the animals around.
All our guests enjoyed 2 hours of dive surrounded by these gentle giants, taking pictures, videos and having a lot of fun.
After lunch we started navigating towards Kaimana, our destination harbor in which spent the next couple of days.
Just after the boat was anchored in the harbor, we organized a funny cocktail party in the sun deck, gave the trip awards and do a toast with the Raja Ampat Aggressor crew for a great trip that is just finished.
Sunday November 6th
Early in the morning, and after a warm farewell all our guests have been translated to Kaimana airport to depart to other connection airport and start their trips back home.