*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
*Water Temp. 29 C - 30 C
Cruise Director: Urik
Chief Officer: Ferdi
Chief Engineer: Yuli
2nd Engineer: Maxi
Chef Assistant: Destri
Dive master: Danny
Dive master: Jemy
Dive master: Herry
Tender Driver: Carly
Tender Driver: Ody
Su: Sagof, Farondi Seamount, Baby Rock, Wagmab
Mo: No Contest, Plateau, Love Potion No. 9, Love Potion No. 9
Tu: Black Rock (Batu Hitam), Andiamo, The Candy Store, The Candy Store
We: Shadow Reef (Magic Mountain), Gus Ridge, Shadow Reef, Romeo
Th: Tank Rock, Nudi Rock, Whale Rock, Whale Rock
Fr: Boo Rocks, Yillet Kecil, Grouper Net
Sa: Melissas Garden, Keruo Channel, Galaxy, Keruo (Night)
Su: Cape Mansuar, Cape Kri, Sardine Reef, Mioskon
Mo: Blue Magic, Mioskon
GUESTS: Colin, Adrian, Fiona, Nicole, Karl, Linda, Randy, Suzy, Nick, Liz, Tom, Sean, Jane, Wei, Scott, Janis
Saturday November 26th
At around noon, as planned, we had our guests boarding the vessel with the crew waiting to greet them all with a soft drink. Urik, the cruise director, proceeded with showing each one their staterooms. Having unpacked and transported the dive gear to the deck, the guests then had lunch. After the meal a complete welcome briefing was done, giving information about the boat, crew and safety procedures. This was also an opportunity for everyone to present themselves. The rest of the afternoon was for relaxing, getting comfortable in the room and making some more adjustments to the dive and photo equipment.
Dinner was served a little bit earlier than usual to respect the resting time after a long trip and as we were having dessert Urik explained the diving procedures. Finally all retired to their rooms. By this time we were on our way to Misool, south Raja Ampat, our first destination.
Sunday November 27h
In the morning, already in South Raja Ampat, we woke up around Two Tree Island, where we would be diving for the day. Our first dive, as usual, was a check dive for the guests to get comfortable diving from our liveaboard. The dive site name is Sagof and, as a good preparation for diving in this region, some current was present. The dive guides, nevertheless, helped making the dive smooth for everyone and a few highlights were: Hawksbill Turtle, Napoleon Wrasse and different species of jacks (Goldspotted and Blue) chasing schooling fusiliers (Yellowtail, Blueline and others) on the edge of the reef. For the ones interested in macro there were a few different kind of nudibranchs and also anemone shrimps to be photographed in between the hard and soft coral, abundant on this region.
After a full breakfast was time for the second dive of the day, in Farondi Seamount. This dive, according to the guests, was an amazing one, even though the visibility was slightly limited (in between 10-15 meters/33-50 feet). Schooling Yellowtail Barracudas were seen on the split point and also on the blue the first Manta Ray was spotted by the divers! Camouflage masters like the Wobbegong Shark, Leaf Scorpionfish, Pygmy Seahorse and Ornate Ghost Pipefish were also photographed.
As the divers came back and had some rest was time for lunch. After the meal we made the third dive of the day: Baby Rock. The current this time was almost non-existent and the guests could spot a few Napoleon Wrasses, Bumphead Parrotfishes and Spanish Mackerels cruising around the slopping reef, covered in soft coral. Besides that on the shallows an extensive array of nudibranchs and flatworms could be photographed together with a couple of Ornate Ghost Pipefishes.
The night dive, done in Wagmab, served as an excellent possibility to spot critters, to name a few: Satohi Pygmy Seahorse, Tasseled Scorpionfish and a different nudibranchs, flatworms and moray eels, like the Barred-fin. Back from the dive was time for dinner. After it Urik, the cruise director, recaptured the day and reinforced the itinerary with the guests. Finally, after this beautiful day of diving it was time for sleeping to prepare for what will come next.
Monday November 28th
Just a few miles towards east is the area known as Balbulol, our destination for the day. Having first a light breakfast we then started to prepare for our first dive, in No Contest. The current was a factor to be considered on this first dive and the divers, for protection, stayed on the sheltered side of the three pinnacles that form the dive site. Highlights were a considerable concentration of schooling Big-Eye and Golden Spotted Jacks, Yellowtail Barracudas and Bumphead Parrotfishes in between two of the mounts.
Having had a full breakfast and some rest, the guests started preparing for the second dive, in the beautiful Plateau. This dive site was ideal for macro lovers considering the abundant amount of colorful nudibranchs, sea slugs and flatworms spotted by our dive guides especially in the shallows, together with crustaceans like the Hairy Shrimp; besides that it was an opportunity to spot a Denise Pygmy Seahorse! Schooling around were batfishes, surgeonfishes and fusiliers.
After lunch and a longer surface interval was time to head for the third dive, done in the soft coral garden named Love Potion No. 9. According to the guests, the beauty of the coral formations was stunning and great for wide angle photography, even though the visibility was still in between 10-15 meters/33-50 feet. Neverthelees, a few creatures spotted through the macro lenses were the soft coral crab Hoplophrys oatesii, Zanzibar Whip Coral Shrimp and a other critters, like the Orange-spotted Pipefish and a couple of different scorpionfishes.
After sunset, for the benefit of the guests, the night dive also took place in Love Potion No. 9. This time the dive guides highlighted, in between others, a lot of critters distributed in different species of nudibranchs and crustaceans, like the Decorator Crab. Nevertheless, this dive was also the first opportunity the guest had to see the Epaulette (walking) Shark along with a free swimming Fimbriated Moray.
We then headed back to the liveaboard for dinner and a presentation on history, geography and biodiversity of the Raja Ampat regency, done Urik. By this hour, glad with their dives, some guests stayed up working on their photos, others talking in between each other and most of them retired to their rooms.
Tuesday November 29th
Anchored in the area of Daram. This is where we spent the day and the first dive was done in Black Rock (Batu Hitam – in Bahasa Indonesia). With a mild to moderate current, it was time for the pelagic life to put on a show with schools of Yellowtail and Chevron Barracuda, different species of fusiliers and snappers (e.g. Red Snapper) and also batfish. As the cherry on top of the cake the guests could also spot a group of Mobula Rays hunting the small bait fish close to the reef.
The second dive, done with less current than the previous, was in Andiamo, one of the most sough after sites of the area. Around the two pinnacles covered in hard and soft coral and huge gorgonian sea fans the guests could spot more pelagic life consisting in schooling Spanish Mackerels, Bonito Tuna, Yellowtail Barracudas, different species of jacks and fusiliers, between others. Towards the end of the dive, on the southeast ridge, the guests had another opportunity to see an Oceanic Manta Ray swimming in between the schooling fish!
Next came an Indonesian style lunch followed by some rest. The third dive of the day was in the colorful site named The Candy Store, with enough life for both wide-angle and macro, the guests were very glad with their pictures. Devil Ray, colorful soft coral distributed in between huge sea fans along the wall formation and batfish provided plenty for the first group. For the macro lovers, a few highlights were: Reef Scorpionfish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Spotfin Lionfish and a few different nudibranchs.
The last dive was done again in The Candy Store result of the abundance of macro life suitable for night diving. Spotted by the dive guides were many crustaceans, like the Boxer Crab, Marbled Shrimp, Porcelain Soft Coral Crab and other bottom-dwellers like the Lionfish and Tasseled Scorpionfish. Another highlight was a big green turtle sleeping on the plateau that stands on top of the site! Dinner was then served and the guests watched a presentation on Pygmy Seahorses done by the cruise director. After that we called it a day and started heading to the direction of Warakaraket, our destination for tomorrow.
Wednesday November 30th
Early in the morning we were already in the surroundings of Warakaraket, where we stayed for this special day of diving. Known for being a regularly visited place by Manta Rays, our guests get to spend a lot of time with them!
The first dive was done in Shadow Reef (a.k.a. Magic Mountain) and, according to the divers, it was simply spectacular! Besides the congregation of pelagic fish (jacks, snappers, mackerels) chasing countless schools of fusiliers and smaller fishes, a few Reef and Oceanic Manta Rays blessed the groups swimming around them; a joy for the photographers. As if it wasnt enough, the guests get to experience a Whale Shark swimming in the wild, absolutely amazing!!!
The second dive was in the neighbour reef named Gus Ridge, another known cleaning station. With the currents bringing nutrients to the water, this time the guests get to experience two groups of Oceanic Mantas being cleaned, one of two and other with three of them swimming around.
Third dive, done regarding a wish from the guests, was again in Shadow Reef and happened to be another amazing one. A few Reef Manta Rays were photographed cruising in the current while being cleaned and the continuous action provided by the pelagic fishes was just breathtaking! On top of that the divers also spotted a Green Turtle feeding and two huge Napoleon Wrasses.
Having enjoyed the sunset while watching dolphins swimming around the liveaboard and then getting some rest, was time for the night dive, done in Romeo. Critters were everywhere, ranging from shrimps, crabs, Crocodile Flathead, lionfishes and scorpionfishes. Also spotted were five Epaulette Sharks!
Coming back it was time for shower and finally dinner. The theme of the presentation done by Urik this night was Whale Sharks. After that the guess, extremely glad with a fantastic day of diving, retired to their staterooms and we started heading to Fiabacet.
Thursday December 1st
Early in the morning, already in the region named Fiabacet, and after the daily light breakfast, the guests started preparing for the first dive of the day, done in Tank Rock. Cruising along the reef filled with sea fans, gorgonians, whip, wire and leather coral, divers could see a few Whitetip and one Blacktip Reef Shark passing by on the blue. On the wall, besides a Wobbegong Shark, there was a variety of smaller animals like Pygmy Seahorse, Orangutan Crab and Bubble Coral Shrimp.
Next dive was in Nudi Rock, like the others, named because of the curious formation of the islet, in this case ressembling a nudibranch. Hosting a colorful soft coral garden, it was where macro photographers pointed their lenses to capture, in between others, a Denise and a Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse. Pelagic life was abundant too, with schooling Pick-handle and Yellowtail Barracuda, Grey Reef Shark and a couple of Malabar Groupers seen.
After lunch and rest guest had the opportunity to dive in Whale Rock, a neighboor dive site. Having drifted along with the current for the first part of the dive and observing the hard and soft coral present along the slopping reef, the last part was spent in a sheltered area. Spotted were: a considerable amount of surgeonfishes taking turns in a cleaning stations, Electric Clam, Whipe Coral Shrimp, nudibranchs and another Pygmy Seahorse!
Having enjoyed the sunset in this beautiful area of South Raja Ampat while resting in the sun deck, guests started the preparation for the night dive. This time, the most celebrated founds were mating Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorses, Epaulette Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark and Pygmy Cuttlefish. A very nice night dive overall!
Dinner was served at around 8:00pm, as usual. As the final activity Urik did a presentation on the Epaulette Shark, also known as walking shark, which the guests had observed the previous days. After that we stayed around talking for a bit and retired to rest.
Friday December 2nd
This was the last day of diving for our guests in Misool, South Raja Ampat, and the farewell tour was nothing short of great according to them! The currents were completely manageable and visibility was fair (10-15 meters/33-50 feet) all day. First dive of the day was done in Boo Rocks, famous for it windows forming an underwater passage that give a special character to the dive site. A huge Giant Moray and a cruising Blacktip Reef Shark swimming past schooling snappers were some of the highlights of this dive. The macro life spotted were, in between others, Pygmy Seahorse, Porcelain Crab, nudibranchs and Tasseled Scorpionfish.
Full breakfast and some rest was next and the following dive was done in Yillet Kecil. Right in the beginning of the dive guests got to see a small pod of dolphins passing by on the blue! A Whitetip Reef Shark, schooling batfishes getting cleaned and smaller animals like the Bubble Coral Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, nudibranchs and a few Pygmy Seahorses, including the Raja Ampat endemic specie ,were caught by our guests cameras.
The third dive of the day, done in Grouper Net, was spectacular! A school of more than fifty Mobula Rays were seen chasing inumerous bait fishes along with schooling jacks and snappers and that for itself left everyone impressed. Also seen was a Reef Stonefish, nudibranchs and another Pygmy Seahorse. Definitely an amazing dive!
Since this was the day of our crossing from South to Central Raja Ampat (Dampier Strait), our destination for the next days, there was no night dive done and we had dinner earlier, after enjoying sunset already on the way to the region of Peneimu. After the meal, Urik showed some of his underwater photography work and also shared information about diving in the Dampier Strait. Finally, some guets decided to stay in the salon for a bit while others used to opportunity to rest a little longer, going to bed earlier. Another great day on our trip!
As a very important note, this day we celebrated the milestone of a few of our guests. Wei Lin, for completing 100 dives, Colin, 600 dives, and Fiona, 1500 dives! They were all congratulated by the Raja Ampat Aggressor Diving Team.
Saturday December 3rd
Having arrived in the morning in the surroundings of Peneimu, Central Raja Ampat, our first dive of the day was in Melissas Garden. Diving the sheltered area of the reef in order to avoid the stronger currents of this early morning, the guests were amazed by the extensive hard coral garden that cover the shallow part of this dive site. Bottom-dwellers were a highlight, with a few species of scorpionfishes and lionfishes being spotted. Crabs, like the Porcelain and Hairy, and nudibranchs were also photographed. Besides that, a Blacktip Reef Shark was seen cruising around.
The second dive of the day was in Keruo Channel and the current provided a good opportunity for a drift dive along this wall covered in gorgonians, sponges and by the southern shallower part, soft and hard coral. Different species of groupers, Grey Reef Sharks and a big quantity of smallers reef hovering above the coral garden gave life to the landscape. Closer to the reef, a couple of moray eels and crustaceans were pointed out by the dive guides.
Having had lunch and rest, it was time for the third dive of the day, in Galaxy. The divers were quite glad with this dive, specially because of the variety of macro life found by the guides. Nudibranchs, Pygmy Seahorse, Tasseled Scorpionfish, lionfish and also a couple of Harlequim Shrimps were caught by the cameras. A very pleasant dive for macro lovers!
A little bit before sunset Urik took the guets on a little trek to a view point of the karst rock formations in the region (Peneimu and Fam). After that there was still time for a short cruise around the islets and lagoons around. Night dive was in Keruo (Night) and there were two highlights that stood out: Pygmy Cuttefish and a Blue-Ringed Octopus. A great night dive!
Finally, coming back was time for show and dinner. During dessert Urik did a presentation on the Derawan Islands, Raja Ampat Aggressor destination coming July 2017! After the guests went to their rooms and while we were already on our way to Kri, our final destination for the next day and a half of diving.
Sunday December 4th
We woke up already in the surroundings of the is island of Mansuar and Kri, where we did the first dive of the day, in Cape Mansuar. With the visibility still somewhere around 10-15 meters/33-50 feet, the tone for the day, and mild currents bringing pelagics around, it was time for some wide angle photography. In the blue, spotted were schooling jacks, like the Giant Trevally, Yellowtail Barracudas and Bumphead Parrotfishes. A Grey Reef Shark was also seen cruising by.
The following dive was in Cape Kri, famous for its abundant fish action, especially in stronger currents, which was the case on this dive. A Grey Reef Shark was spotted together with schooling Big-Eye Jacks and on the edge of the visilibity more barracudas! On the deeper part of the reef the photographers had the opportunity to capture a bowl of Ribbon and Oriental Sweetlips that congregate around a coral head. Besides that, right in the beginning of the dive a big Green Turtle was feeding on the reef with a couple of remoras on its shell.
Third dive, done after lunch, was in Sardine Reef, one of the most famous dive sites of the Dampier Strait. This time the current was mild and the guests had the opportunity to see schooling fusiliers, batfishes, Yellowtail Barracudas, a couple of Wobbegong Sharks, Bumphead Parrotfishes, a few Blue-spotted Stingrays, in between others.
After the dive snacks and a cup of hot chocolate were available and most of the guests used the rest of the day to get some rest and prepare for the night dive, done in Mioskon. Some of the highlights were: Decorator Crab, Wobbegong Shark, Slipper Lobster, Blue-spotted Stingray and a few nudibranchs that havent been spotted before, according to the guests.
Dinner was then served and after enjoying the meal was time for Urik to explain what would be the schedule for our last full day together in order to make sure that all guests were in the same page with the crew. By the end of it was time for his presentation on some of the primitive traces of the papuan culture from the past, one of them the cannibalism. Finally, guests retired to their staterooms in order to rest for the last day of diving, tomorrow.
Monday December 5th
This was the last day of diving for our guests on this trip and the two dives done in the morning offered left everyone very glad! The first, in Blue Magic, was an opportunity to see one of the most sough after dive sites of all Raja Ampat. The highlights were Yellowtail and Pick-handle Barracudas, Big-Eye Jacks, schooling fusiliers, Dogtooth Tuna, Spanish Mackerel all involved in some kind of action on the blue. Closer to the reef the photographer could picture another Wobbegong Shark.
The second dive was in Mioskon and the current was very mild, letting guests to turn their attention to the macro life and critters spotted by the dive guides. Schooling snappers, anemone shrimps, Harlequim Shrimp and one more Wobbegong Shark were seen! Coming back with a smile on their faces, it was time to put the gear away for the crew to take care of rinsing it!
After shower was time for lunch and to watch the video done by Urik showing some of the incredible underwater life that the guests had the opportunity to witness and will save as a memory from Raja Ampat. The crew then openned the boutique for souvenirs and, already on our way back to Sorong, we had our farewell party in the sun deck.
The crew started it with a little performance for all and after Urik announced the prizes.
Sean, Scott, Tom and Karl won the Aggressor Iron Diver Award for doing all dives possible during the cruise!
Also, Wei (100), Colin (600), Linda (1000) and Fiona (1500) received their awards as Milestone Divers. Finally, Sean and Wei also received their congratulations for completing the SSI Enriched Air Nitrox course.
We then took pictures together and had time to share our experiences from this trip, a great time together. Sunset time arrived and we had dinner. After a slideshow was shown with the pictures taken by the guests during the cruise. Finally, it was time to rest and prepare for our last good-bye in the morning.
Tuesday December 6th
In the morning, it was time for our last meal together. We then said our farewell to the guests and took them to the airport for their trips out of Sorong. The cruise was excellent, a lot of marine life was seen and friends were made. We hope to see them again!