Raja Ampat Aggressor Captains log *10 January 2017
*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
*Water Temp. 28 C - 30 C
Cruise Director: Urik
Assistant CD: Cassio
Chief Officer: Ferdi
Chief Engineer: Daryanto
2nd Engineer: Sahmud
Chef Assistant: Jemly
Dive master: Jemy
Dive master: Hery
Dive master: Yamin
Tender Driver: Jasman
Tender Driver: Ody
We: Sagof, Farondi Seamount, Batu Kecil (Baby Rock), Wagmab
Th: Batu Hitam (Black Rock), Andiamo, Andiamo, Candy Store
Fr: Karang Bayangan (Shadow Reef), Karang Bayangan, Boo Window, Romeo
Sa: 4 Kings, Barracuda Rock, Wedding Cake, Dunia Kecil
Su: Whale Rock, Nudi Rock, Tank Rock, Whale Rock
Mo: Grouper Net, Plateau, Love Potion No.9
Tu: Melissas Garden, My Reef, Galaxy, Keruo (Night)
We: Cape Mansuar, Cape Kri, Sardine Reef, Mioskon
Th: Blue Magic, Mioskon
GUESTS: Dima, Alexander, Alex II, Sema, Olga, Stas, Keseniia, Uirii, Tatiana, Elena, Evgenii, Nikolay, Alexey, Vladimir, Alex
Tuesday January 10th
Our guests arrived on time and all the crew was there to greet them. First, they were shown their staterooms in order to put their luggage to rest and then we preceded with our welcome lunch, prepared by our chef Michael and his assistant, Jemly. After the meal, Urik, our cruise director, shared a presentation on the history, norms and safety of our yacht. Finished the presentation was time for the guests to either rest or unpack their equipment. The second done with the assistance of our divemasters, Jemy, Hery and Yamin.
This day we had, to respect our guests rest after a long journey, an early dinner. During dessert Urik proceeded with a second presentation, informing the divers on the logistics of diving from our vessel. This was our last activity. After it some went retired to their rooms while others stayed up talking for a bit. By this time we were already on our way to our first diving spots, situated around the Two Tree Island in Misool, South Raja Ampat.
Wednesday January 11th
We woke up close to our first dive site and as our guests had a light breakfast, we arrived. The name was Sagof and it is comfortable site chosen for the check dive. Even though this was an opportunity for the divers to start slowly their trip, there were already a few highlights to be seen: Bumphead Parrotfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Papuan Scorpionfish, Twotone Dartfish and Yamin, our Divemaster, spotted two mating octopi!
Back from the first dive it was time for a full breakfast and a short rest before the second dive of the day, done in Farondi Seamount. It was a very fishy dive, with congregating Bluestripe, 5-Lined and Spanish Flag Snapper, schooling Yellowtail and Chevron Barracuda and patrolling Trevallies, like the Golden-spotted and Giant, cruising along the this seamount. Hidden in some of the hard coral heads seen in the top of the reef the divers also got to see Crocodile Flathead and Wobbegong Shark. Finally, even though from distance, a Manta Ray was seen by another Divemaster, Hery.
The third dive of the day was done after lunch and a longer surface interval. The dive site chosen was Baby Rock and plenty of macro and critter life was found. Brown-banded Pipefish, Ornate Ghost pipefish, Tasseled Scorpionfish, Hinge-beak Shrimp and different kinds of nudibranchs, like the Flabellina, were some of the highlights. What also stood out according to the divers were the soft coral cover along the wall and slopping reef and also the variety of other structures like gorgonians, boomies, staghorn coral, in between others.
As the groups came back, they were welcomed with a snack and had time to rest or enjoy the sunset while we were navigating west, in the direction of Wagmab where we had our night dive. The highlights were plentiful, ranging from Wobbegong Shark, pointed out by the Divemaster Jemy, Pygmy Cuttlefish, Papuan and Tasseled Scorpionfish, Decorator Crab ad a few different nudibranchs and flatworms. A great night dive!
After a hot shower the guests settled for dinner and during dessert Urik did a presentation about Pygmy Seahorses, sharing information about how to improve the chances on spotting them. Finally, it was time for rest and most of the guests retired to their staterooms. We sleep in Wagmab and will only start moving early in the morning.
Thursday January 12th
Early in the morning we were already at our first dive site for the day, Batu Hitam, Black Rock in Indonesian. The visibility was very good (15-20 meters/50-66 feet) and the currents were manageable on the walls situated on both sides of this reef. Those are covered in gorgonians, leather coral and hosting a few black coral colonies, home to Glassy Sweepers, besides other kind of coral formations. Along it, our guests go to see congregating snappers, scorpionfishes and a few crustaceans. Swimming on blue were, in between others: schooling batfishes, fusiliers, Yellowtail Barracuda and a Napoleon Wrasse.
The second dive, after breakfast, was in Andiamo, a dive site big enough for more than one dive. This time we decided to dive around the two pinnacles of the reef, where schooling jacks (Giant, Blue and Orange-spotted Trevallies), fusiliers and Yellowtail Barracuda provided a great view. In the crevices the divemasters pointed out critters like lionfish, Papuan Scorpionfish and other macro life, like the Orangutan Crab. A very pleasant dive that finished along a plateau densely covered by soft and hard coral. This dive, as the next one in the same site, had small to non-existent currents.
Lunch and rest time came and the next dive was, again, in Andiamo, but this time along the ridge that hosts an incredible amount of fish life. Yellowtail Barracuda, Malabar Grouper, Blue-lined and Yellowtail Fusilier, Giant Trevallies, Red Snapper and others highlighted the reef, where tables of coral and crevices provided refugee for, in between others, Diagonal-banded Sweetlips. As for smaller creatures, Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse and a few different shrimps were seen. Even though the visibility on this part of the reef was slightly limited (10-15 meters/33-50 fee), it was great dive, according to the guests.
Our night dive was in the neighbor Candy Store and there were a few highlights, like: Bubblebee Shrimp, Hawksbill Turtle and the first Epaulette (walking) Shark of the trip! After we had dinner and finally the cruise director, Urik, talked about the schedule for the following day, explaining in a bit more detail about what to expect from the dive sites. By this time we were already further south, on our way to Yillet.
Friday January 13th
We woke up around the island of Warakaraket, southeast Misool. In this place we did two dives in the same dive site, which has three names: Karang Bayangan, Shadow Reef and Magic Mountain. It is widely known for being a Manta Ray cleaning station and hosting a considerable amount of reef around its hard coral covered seamount and ridge.
Both dives were fantastic and had our divers smiling afterwards! The currents present brought a lot of nutrients in the water and, consequently, Oceanic and Reef Manta Rays were seen (including one completely black) together with Grey and White tip Reef Shark and schooling fusiliers, jacks and Red Snapper and that made both dives action-packed ones. In the shallower part of the reef, a wide variety of wrasses, anthias and damselfishes also offered plenty to look at for the ones who tried to indentify some of the species.
The third dive of the day was done in Boo Window, famous an entrance on this islet that forms a window and gather attention of the ones who dive on it. But the formation was just part of the dive, even though there were some current present and the visibility was slightly limited (10-15 meters/33-50 feet), the guests could enjoy a small group of Grey Reef Sharks, schooling Parrotfish and congregating snappers. As for the smaller creatures, a Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse and also an octopus, in between some crustaceans, were pointed out by our divemasters.
Our night dive was done close by in Romeo. This is a hot spot for observing the Epaulette Shark and our divers got to see a few of them! After dinner, Urik did on the Walking Sharks. We will sleep in the area tonight and start heading west, towards the group of islands called Wayilbatan, in the morning.
Saturday January 14th
Early in the morning we were already in the region of Wayilbatan. Our first dive was in 4 Kings, site formed by four connected pinnacles and that usually host schooling fish. The currents present in fact brought considerable pelagic life in the form of Yellowtail and Blue-lined Fusilier, Golden-spotted, Giant and Big-Eye Trevallies, Grey Reef Shark and two Giant Groupers! There were also some macro life in the protected side of the reef: scorpionfishes, nudibranchs and crabs, like the Orangutan Crab.
The second dive of the day was in Barracuda Rock and, as it was for the day, the visibility was outstanding (25+ meters/82+ feet). This is another site that hosts a good quantity of fish, especially two schools, one of Big-Eye Jack and other of more than a hundred Yellowtail and Chevron Barracudas. Sweet lips, moray eels and lionfish’s were also seen in the considerable overhang that got the attention of the divers.
Afternoon dive was done in Wedding Cake and it was more of a dive for macro lovers, even though a Hawksbill Turtle and a Blacktip Reef Shark were seen. Tasseled (one a juvenile) and Papuan Scorpionfish, shrimps, like the Crinoid Shrimp, Bargibanti and Denise Pygmy Seahorses were some of the highlights. After the dive some of our guests used the kayaks to navigate in between the islets of the region, having the opportunity to swim in a hidden lagoon on the area.
As for the night dive, we went to the neighbor site called Dunia Kecil. Staying in the sheltered area of the reef, the divers got to see, in between others, Fimbriated Moray, Tasseled Scorpionfish, Decorator and Sponge Crab and the hardly seen Satomi Pygmy Seahorse!
Our last activity together was a slideshow with some of the underwater photography work done by Urik, which the guests appreciated. After that some guests stayed around watching a movie while others retired to their staterooms. In the morning we had back east towards Fiabacet.
Sunday January 15th
Before the sunrise we were already on our way to Fiabacet, our diving destination for the day. The first dive was done in Whale Rock, a place that offers plenty of shelter from the currents that were present at this time of the morning. Some pelagic life was present, like the Black tip Reef Shark, Napoleon Wrasse and Giant Trevallies. Couple with that, our dive masters sharply pointed a few different species of nudibranchs, crabs and a Crocodile Flathead, in between others.
The second dive of the day was done during the slack tide in Nudi Rock. The currents were mild but there were still some bigger animals to be seen: Yellowtail Barracudas, Grey Reef Shark, White tip Reef Shark and a couple of Brown-marbled Groupers. As for the macro life, the highlight was the Denise Raja Ampat Pygmy Seahorse, endemic from the region! A great dive overall, when you add that the great visibility (20+ meters/66+ feet).
Our following dive was in the neighbor Tank Rock and there were plenty of pelagic life to spot: Grey Reef Shark (one a pregnant female), White tip and Black tip Reef Shark, different groupers, like the Lyretail, and schooling Bumphead Parrotfish, fusiliers and surgeonfishes. There was some macro life to be seen too: scorpionfishes, nudibranchs and a couple of flatworms.
The night dive was done in the same site as the first one, Whale Rock and it was about finding small stuff. Some of the highlights were: Crocodile Flathead, Blue-spotted Stingray, Skeleton Shrimp and Sponge Crab. Back onboard was time for dinner and for Urik, our cruise director, to mention the plan for the following day, when we start heading to Central Raja Ampat. We sleep in Fiabacet for the night and early in the morning start on our way to Balbulol, our last destination in the South.
Monday January 16th
Early in the morning we were already on our way further. In the middle of the journey we stopped for our first dive, in Grouper Net. The visibility was around 15 meters/50 feet and there were some currents present. Our divemasters, though, picked a spot on this seamount surround by three pinnacles and covered in gorgonians and hard coral, and pointed out a few macro highlights: Orangutan Crab, Bubblecoral Shrimp, Ornate Ghost Pipefish and a Reef Stonefish!
The following dive was done in the region of Balbulol and the dive site name is Plateau. Also hosting an abundant number of gorgonians but also soft coral, anemones and sponges, this dive site was hosting a considerable school of Yellowtail, Blue-lined and other species of fusiliers, besides a couple of Napoleon Wrasses cruising along the reef. As for the macro life, Porcelain Crabs, Mantis Shrimps and nudibranchs, in between others, were found.
The last dive of the day was done in Love Potion No.9; a reef absolutely covered in abundant and colorful soft coral that is a beauty to the eyes. Nudibranchs, like the Ardeadoris, Tasseled and Papuan Scorpionfish, Skeleton Shrimp, flatworms and a few others creatures that inhabit such and environment made this a great dive for our divers. The presence of a juvenile Hawksbill Turtle also helped the case!
Since we were crossing toward the Dampier Strait, in the central region of Raja Ampat, this night we had no night dive. It was an opportunity, nevertheless, for our guests to enjoy the sun setting in the ocean paintings the clouds on the horizon, quite a sight! Our dinner was earlier and after it Urik did a presentation on the Derawan Islands, located in the Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Raja Ampat Aggressor new destination coming July 2017.
Tuesday January 17th
Before sunrise we were already in the region of Peneimu, Central Raja Ampat. Our first dive site for the day was Melissas Garden and its vast hard coral garden. There were plenty of options both in terms of pelagic, Black tip and Grey Reef Shark, Napoleon Wrasse and schooling fusiliers, as of macro, Orangutan Crab, nudibranchs, like the Pikachu, flatworms and pipefishes, like the Ringed Pipefish. Spotted also were two Wobbegong Sharks, one of them being pregnant!
The following dive was in the seamount called My Reef. As usual in this place, our divers got to see a few sharks patrolling the reef, like the Black tip and White tip Reef Shark. Four Wobbegong Sharks (with another pregnant one) were also seen hiding among the hard coral. Big-eye Jacks, Red Snappers and schooling fusiliers also brought action to this dive.
The third dive of the day was in Galaxy. This site hosts an abundant variety of macro life, like Bargibanti and Denise Pygmy Seahorse, nudibranchs, like the Chromodoris, anemone shrimps, like Egg Shell and Sarasvati Shrimp and scorpionfishes, like the Tasseled and Papuan Scorpionfish. Nevertheless, as it was the tendency for the day, another Wobbegong Shark was seen, lying on an Elephant Ear coral. Towards the end of the dive, a 1,5 meter/5-feet long giant clam was pointed out by our divemasters!
Around sunset time our guests went on a supervised trek to a viewpoint in order to contemplate the karst (limestone) formations of the region. Together with Urik and other members of the crew, the activity continued into a boat drive around the lagoon formed by the little islets. A beautiful place!
Night dive was done in Keruo (Night) and, according to the guests, was a great one! Bobtail Squid, Pygmy Cuttlefish, Zebra Moray Eel, different kinds of crabs, like the Decorator Crab, flatworms and other critters were some of the highlights. With everyone back on board we had dinner and Urik described what would be the plan for our last full day of diving together. By this time the boat was already on its way toward Kri, still in Dampier Strait, Central Raja Ampat.
Wednesday January 18th
We woke up close to the Yenbubba Village, in Mansuar Island. Close by we did our first dive, in Cape Mansuar and it was very relaxing, since there were very mild currents present. The visibility was around 10-15meters/33-50 feet and the divers got to see, among others, Hawksbill Turtle, Black tip Reef Shark, Yellowtail Barracuda, Tasseled Scorpionfish, Yellow Boxfish, Wobbegong Shark and even a Mobula Ray passing by!
The second dive was in the neighbor island, Kri, hence the dive site name, Cape Kri. Famous for being a usually fishy dive, that is what the groups got to see, result of the currents. Schooling fusilier, surgeonfish, Yellowtail Barracuda, Big-Eye Jack were seen. Besides that, a few sharks like the White tip and Black tip Reef Shark were pointed our by our divemasters, together with Giant Sweetlips, Giant Trevallies, Bumphead Parrotfish and schooling Bumphead Snappers. As if it wasnt enough, a congregation of Oriental and Ribbon tail Sweetlips was seen and even a Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse! A great dive!
The following dive was in the seamount named Sardine Reef. The currents were fairly strong and the visibility was around 10meters/33 feet, but with the water movement came quite a few pelagic, like Yellowtail and Blue-lined Fusiliers, Yellowtail Barracuda, Black tip and White tip Reef Shark and even a Reef Manta Ray. In between the hard coral formations, a Wobbegong Shark and a Warty Frogfish were some of the other highlights.
Night dive was in Mioskon, a paradise island situated in the middle of the Dampier Strait. Highlights were: Wobbegong Shark, Epaulette Shark, crabs, like the Sponge, Decorator and Spider, a few different moray eels, like the Fimbriated. We had dinner together and afterwards Urik explained the schedule for the following day, our final full day together. Some of the guests stayed around watching a movie while others retired to their staterooms. Tomorrow we do our last dives.
Thursday January 19th
Our last day of diving started in Blue Magic and it was an amazing dive, according to our guests. This seamount covered in hard coral was filled with life brought along by a gentle current. Some of the highlights included: Dogtooth Tuna, Potato Grouper, Grey, Black tip, White tip Reef Shark, schooling fusiliers, surgeonfishes, Oceanic Triggerfish and Big-Eye Jack, Wobbegong Shark and Leaf Scorpionfish. But that is not all, since during most of the dive approximately seven Manta Rays, between oceanic and reef ones, were cruising along getting cleaning by the smaller fishes present. A great dive!
The following dive was done in Mioskon, where we dived the previous night. As was for most of our dives in the Dampier Strait, Central Raja Ampat, the guests got to see another Wobbegong Shark. Schooling Blue-lined, Spanish Flag Snappers and Mimic Goatfish gave a nice subject for photographers, same said for a couple of Brown-Marbled Groupers. Besides that, Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse, Porcelain Crab and Sarasvati Anemone Shrimp were some of the macro life pointed out by our divemasters.
After lunch and rest time, with the gear already washed by our crew, we had our farewell party. Urik, in the name of all the crew, thanked everyone for joining us on this trip and presented our team again. It was time for a toast, some music played by Jasman and Ody, our tender drivers, and photos. Maintaining the tradition from Aggressor boats, he also gave the Iron Diver award to the guests who did all available dives during the cruise, were they: Dima, Alexander, Alex II, Sema and Olga. Congratulations!
Already in the port of Sorong we had the signature dinner offered by the chef and his assistant and after a slideshow was shown with pictures taken by the guests during the trip. Another moment to share some memories. Finally, already briefed on the logistics for the checkout, our guests retired to their staterooms to rest.
Friday January 20th
On the scheduled time and after a light breakfast, all crew gathered to say our last good-bye to the group. We hope to see them again onboard of the Raja Ampat Aggressor!