*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
*Water Temp. 29 C - 30 C
Cruise Director: Urik
Chief Officer: Ferdi
Chief Engineer: Yuli
2nd Engineer: Ipul
Chef Assistant: Jemly
Dive master: Hery
Dive master: Jemy
Dive master: Denny
Tender Driver: Carly
Tender Driver: Jasman
Th: Sagof, Parondi Seamount, Baby Rock,
Fr: Nudi Rock, Tank Rock, Whale Rock, Whale Rock
Sa: Shadow Reef, Gus Ridge, Boo Window, Romeo
Su: Grouper Net, Plateau, Love Potion Number 9
Mo: Melissa s Garden, Keruo Channel, Galaxy, Keruo (Night)
Tu: Cape Kri, Blue Magic
GUESTS: Jane, Mona, Axel, Klaus, Bert, Tc, Lila, Beth, John, T, B, Jeremy, Susane, Bill, Hugh
Early afternoon and our guests were already aboard of the vessel with the crew waiting to greet them all. Antonio, the cruise director, showed all their staterooms and finally was time for lunch. After that, respecting resting time after a long journey, a short briefing about the boat, schedule, crew and safety procedures was done. The rest of the afternoon was reserved for resting, getting acquanted in the accommodation and making adjustments to the dive and photo equipment.
Dinner was served a little bit later than usual and as we were having dessert Urik explained the diving procedures and the crew presented themselves. It was also an opportunity for the guests to do it. Finally all went to their rooms as the vessel was already on its way to Misool, south Raja Ampat, our first destination.
Thursday March 2nd
Early in the morning we arrived at in surroundings of Two Tree Island, which neighboors reefs were our first destination. The very first dive, after a light breakfast, was a check dive for the guests to check their equipment, buyoancy and start preparation for diving in the region. The dive chosen was Sagof and the currents were mild to non-existent, while the visibility was around 25 meters / 50 feet. A few highlights could be already mentioned about this dive: Reef Octopus, Ringed Pipefish, Bubble Coral and Mantis Shrimp.
Next came the full breakfast and some rest to prepare for the second dive of the day, in Parondi Seamount. Some pelagics were spotted by our dive guides, like Spanish Mackerel, Giant Trevally and schooling Pick-handle Barracudas, besides others schools of fusiliers and snappers. Another highlights celebrated by the guests were Banded Sea Snake, two Wobbegong Shark..the first of the trip! For the ones interested in macro Leaf Scorpionfish and Orangutan Crab were some of the creatures pointed out. An amazing dive overall!
After coming back the guests had lunch and rest. The third dive of the day was in Baby Rock and it was the first time the divers get to experience a little bit more current, which the dive guides made sure to adapt the plan in order to provide a comfortable dive for all. This site, as the previous two, got people s attention with its abundance of colours from the coral, especially soft species, life distributed along a wall and slope. A school of Vermiculate Rabbitfish hovered around the bubbles of the groups and the shallow part of the reef offered plenty of macro life, a few: Peacock-tail Anemone Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp a differents species of nudibranchs. A snack was waiting everyone as they arrived back in the liveaboard.
The night dive, done in Wagmab, was an opportunity to spot creatures like the Crocodile Flathead, Decorator Crab, a couple of scorpionfishes, Blue-spotted Stingray and a sleeping Hawksbill Turtle! It was then time for dinner. Urik, after dinner, then recaptured the day and reinforced the itinerary with the guests along with a presentation on history, culture and biodiversity of the Raja Ampat province. Last, glad with the first water activities it was time for rest.
Friday March 3rd
A few miles in the southern part of the region is Fiabacet. The visibility for the day was somewhere around 20-25 meters/33-50 feet. Our first dive was done in Nudi Rock, one of the most known soft coral garden in Raja Ampat. Right in the beginning of the dive the guides spotted a huge Napoleon Wrasse sleeping. Red Snappers were also seen schooling Yellowtail Barracudas and fusiliers. As for the masters of camouflage, the first spotted Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse was seen, together with a few different nudibranchs and a Crocodile Fish.
The second dive was in Tank Rock and already in the start a few pelagics were spotted amongst the action, that picked up together with the current. Spanish Mackerel, Giant Trevally and three Grey Reef Sharks were seen patroling the blue! Later on, already in the sheltered part of the reef, a Hawksbill Turtle and a Blacktip Reef Shark came across the guests. A few different species of shrimps, like the Peacock-tail Anemone Shrimp, colorful nudibranchs and flatworms were also pointed out in between the gorgonians, whip, wire and leather coral.
Lunch and a longer surface interval came as rest for the guests before the third dive, in Whale Rock, another site close by. While cruising along the hard and soft coral in the slopping reef, the guest have seen another Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse and Hawksbill Turtle, an Orangutan Crab and schooling fusiliers, surgeonfishes hovering around the bubbles. By the end, two baby Whitetip Reef Sharks were seen resting under a table of coral. A great dive!
Sunset came, and after the night dive took place in Whale Rock. There were a few highlights pointed by the guides like Skeleton Shrimp, Spiny Lobster, nudibranchs, flatworms, Green and Hawksbill Turtle, different species of moray eel and also a Whitetip Reef Shark! A very nice night dive overall.
With everybody back in the liveaboard was time for dinner and afterwards Urik mentioned in more detail the plan for the upcoming days. Finally, glad with this great day of diving in Fiabacet, most of the guests retired to their rooms. In the morning we head to Warakaraket, southeast of Misool.
Saturday March 4th
The first dive of the day was in Boo area. The dive was in the neighbour reef named Eagle Nest, with the visibility nearing 20 meters/66 feet, also a cleaning station for mantas. No Mantas were spotted but a group of five Reef Sharks cruising close by a curious group of batfishes and travellies. The visibility on the ridge was amazing an gave a fantastic atmosphere at the seamount and the ridge. Lots of reef fish at the top with schools of barracudas maked it a fantastic dive.
Heading towards north, the second dive of the day was in Boo Window, famous for its topography. On the top of the ridge that follows the island schooling snappers and fusiliers were seen alongside Giant Trevallies and Blue-fin and Orange-spotted Jacks. A Denise Pygmy Seahorse, a Leaf Scorpionfish and nudibranchs were also highlighted by the dive guides and in the end of the dive a Green Turtle was seen.
Third dive was in Yellit. With mild to non-existant currents and visibility surpassing 20 meters/66 feet, the guests had a great dive cruising along the sloping reef filled with soft, especially leather, and hard coral from a wide variety of colors. Besides that, it was an opportunity to spot schooling Big-Eye Jacks and Chevron Barracudas and also a lot of macro life and critters, like the Raja Ampat Denise Pygmy Seahorse, Tasseled Scorpionfish, Sarasvati Anemone Shrimp and different nudibranchs and flatworms.
Having enjoyed the sunset and then getting some rest, was time for the night dive, done in Romeo. Critters were everywhere, ranging from Pygmy Squid, Skeleton Shrimp, Reef Octopus and nudibranchs. Also spotted were the Epaulette, walking, Sharks!
Back on board it was time for shower and dinner. The theme of the presentation done this night by Herry, our divemaster, was Pygmy Seahorses, since he is a specialist in spotting them. After that the guess, extremely glad with a fantastic day of diving, went to their staterooms to sleep or watch a movie. In the morning we start heading north.
Sunday March 5th
We woke up in the region located east of the Warakaraket island, where we did our first dive of the day, in Shadow Reeff. According to the divers, it was absolutely amazing! Schooling pelagic fishes (jacks, snappers, mackerels, tunas) chasing fusiliers and other smaller fishes were joined by Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks and a few Napoleon Wrasses. In between the colorful color garden two Dolphins were also seen. On top of that, a Manta Rays approached the reef getting close to the divers!
The second dive of the day, done in Grouper Net, was also great! This was an opportunity for the guests to spot schooling jacks, snappers, fusiliers, white Frog Fish and a few Pygmy Seahorses. Along the shalower part of one of the mounts the guests also seen a Reef Stonefish, nudibranchs and a Boxer Crab.
The third dive of the day, with similar conditions than the previous, was in Love potion Number 9. The highlight of this site is the shallow part located on the northwestern part that hosts a great amount of gorgonians, Xenia corl and colorful soft coral, alongs its plateau thrimming with schooling fish around its top. Some of the marine life spotted was the Denise and Bargbibanti Pygmy Seahorse, Orangutan Crab, Bubble Coral Shrimp, scorpionfishes, nudibranchs and a few pelagics like the Great Barracuda and Grey Reef Shark.
Being this the last day in South Raja Ampat, it was time for crossing to the central region (Dampier Strait), which will be our destination for the next days. With no night dive and an earlier dinner, We got a presentation of Maldives done by Mario and also a presentation on the Epaulette Shark, spotted the night before, done by Jemy. After that we all enjoyed the rest of the night to rest and prepare for tomorrow, our last full day of diving.
Monday March 6th
Early in the morning we were already in the region of Peneimu, Central Raja Ampat. The first dive was in Melissa s Garden, famous for its extensive hard coral garden distributed around the shallow plateau area and hosting a lot of smaller fishes that use for shelter. A few of the highlights spotted cruising were Wobbegong Shark, Napoleon Wrasse, Blacktip Reef Shark and Spanish Mackerels. As for the macro life, bottom-dwellers like scorpionfishes were also captured, besides shrimps, like the Popcorn Shrimp, and a few nudibranchs.
As for the next dive, done in Keruo Channel, a neighbour site, the existant current allowed the guests to drift along this wall covered in gorgonians and hard coral. A few different species of groupers and moray eels that inhabit this reef, two Hawksbill Turtles and a juvenile Emperor Angelfish were some of the highlights seen. As for the smaller life, our dive guides spotted Pygmy Seahorses for the guests.
After lunch and rest came the third dive, in Galaxy. As for the macro life, Pygmy Seahorses (including from the species Pontohi), lobsters, shrimps and Mushroom Coral Pipefishe were pointed. Besides that, also a Broadclub Cuttlefish, Hawksbill Turtle and Bumphead Parrotfishes were seen! While some were diving, other guests used the opportunity go on a supervised 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.
Having enjoyed the sunset, the night dive was in Keruo (Night) and there were a lot of sightings, like pipefish, scorpionfish. After it was time for shower and dinner. During dessert our guests got to watch Jasman, from the crew, play some music. Urik detailed for our last full day together and did a presentation about Derawan and introduced a Slide show of his own photos. This night we also celebrated the birthday of Beth and everyone, crew included, joined! Once it was over the guests retired to their staterooms as we were already on our way to Kri, our destination for the last two dives of this great trip!
Tuesday March 7th
The last day of diving on this trip left most of the guess impressed. With some current and great visibility (20+ meters/66+ feet), both of them were celebrated, especially for the pelagic life. The first one, in Cape Kri, allowed the guests to observe Grey, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Bumphead Parrotfishes, Giant Sweetlips, Yellowtail Barracudas, Big-Eye Jacks and also a couple of Napoleon Wrasses! The highlight was a Guitar Shark swwimming along the wall with our guest!!!
The second and last dive was done in Blue Magic, one of the most sought after sites in the Dampier Strait. With convenient conditions, the guests could spot a lot of actions, with schooling fusiliers and other smaller fishes being chased by Dogtooth Tuna, Spanish Mackerel and jacks. Besides that, Grey and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Yellowtail and Pickhandle Barracudas, another school of Big-Eye Jacks, Wobbegong Shark and Napoleon Wrasses were seen. Ifall that was not enough we got five Oceanic Mantas on cleanning station...An excellent dive to finish the journey!
After 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 spot and will certainly be kept as great memories 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.
Jane was the only Iron diver and she is over 70. ..Just amazing
After that was time for some pictures, music and sharing experiences from the trip. Sunset came and we went on with dinner, when a slideshow was shown with pictures from the guests taken during the cruise. Came then time to rest and prepare for our good-bye in the morning.
Wednesday March 8th
Early the morning, we had our last meal together. Farewell was said to the guests and all were taken to the airport for their trips out of Sorong. A beautiful cruise comes to ending, with a lot of marine life seen and great people around. We all hope to see them again in the future!