Raja Ampat Aggressor Captains log *29 September 2017
*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C *Water Temp. 27 C - 30 C
Chief Officer: Ferdy
Cruise Director: Urik
Assistant CD: Cassio
Chief Engineer: Yuli
2nd Engineer: Daryanto
Chef Assistant: Intan
Dive master: Denny
Dive master: Jemy
Tender Driver: Carly
Tender Driver: Ody
Deck hand: Jasman
Sa: Bianca, TK2, Pantai Parigi, Aerprang
Su: Batu Mandi, Batu Sahaung, Tanjung Husi, House Reef Mimpi Indah
Mo: Pantai Sago, Pantai Sago, Pantai Sago
Tu: Renes Rock, Bonzai Rock, Tamo Tamo Pinnacle, Manta Point
We: Procco Channel, Batu Jabu, Ricks Rock, Semola Bay
Th: Tanjung Paroco, Tanjung Maregarando, Akikos Neverland
Fr: Batuanyer Kecil, Batuanyer Kecil, Batuanyer Besar
Sa: Melissas Garden, Keruo Channel, Galaxy, Keruo Night
Su: Mayhem I, Citrus Ridge, Gam Ridge, Mangrove Slope
Mo: Cape Mansuar, Sardines Reef, Cape Kri, Mioskon
Tu: Mioskon, Blue Magic
GUESTS: Defcon, Carlos, Larry, Gabe, Brian, Suzane, Simo, Sab, Michael, Roberta, Jane, Glenn, Eric, Amin, Paul
Friday September 29th
As our guests arrived aboard the vessel, the crew was waiting to greet them all. With a welcome beverage on their hands, the next step was to introduce each one to their staterooms before we gathered in the salon for the first meal, a buffet-served lunch prepared by Jemly, the chef, and his assistant Intan. After the meal Urik, the cruise director, gave a briefing about the boat, mentioning its story, facilities and safety plan.
During the afternoon our divers had time to rest and prepare their equipment with the help of Jemy and Denny, the divemasters. The day ended as the sun kept hiding among the clouds in the Lembeh Strait, where the vessel is anchored. Next came a menu-served dinner that was followed by another briefing, this time related to the diving logistics so in the morning our guests already know what to expect.
This was the last activity of the day and most, tired from their journeys until the North of Sulawesi, retired to their staterooms to rest. Tomorrow we start diving!
Saturday September 30th
With all our divers already wake and having had a light breakfast, we started gearing up for our first dive in the famous Lembeh Strait, one of worlds most well-known muck diving destination. The first dive site chosen was Bianca and there were plenty of critters to see. At least ten different species of nudibranchs, an orange Painted Frogfish, Reeftop and Ringed Pipefish, Leaf Scorpionfish, in between others were our first highlights seen during the check dive, where guests had the opportunity to adjust their weights and get comfortable.
As Carly and Ody, the dinghy drivers, brought back the last group of divers, the bell rang for the full breakfast, ordered earlier by each guest. The meal was followed by some rest before the briefing for the second dive, in TK2, happened. Due to the ability of the divemasters, plenty of critters were also spotted this time, including a white and a black Painted Frogfish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish and the dazzling Wunderpus, an octopus with incredible color patterns and camouflage skills!
Next on the schedule as all guests were back on board was lunch. This meal, as usual, was followed by a longer rest, the most guests enjoyed in the upper deck, with a view to the lush green landscape in the island of Lembeh and also mainland Bitung. The third dive of the day happened in Pantai Parigi and was a full plate for pipefish lovers. Three Ornate Ghost Pipefish and two other species of pipefish were pointed. As was the norm today, another frogfish was also seen and nudibranchs were also everywhere. Quite a pleasant dive.
The stewardesses , Noci and Angie, were already waiting for our divers with a snack as they returned from the third dive. Sunset came among a cloudy sky rehearsing a rain that never really came and was followed by the night dive briefing, done directly from the main vessel in Aerprang. It was another dive filled with subjects for our photographers, including Harlequin Ghost Pipefish, Cockatoo Waspfish, Reef Squid and a few other species of nudibranchs.
When all our guests had their showers, we gathered in the salon for dinner, which was followed by a presentation shared by Urik about Pygmy Seahorses, mentioning the species present in the world and the ones most commonly seen in Indonesia. During it the crew had the opportunity to formally present themselves, giving names and position on board. After most guests retired to their rooms to rest as a few stayed up for a bit working on their cameras. Tomorrow we head to Banka, up north!
Sunday October 1st
Before the first rays of what turned out to be a bright sunny day appeared in the horizon we were already out of the Lembeh Strait and close to the island of Banka. A stop was made on the way, where we did the first dive, in Batu Mandi, steep slope that runs into a wall where the dense soft coral formations that would see along the day proliferate. It was a suitable spot for critters spotting and with the help of the divemasters our divers got to see and photograph the likes of nudibranchs, two Giant Frogfish (black and yellow – the second was actually free swimming, a relatively rare sight for this species), Orangutan Crab and our first Pygmy Seahorse, a Pontohi.
After a short trip further north we finally arrived on the surrounding of Banka, where our second dive, in Batu Sahuang, happened. Besides the incredible soft coral, which had its polyps opened due to the currents present during this dive, our divers also had the opportunity to witness some fish action, as fusiliers, surgeon, damsel and other smaller reef fish where being actively chased by Orange-spotted, Blue-fin, Blue and Giant Trevally. Once in the protected side of this beautiful reef formed para connected plateau, some macro life was also seen, including nudibranchs, like the Nembrotha, Crocodile Flathead, cowries, in between others.
Close to the previous site is Tanjung Husi, where our groups did the third dive of the day and came back impressed especially by the dense coral garden seen in shallow waters. Similar to the first dive, the currents were gentle and visibility was in between 15-20 meters/50-66 feet, and due to the calmness of the conditions, there were plenty of time to scan the reef looking for critters. Some of the findings included another Giant Frogfish (brown), blue Ribbon Eels, Peacock-tail Mantis Shrimp, Broadclub Cuttlefish, flatworms and another Pygmy Seahorse, this time a Bargibanti!
As we sailed towards another location around the island, most of the guests enjoyed the bright sun on the upper deck. Today we didnt have a proper night dive, instead opting to enter the water slightly earlier, around dawn, to try our luck with some of the peculiar animals that are more active during this time of the day. The site chosen was the house reef of Mimpi Indah resort and the main highlight was the opportunity to contemplate the Mandarin, a dragonet considered by many the most beautiful fish in the world and that mates during sunset, which a few lucky divers saw. What a great end to this day of diving!
With everyone back aboard and having had showered, the bell rang for dinner. Once our guests were finished with dessert, a presentation about barracudas was shared, mentioning the species commonly seen in our itineraries, some of their characteristics and recommended behavior when diving with schools of them. By this time we were on our way to Tifore, an west of Halmahera.
Monday October 2nd
After a calm night crossing from North Sulawesi until our first stop in the macroregion of Halmahera, we arrived around Tifore, the small islet where we spend our day of diving. The dive site chosen for this day was a huge sea mount named Pantai Sago (Sago Beach, in Indonesian) that we explored on our three dives.
On a wall that runs west into a gentle ridge is where our guests spend most times on the dives contemplating a very fishy location. Schooling butterfly, damsel, trigger, anthias, wrasse and fusiliers were seeing being chased by bigger pelagic animals like Dogtooth Tuna, Spanish Mackerel and Giant Trevally. On top of that, an immense school of Big-Eye Jacks was seen more than once, including on a defensive position these animals adopt that is known as the tornado. Quite a show!
Others creatures were also seen sparsely, like Napoleon Wrasse, Bumphead Parrotfish, Banded Sea Snake, Yellowtail Coris (juvenile), Spotted Soapfish, Orangutan Crab, Peacock-tail Anemone Shrimp and even a small school of Chevron Barracudas. Quite a diverse, active day where the currents were present, but manageable and the visibility was in between 20-30 meters/66-100 feet. On the second dive today, our diver Sab reached an important milestone that was celebrated by all: the 1000th dive!
Once the last group return from the third dive, we started sailing towards Goriaci, a group of islands southeast from our current location. Due to the length of the crossing, there was no night dive today and dinner happened earlier. After the meal a presentation about Manta Rays was shared by Urik, mentioning the species described so far, some behavioral traits and threats to their existence. Once it was over most guests stayed in the salon watching a movie while others decided to rest.
Tuesday October 3rd
Before the first rays of sun broke into a beautiful sunrise among the volcanic formations of Ternate and Tidore we already arrived in the Goriaci islands, where we spend the day diving. The first dive site chosen was Renes Rock, an underwater pinnacle. Among an interesting landscape that mixed sloping reef with rocky formations and also a mini-wall, the soft coral stood out, an that became the norm today. Different species and colorations offered plenty of wide angle photography opportunities. As for other marine life seen: Napoleon Wrasse, Grey Reef and Black Tip Reef Sharks were seen among schooling fusiliers, triggerfish and Big-Eye Jacks. As a side note, some of our divers got to see a group of around 20 juvenile Blacktip Reef Sharks!
Slightly east from the first dive is where, the sun bright in the sky, we did the second dive, in Bonzai Rock. Another dive, same impressive abundant soft coral! As the divers drifted along a sloping reef, they watched the action unfold with the current as Redtooth Triggerfish, fusiliers, rabbit and surgeonfish were swimming in the plankton-rich waters and some pelagic animals patrolled the reef like Spanish Mackerel, Dogtooth Tuna and a few Blacktip Reef Sharks. The dive finished along a sheltered plateau where not only soft but some hard coral formations impressed all.
Our third dive today happened, similar to two days ago, slightly earlier. The site chosen was Tamo Tamo Pinnacle and the topography was impressive once more. As the divers circled around a deep water pinnacle where butterfly and triggerfish hovered, some groups returned to the main rock drifting along a wall covered in vibrant, diversely colored soft coral where fusiliers, damsel and batfish were seen while others did the loop through a plateau where jacks were actively chasing smaller reef fish. All our divers finished their dives, though, in the sheltered side where, one more time, the coral formations offered quite a show and not even the visibility in between 10-15 meters/33-50 feet could spoil it. A great dive for coral lovers!
The reason behind our previous dive to happen slightly earlier was to do another sunset dive. The dive site this time was Manta Point, a place known to be visited occasionally by Manta Rays and where we decided to try our luck. Even though the rays were not seen, the divers still had the opportunity to turn the dive into a critter dive, with octopus, Boxer and Porcelain Crab, nudibranchs and other smaller subjects found.
With everyone back on board having showered, it was time for an earlier dinner. Once the dessert was over, a presentation about whale sharks was given, mentioning some characteristics of this that is the biggest fish in the ocean, and also threats to their population. Afterwards a few guests stayed around working on their cameras and photography while others opted to go to bed straight away. Along the night we started our way south towards the Selat Patintie (Patintie Strait, in Indonesian).
Wednesday October 4th
The new day came with a beautiful sunrise among the lush green vegetation and the haze forming on the peak of Patientie mounts, which coupled with the lack of human occupation in the area, gave our guests a sense of being the wilderness that seemed to be appreciated. As usual, our divers started gearing up early in the morning for our first dive, a drift along the Procco Channel where we got a first glimpse of the stunning coral formations that were waiting for us in this region. Soft and hard coral species that a lay person couldnt even count coupled with beautiful sponges offered the landscape for small reef fish like anthias, damsel, parrot, butterfly thrive in huge numbers. Along the sandy bottom some of our groups also had the opportunity to see schooling Big-Eye Jacks, Giant Trevally, Blacktip Reef Sharks and other pelagic chasing prey. As a side note, during this dive one of our groups got to see a Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse.
With the sun bright in the sky, it was time to start getting ready for the second dive, done in Batu Jabu and its otherworldly coral formations. Even though the currents were relatively strong (coupled with visibility around 15-20 meters/50-66 feet), our divers had the opportunity to gaze at the coral garden itself and its numerous colors and inhabitants while also having a glimpse of pelagic animals like Blacktip Reef Shark, Oriental Bonito, Giant Trevally and Chevron Barracudas chasing fusiliers and a huge school of surgeonfish. Towards the end of the dive, in a relatively sheltered area, it was time for the divemasters to point some macro subjects like the Soft Coral Candy Crab, Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse, Porcelain Crab and a few nudibranchs. A great dive!
After the longer rest period that followed lunch, it was time to start gearing up for the third dive. Considering that the currents were still running relatively fast and that it was logistically suitable, Urik offered the possibility for some to dive in Rickys Rock, a more exposed site where fish action was more present and for others to dive along Jabus Slope in a sheltered bay. All groups came back quite happy and while some had the opportunity to see Blacktip Reef Sharks, Chevron and Pick-handle Barracudas, Giant Trevally and Spanish Mackerels, others saw different species of dragonets, Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse (including a gorgonian with 11 of them), nudibranchs, like the Flabellina, and Tasseled Scorpionfish. One things was common to both sites, the beauty and abundance, one more of time, of the coral formations. Quite a sight that couldnt be not even nearly spoiled by the lack of sun that decided to hide among the clouds.
After a quiet, relaxing sunset along the flat waters of the strait, it was time for our divers to start gearing up for the night dive, done in Semola Bay. Another possibility for everyone to sharpen their eyes and put their efforts into critters searching, which resulting in findings like the Donald Duck Shrimp, Long-Armed Octopus, Warty Frogfish and even the seldom seen Wunderpus. A fantastic night dive!
With everyone back aboard, it was time for all to gather in the salon and have dinner. The meal was followed by a presentation about the main islands and diving highlights archipelago of Derawan, Raja Ampat Aggressors destination next summer and where we are just coming from our first season of great diving! Afterwards most guests went to bed. Tomorrow we dive in the southern region of Halmahera, around Bacan.
Thursday October 5th
As the sun rose behind the green hills of Bacan, we arrived at the first dive site of the day, Tanjung Paroco. Consisting of a sandy slope where coral patches proliferate and the shallow plateau hosts a dense soft coral garden, it was a suitable opportunity for macro photography. The divemasters spotted a few critters, including Ornate and Harlequin Ghost Pipefish, the first Denise Pygmy Seahorse, nudibranchs from different species, Brown-banded Pipefish and a three Leaf Scorpionfish hidden among Glassy Sweepers on a rock teeming with life. A pleasant dive to start the day, with visibility around 20 meters/66 feet and a mild current.
Having moved slightly west, towards a bay where we dove both corners. The first one was Tanjung Maregarando, a comfortable drift along a wall where hard coral and hydroids thrive. On the blue, fusiliers, trigger, parrot, damsel and anthias were seen feeding on the nutrient rich waters while a few silver pelagic would pass now and then like Spanish Mackerel, Rainbow Runner and Orange-spotted Trevally. On top of that, two Mobula Rays were seen cruising along the reef! Hidden among rocks and coral formations where some critters, including Tasseled Scorpionfish, Hairy Squat Lobster, nudibranchs and a couple of juvenile Emperor Angelfish.
Dive number three was, due to the lengthy crossing we will go through tonight, our last today, in Akikos Neverland, an impressive wall where the coral formations are colorful, dense and diverse, with inumerous species of hard and soft coral paired with an already imposing wall and its overhangs. As if the landscape itself wasnt enough, some of the marine life seen by our groups along a gentle drift were Bubble Coral Shrimp, Porcelain Crab, Ringed Pipefish and a juvenile frogfish that, being so small, couldnt be identified even with our guests photographs.
After a quick shower in the afternoon, the sun started to show some of its light among the cloudy sky, which brought a nice touch to the sunset, enjoy by the majority of the guests on the upper deck. With the boat already on its way towards Pulau Pisang (Banana Island, in Indonesian), our pit stop between Halmahera and Raja Ampat, the bell rang for dinner.
After the meal it was time for the crew, lead by Jasman and Ody, dinghy drivers, and Ervanto, the captain, to play some music to our guests in order to celebrate Brians birthday; congratulations! Urik followed it with a slide show sharing some of the underwater photography work he has done while working as the cruise director of the Raja Ampat Aggressor. Most guests went straight to their staterooms afterwards.
Friday October 6th
With the sun already brightening our morning we arrived around Pulau Pisang, where we did our stop in between the macro-regions of Halmahera and Raja Ampat. Our first two dives were done in Batuanyer Kecil, one of the three rocks that can be found around the main island. During the first one, our divers got to spend some time on the split point where the currents hit the reef and watch some pelagic life, like Dogtooth Tuna, Rainbow Runner and Spanish Mackerel swim around looking for prey. Afterwards was a mellow drift along a wall covered in soft coral that would run into a plateau where acropora and soft coral thrive.
On the second dive in the location, the currents were stronger and our divers simply drifted along the plateau while watching the action unfold. Damsel, anthias, parrotfish and wrasses would swim frenetically on top of coral heads catching the nutrients that would flow with the current. Towards the end, around a rock formation covered in multicolored soft coral, a small group of Bumphead Parrotfish was seen.
The third and last dive of the day happened on the other side of Pisang, in Batuanyer Besar. Due to the strong currents still running, we decided to jump on the sheltered, shallow area of the rock and spend our time looking for critters and simply contemplating the rays of sun enter through the crevices, providing a beautiful sight. As for the macro life seen, nudibranchs like the Glossodoris and Nembrotha, were some of the highlights.
As soon as the last groups returned, we started sailing towards Fam and Peneimu, our first stop in Raja Ampat! The journey started in a pleasant way, with the sun bright in the sky and a gentle breeze blowing. After sunset the bell rang for dinner and we gathered in the salon to have the meal together. What followed was a presentation on the history, geography, culture and marine biodiversity of Raja Ampat, our last destination. Most guests stayed around chatting afterwards while others decided to rest.
Saturday October 7th
With a mellow sunrise in the sky, we arrived in the surroundings of Fam and Peneimu, our first stop in Raja Ampat. The first dive site visited after our three months season away from home was Melissas Garden, one of the archipelagos most impressive hard coral garden. With a gentle current and visibility around 15 meters/50 feet, it was a fantastic welcome. During the first half of the dive our groups got to see the action unfold as Dogtooth Tunas, Spanish Mackerel and jacks chased fusiliers and other small reef fish. Afterwards, on the way to the shallow plateau where the hard coral is denser, a school of Yellowtail Barracudas offered a great opportunity for wide angle photography. Finally, as we arrived towards the end of the dive, it was just a matter of hover above the coral garden and enjoy the view. As a side note, here we also saw the first Wobbegong Shark of the trip, a male!
After moving the main vessel slightly towards east, we did the following dive in Keruo Channel. A gentle drift along a wall teeming with life as fusiliers, damsel, parrot, anthias and more, including a couple of Blacktip Reef Shark seen patrolling the channel. Another highlight of this dive is the amount (and size) of gorgonians, which the divemasters scanned looking for Pygmy Seahorses. The mission was successful: Bargibanti and two color variations of the Denise were found!
Next stop was around the island of Peneimu itself, where we dove along the ridge named Galaxy looking for critters, being this a known good macro site. Bargibanti and Denise (including the yellow variation) were seen, as well as nudibranchs, flatworms, Spider Crab and more. Towards the end of the drift (the currents were slightly stronger during this dive), some of our divers got to see another Wobbegong Shark, a female this time.
What followed the dive was a supervised walk to Peneimus celebrated view point of the karst formations. Here our guests had the opportunity to take photography and enjoy a bit of time out of the boat. Before returning, Ody and Carly, the dinghy drivers, took all on a small tour around the lagoon that is formed in between the islets.
A vibrant sunset came and afterwards our divers started gearing up for the night dive, in Keruo Night. Swimming along a sandy slope, the divemasters were looking for critters to be photographed and some of the sights included: Tasseled Scorpionfish (including two juveniles), Crocodile Flathead, Hydroid Crab, Pygmy and also a Bobtail Squid.
When the last group returned from the night dive and had their shower, the bell rang for dinner. Once the meal was finished, a presentation about sharks, mentioning general characteristics, their importance on the planets ecosystem and threats to the existence of these great animals. Afterwards most guests decided to rest and we sailed towards the region of Yangeffo, our destination for tomorrow.
Sunday October 8th
With the sun rising among the green landscape of Yangeffo, we started gearing up for the first dive of the day, on the seamount named Mayhem I and its impressive mix of hard and soft coral formations with sandy patches that generate a beautiful setting when reflecting the suns light. With a gentle current and visibility around 15 meters/50 feet, first our divers had the opportunity to contemplate to abundant fish life that concentrated on the split point: butterfly, trigger, fusiliers, jacks and jacks provided the action. On top of that, schooling Chevron and Pick-handle Barracudas, Bumphead Parrotfish and Big-Eye Jacks were another highlight and, finally, four Wobbegong Sharks finish the list of what was an amazing dive overall!
As we entered inside the bucolic mangrove landscape of Yangeffo, it was time to start preparing for the second dive, done in Citrus Ridge and its abundant soft coral garden mostly in orange, light green and yellow coloration. We dove the site on a slack tide, with visibility around 15-20 meters/50-66 feet, and it was quite a show! Schooling Chevron and Pick-handle Barracudas, Big-Eye Jacks, fusiliers, batfish, jacks all swimming among the coral formations with its polyps open was quite impressive. Besides that, a couple of Wobbegong Shark and a docile Hawksbill Turtle helped turning this into another memorable dive!
Refreshed as a result of a rain shower that lasted from the second dive until after lunch, we started gearing up for the third dive, done in Gam Ridge, another one of the dense, colorful soft coral gardens of the region. During the first half of the dive, our groups spent most time looking for critters and some of the findings included: nudibranchs, like the Leopard and Flabellina, Ringed Pipefish, Tasseled Scorpionfish and the adorable Signal Goby. Towards the end, drifting along the current that entered the channel in between Gam and Yangeffo, it was time to gaze at the coral garden itself while fusiliers, batfish and a group of Bumphead Parrotfish swam around.
With the rain gone and the sea flat, our guests enjoyed the cloudy sun set on the comfort of the upper deck before the bell rang for the night dive, in Mangrove Slop. Among the rocky formations, hard coral and some rubble, the divemasters pointed out a few critters, like Pygmy Squid, Banded Sea Snake, Decorator Crabs and the Banana Nudibranch.
When the last diver returned on board and had shower, it was time for dinner in the salon. Just before the meal started, we had the opportunity to congratulate Amin for completing his 400th dive today! After dessert, a presentation about Sea Turtles, mentioning the species on the planet and some of their characteristics was shared. It was our last activity of the day and by this time we were on our way to the island of Mansuar, around the village of Yanbubba.
Monday October 9th
The morning started cloudy as we started gearing up for our first dive of the day, on the eastern cape of Mansuar island. With gentle currents and visibility around 15 meters/50 feet, our divers just drifted along a slope with coral patches where the fish life was quite abundant. Schooling Chevron and Pick-handle Barracudas, snappers, drummers, sweetlips and other smaller reef fish brought life and color overall to this dive. As for the ones who decided to photograph macro subjects, nudibranchs, like the Blue Dragon, flatworms, dragonets and the hardly seen Pontohi Pygmy Searhose were some of the findings by the divemasters.
After a morning rain, the sun came bright outside and the vessel moved east towards the heart of the Dampier Strait, where we visited one of its largest seamounts, Sardines Reef. With the currents pushing, it was an electric, active dive where the quantity of fish seen in the split point was astonishing. Fusiliers from different species set the scenario as jacks, batfish, reef sharks, snappers and a few barracudas swam by. On top of that, along the reef also a Wobbegong Shark was seen and towards the end of the dive a school of Bumphead Parrotfish munching on the rocky formations. A fantastic dive especially due to the visibility being around 20-25 meters/66-82 feet!
After lunch we moved slightly south to dive one of Central Raja Ampats most famous dive site: Cape Kri, once a world record on fish species identified during one single dive. With a northwestern current blowing, our groups dropped and drifted along the coral slope while the watching the action pass by in the forms of schooling surgeons, triggers and other silver fish Big-Eye Jacks, Pick-handle Barracudas, Rainbow Runners and queenfish. Towards the end of the dive, on the shallow plateau, Green Turtle, Napoleon Wrasse and Giant Sweetlips completed what is usually a very diverse dive in terms of marine life.
Back on board we moved towards the island of Mioskon, where we did our night dive as the sun set in between Gam and Mansuar with a red coloration painting the horizon. It was an opportunity to spot the endemic Epaulette Shark, also known as the walking shark, a nocturnal hunter. All our divers had the opportunity to see one! And it was not all, since Blue-spotted Stingray, Wobbegong Shark and even a Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse also contributed to make our last night dive a memorable one.
With all our guests back on board the bell rang for dinner, which was followed, once the delicious dessert was over, by a presentation mentioning some of the characteristics and behavior of the Epaulette Shark, just seen by our night divers. It was our last activity of the day and most guests stayed around for a bit chatting. Tonight we sleep around Mioskon.
Tuesday October 10th
A bright sunny morning started our last full day together while the vessel was still in the Dampier Strait. Our first dive of the day was around the sandy slope of Mioskon, when our divers had a relaxing drift along the reef while watching schooling rabbitfish, drummers, fusiliers and also a beautiful group of Spanish Flag, One-spot Snappers and a few Mimic Goatfish. Hidden among rocky formations where the Orangutan and Porcelain Crab and another Wobbegong Shark.
Following the day started the preparations for our last dive, in one of Raja Ampats most celebrated dive site: Blue Magic. Done during the ebbing tide, we had a eastern current present and where it hit the reef a huge concentration of fish, like fusiliers, Spanish Mackerel, Blue-fin, Orange-spotted and Giant Trevally could be seen. Around the seamount, schooling Big-Eye Jacks and a few Soldierfish and Pick-handle Barracudas were also seen. The visibility was around 10-15 meters/33-50 feet and it was a good opportunity to close out this beautiful trip that started all the way back in Bitung, North Sulawesi, passed by Halmahera and ended here in Raja Ampat.
When the last guests returned on board, the crew took responsibility of rinsing our divers equipment while we had lunch in the salon. After the meal Urik shared a video he has produced during our 12 days together, which included the highlights in terms of marine life and also some footage of our guests around the boat. Finally, Jemy opened the boutique and those who wanted to bring a souvenir back home had the opportunity to do so.
The afternoon was time to rest and at the scheduled time we had the farewell party in the sun deck. It was an opportunity for the crew and guests to spend some time together, as the first ones played some more music, awards were distributed and group pictures were taken.
As for the milestones reached during the dive: Sab (1000) and Amin (400). Congratulations!
For the ones who bravely did all the 39 dives available during this 12-day cruise, we congratulated all with the Aggressor Iron Divers awards. They were: Sab, Simo, Jane, Roberta and Michael. Great effort all!
Sunset came as we were already on our way towards Sorong and after it the bell rang for dinner. Once the meal was finished, Urik proceeded with the details of the check-out so the guests were properly informed on the logistics of tomorrow and it was followed by a slideshow with the pictures taken by our divers during the week, which was already a situation to start remembering some of the remarkable moments of this great trip. This was our last activity of the night and most guests retired to their staterooms while others enjoyed the last night having a drink and chatting.
Wednesday October 11th
At the scheduled time, the crew was waiting in the dive deck to help our guests with their luggage and bid their farewells. After almost two weeks spending time together, it was a great moment to wish all a safe trip back home and reaffirm that all are more than welcomed back aboard the vessel. Happy bubbles all!!!