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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captains log *17 – 24 September 2016
*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C
*Water Temp. 29 C - 30 C
Cruise Director: Antonio
Chief Officer: Ferdi
Engineers: Yuli & Maxi
Chefs: Jemly & Destri
Housekeeping: Betty & Dian
Dive masters: Herry, Yamin & Jose
Tender Drivers: Charly & Ody
Deck Hand: Jasman
Sun: Friwinbonda, Mioskon, Cape Kri, Cape Mansuar
Mon: My Reef, Keruo Channel, Rangers Reef/Hill Hikking, Keruo Channel
Tue: Melissas Garden, Mayhem, Mangrove Reef, Arborek
Wed: Manta Ridge, Manta Sandy, Otdima, Mioskon
Thu: Sardines, Cape Kri, Cape Mansuar, Saonek
Fri: Friwinbonda, Blue Magic
GUESTS: Mark, Hank, Rachel, Josh, Gerard, Fins, Ron, Barton, Cathy, Igor, Konstantin, Ed, Paul, Ann & Dawn
Saturday September 17th
The whole group stayed at the Marina Mamberamo Hotel and have been picked up at 12:00. Early afternoon we had all our guests on board. We accommodated everybody in staterooms and had a lunch. After lunch we had a welcome briefing and we decided to stay in Sorong Harbor until dinner is finish, as we expect some rough sea during the crossing to Raja Ampat. Arrive to Friwin Island at 3am.
Sunday September 18th
We wake up at Friwinbonda Island were we will do our check dive. We started in the protected part of the island, a gentle drop off with almost no current, no waves and clear water below us… After the first part, a bit boring without much to see and with all divers already “in the mood” we reach the corner where a bit stronger current was creating some good fish action: schools of fusiliers, yellow tail snappers, few black tip reef sharks, a wobeggong shark, crocodile fish, jakfish, giant trevallies, and some nice macro stuff like pipe fish, pygmy seahorse and few nudis.
Our second dive at Mioskon has been bit more interesting, with a big school of bumphead parrot fishes spotted, couple of sharks, more schools of yellow tail snappers… Started in the split point to enjoy more activity and end in the sheltered side.
The third dive will be difficult to forget, Cape Kri was offering a fabulous UW spectacle. First part drifting along the wall, enjoying the schools of jacks, snappers, sweet lips, surgeon fish… The second part over the sheltered shallow plateau was plenty of green turtles, groupers and small group of reef fish in a very calmed end of dive.
By request of our customers, we decided to change the night dive for a late noon dive. Cape Mansuar is the chosen place. The reef didnt disappoint during light time, showing reef shark, schools of reef fish… when the dark time started some more macro activity started and at the end we got an epaulette shark.
Monday September 19th
At 3am we started moving towards Penemu area, anchored close to the first dive at 5:45.
The first dive at My Reef has been a pleasant one, some divers dove the sea mount area, some others the ridge… Mostly reef sharks, a few Napoleon wrasses and schools of snappers have made the dive. At the end the current started, so around 50 mins of dive was difficult to keep on top of the reef, so we decided to drift in groups doing the safety stop in the blue.
Our second dive has been in Keruo… A very gentle current drifted the divers along a colourful wall plenty of soft corals and fish, spotted a swimming wobeggong, sea snake, green moray eel, turtle…
Third dive and hill hiking: Some divers decided to do the Penemu hill, to enjoy the outstanding views of the lagoon, while others did the rangers island, enjoying a current dive where several reef sharks have been spotted, Napoleon wrasse, school of fusiliers and other nice stuff.
Night dive: we decided to do again Keruo channel, since the whole group enjoyed it so much during the second dive. It was a good choice, again a walking shark, more lobsters, power solar nudibranch, flat worms and some other nice stuff.
Tuesday September 20th
We moved towards Melissas Garden at 6am… 7am briefing to dive the best dive site in Penemu area… So far, competing with the Cape Kri dive because of the gorgeous spectacle of corals and fish… Too much to be described in a log. All our customers exit the water with a big smile and plenty of pictures and videos in their cameras. Hight light: Our dive master Herry got the first Pygmy Pontohi of the season.
Our second dive was in Mayhem, close to Yangeffo Island. This sea mount, where we expected a medium strength current, has been very duable for all our divers… Spotted 2 wobeggong sharks, black tip sharks, Napoleon wrasses, school of barracudas, Spanish mackerels… Again happy divers coming on board.
Third dive has been in Mangrove Ridge. We started during the slack water time, and after 30 mins current became strong enough to hooked up in the reef and enjoy passing by animals such as manta mobula, black tip sharks, a turtle and some Spanish mackerels… The first part was quite colourful, along the ridge under the mangrove, spotting mostly reef critters such us mantis shrimp, moray eels, crabs, a big lobster… In the sandy bottom a huge marble sting ray as well.
Start sailing towards Arborek Island to prepare the 4th dive. Once there, current checked we decided to do a day dive, below the jetties. We could enjoy all the coral reef surrounding the island, spotting sharks, reef fish, giant clams… Last part of the dive was almost a night dive and one of the group could see a walking shark among other nice stuff.
Wednesday September 21th
We started in the same area trying to do some manta dives today. First spot decided was Manta Ridge. And luckily we could get 3 mantas in the cleaning station.
Second dive in Manta Sandy, not that lucky. A medium current started after 20 mins of dive no mantas showed up.
Third dive. Otdima, became this day for some divers the best dive of the trip… It has been wonderful: spotted eagle ray, group of 4 black tip sharks eating a prey, schools of fusiliers, wobeggong, turtle, life, life and life in one of the most healthy coral reefs in Raja Ampat. Almost no current, good visibility and 60 mins dive for all divers.
For the night dive we chose Mioskon. Nothing special, but enough good stuff to make it nice: scorpion fishes, crocodile fishes, nudibranches, moray eels…
During dinner time we celebrated the birthday of our guest Ms Cathy with his favourite carrot cake and all the crew singing “Happy Birthday to you” with guitars and drums. Such an emotive moment for all of us!
Thursday September 22th
7:00 briefing for our next dive: Sardine Reef. One of the bests sites in Dampier Strait… Te current was strong but visibility and amount of life was just amazing: 4 different kind of sharks, school of barracudas, turtle, snappers and surgeons every where, fusiliers, spotted eagle ray…
Second dive is Cap Kri. After the last day experience we decided to repeat it in less current conditions. It was even better at this time with the sun on top of the reef and the gentle current making us drift along the reef. Found all kind of great life there like sharks, school of jack fish, barracudas, snappers… Close to the end, in the slope current was stronger, but duable.
Third dive in Cape Mansuar, offered again a nice spectacle with more sharks, turtles, more fusiliers, cuttle fish… An unexpected thermocline surprised us dropping the water from the usual 29C / 84F to 24C / 75F. No current and very pleasant water.
Night dive in Saonek: Apparently the best night dive of the trip… Giant frog fish, ornate crab, orangutan crab, leef fish, flamboyant cuttle fish eggs, moray eels, lion fishes, pipe fishes...
Friday September 23th
7:00 Beefing for Friwinbonda. This time the ridge at the end of the island with a bit of current expecting some big stuff, and we got… Black tip shark, 3 wobeggongs, schools of fusiliers, jack fish, surgeons, barracudas. We ended the dive drifting towards the wall where we got some flat worms and a pygmy seahorse.
Our last dive of the trip has been in Blue Magic. We delayed as much as we could to get the softer current possible… We got a big lobster, barracudas, school of jack fish, blue trevallies, tons of fusiliers, white tip reef shark, 3 wobeggongs, Spanish Mackerel… We couldnt have a better way to finish the trip.
Lunch, last briefing while the crew washes the equipment… At 4pm we did our cocktail party where we give all the awards, followed by a toast and all the congratulations to the crew for such a nice trip. Slowly and one by one, we settled the bills while some of our guests purchased some articles from our boutique..
After dinner we showed pictures from our guests and our photo pros… Last farewells before go sleep to prepare the long journey back home for our guests
Saturday September 24th
In the morning we said our farewells to our guests and send them to the airport. It was a great 7 day trip and we made new friends and had a very good time. We hope to see them all again!