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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captains log 18 November 2016
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
Sa: Matan Reef, Matan Reef, End of Reef (West)
Su: Friwinbonda, Sardine Reef, Cape Kri, Yenbubba Jetty
Mo: Melissas Garden, Keruo Channel, Galaxy, Keruo (Night)
Tu: Manta Sandy, Manta Ridge, Arborek Jetty, Arborek Jetty
We: Cape Mansuar, Cape Kri, Blue Magic, Mioskon
Th: Sardine Reef, Mioskon
GUESTS: Catthy, Sammy, Matt, Sharnie, David, Melvin, Mike, Linda, Rick, Debby, Scott, Pam, Eileen, Jen, Mark, Kelly
Friday November 18th
In the early afternoon we had all our guests on board. After a brief introduction and welcome soft drink they were all shown their respective staterooms and had the first meal. After lunch we had a complete briefing when the information about the boat and crew was given and everyone had the opportunity to present themselves to the rest of the group. The guests then proceeded to prepare their gear and dinner was served. Right after the meal there was a briefing regarding the diving procedures followed by the time when all went to sleep. In the early morning we arrived to our first diving location: Matan.
Saturday November 19th
We woke up at Matan and this is where we spend the morning. After having done a check dive, where no currents were present and the conditions where smooth for the divers, we then did another dive in the same location, Matan Reef, but with a moderate current so the divers could already warm up for the next few days of diving in the Dampier Strait.
The visibility, even though limited, didnt keep the divers from encountering a Barramundi Grouper, a couple of Wobbeng Sharks, a Pygmy Seahorse, a Crocodile Flathead together with other macro life found (nudibranchs and flatworms) on the hard and soft coral present especially on the shallower part of the dive site.
After the second dive we headed to the Dampier Strait where, after the afternoon snack, guest started to prepare for the night dive, done in End of Reef (West).
The night dive served as an excellent possibility to spot critters creatures, to name a few: Pygmy Cuttlefish, Marbled Shrimp and Decorator Crab. All of them spread in between the hard and soft coral present on a gentle slope that form this reef just in front of Waisai, capital of Raja Ampat Regency.
To summarise, a beautiful day of diving where the guests could have a glimpse of what would come next and make sure they could get themselves completely comfortable.
Sunday November 20th
In the morning we arrived on the surrounding of the islands Kri and Mansuar for our diving day. Having first a light breakfast we then started to prepare for our first dive, in Friwinbonda.
As somewhat expected in this part of the Dampier Strait, we could experience some current in the beginning of the dive which slowed down towards the end. On this site the guests spotted the first Blacktip Reef Shark of the cruise and also other few Pygmy Seahorses, a group of Blue-spotted Stingrays and a few different nudibranchs on some of the soft corals present. The visibility, even though a little bit murky as a result of the nutrients in the water of this part of Raja Ampat during this time of year, was quite clear (in between 15/20 meters – 50/65 feet).
After the dive was time for a full breakfast followed by the second dive of the day, done in Sardine Reef, northeast of Kri. This time the current brought along some other new pelagic life like Yellowtail Barracudas, Giant Trevally, Napoleon Wrasse, together with schooling fusiliers and a couple of Marbled Groupers.
Having lunch was next on the schedule followed by some rest. On the arranged time the dive briefing started for the third dive, in Cape Kri. Cruising along the slope covered by hard corals, guests could spot Crocodile Flathead, a school of Big-Eye Jacks, groups of Red and Midnight Snapper, a few Blacktip Reef Sharks and, by the end of the drift, a school of Bumphead Parrotfish and a Hawksbill Turtle. A lot of diversity!
The night dive of the day took place along the sheltered slope that descents from the jetty located out of the Jenbubba village in Mansuar island. Thank to the eyes of the dive guides, critters were the main highlight, to name a few: juvenile Reef Octopus, Decorator Crab, Toadfish and Tasseled Scorpionfish.
We then headed back to the liveaboard for dinner and a presentation about the Raja Ampat region, done by the cruise director, Urik. By this time, glad with the activities of the day, the guests went to sleep. As an extra observation: this evening, because of one guests (Catthy) birthday, we a little celebration and a cake was shared!
Monday November 21th
Already anchored in the region of Penemu. This is where we spent the day and the first dive was done in Melissas Garden. Besides the fantastic hard coral coverage, especially in the shallows, the guests could spot Pygmy Seahorses, Reef Scorpionfish, different species of Anemone Shrimps and more, meaning the macro life was abundant! Nevertheless, on the blue schools of fusiliers were also around, chased by jacks and mackerels. The currents were milder than yesterday, setting a tone for the day. Visibility was also quite clear!
After breakfast and a brief rest, the guests then started to prepare for the second dive, done in Keruo Channel and the current, again, was mild. According to the divers, the dive was fantastic! Different kinds of eels, groups of Red and Midnight Snapper, Hawksbill Turtle, Brown-Marbled Grouper and also a few different critters were spotted. The final part of the dive, where soft coral is plentiful, on a shallow plateau, was a highlight.
Finally everyone came back for an Indonesian style lunch and rest. In the afternoon, a few guests opted to go on a little hike to a view point and others then proceeded onto the third dive of the day: Galaxy. This time the guests havent experienced any current at all and the dive site offered plenty for macro lovers! Mushroom Coral Pipefish and Shrimp, Reef and Tasseled Scorpionfish, nudibranchs were some of the animals found by our dive guides. According to the guests, abundant also was the quantity of Pygmy Seahorses spotted.
Finally, after a cruise around the islands in Penemu done in the company of the Urik where everyone enjoyed the sunset, we started to get ready for the night dive, done in Keruo (Night). Some of the creatures spotted were: Epaullete (walking) Shark, Toadfish, Slippery Lobster and a couple of moray eels, in between others.
An Italian dinner was then served and the guests watched a presentation on Pigmy Seahorses done by the cruise director. After that the guests called it a day and we started heading to the direction of Arborek, our destination for tomorrow, after this beautiful day around Penemu.
Tuesday November 22nd
We woke up already around the island and village of Arborek, where we spent the day. The first two dives were decided upon were in two Manta Ray cleaning stations: Manta Sandy and Manta Ridge.
Even though the rays were not present, a lot was still seen. In the first dive, for example, the divers spotted a Pegasus Sea Moth, Wobbegong Shark, Devil Scorpionfish and a school of Bumphead Parrotfishes getting cleaned. The second one, done after the full breakfast, reserved, again, a few Bumphead Parrotfishes, but also Hawksbill Turtle, Napoleon Wrasse, schooling fusiliers and plenty of coral, especially different species of hard ones, covering the southern part of the sloping reef. For the morning, both dives happened with mild to non-existent currents and the visibility was around 15 meters – 50 feet.
As a side note, after the first dive of the day Melvin completed his 1000th dive and received a congratulations from the crew and other guests!
After lunch and rest everyone started preparing for the third dive of the day, done in Arborek Jetty. This time there the current was somewhat stronger but the dive plan was adapted to it so the guests could enjoy the drift and spot a cluster of Giant Clams and right after that spend the rest of the dive searching for critters around the protected jetty, like: Crocodile Flathead, scorpionfishes, lionfishes, a couple of different types of pipefishes and a few different species of nudibranchs and flatworms.
For sunset the guests had the opportunity to go on a little walk around the village on the island together with cruise director Urik and then had some rest before the night dive, done also in the Arborek Jetty. Critters were everywhere, ranging from different species of scorpionfish, flatworms, nudibranchs and crabs. Not to miss were the Epaulette Shark, cuttlefish and a feeding Giant Moray. An amazing night dive overall!
Coming back it was time for shower and finally dinner. The theme of the presentation done by Urik this night was the walking Epaulette Shark, seen the last two nights. After it everyone went to bed and we started heading back to the region around Kri and Mansuar where we wiill dive the next two days.
Wednesday November 23rd
Having arrived at Mansuar island during the night, the guests woke up, as usual, early in the morning, had a brief breakfast and started preparing for the first dive, done in Cape Mansuar. In this dive, as in the rest of the diving day, the pelagic life were on full display: Whitetip Reef Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, Napoleon Wrasse, Yellowtail Barracudas, tuna were some of the ones spotted.
Full breakfast was offered and the guests proceeded for the next dive stop: Cape Kri, in the neighbour island. Known for the quantity of fishes this site offers, this particular dive had plenty of diversity, with bigger animals again making their mark. Besides the ones mentioned about the previous dive: Grey Reef Shark, Giant Sweetlips, schooling Big-Eye Jacks and Bumphead Parrotfishes.
Finally, the guests came back for lunch and rest before preparing for the third dive of the day, done in the seamount named Blue Magic. With some current that helped bringing life to the reef, divers could spot Dogtooth Tuna, Whitetip Reef Shark, schooling Yellowtail and Pick-handle Barracudas and also Big-Eye Jacks, Giant Trevally. On the top a few camouflage masters were also seen, like Wobbegong Shark, Crocodile Flathead, besides some macro life. Simply amazing dive!
With a snack and fruit juice waiting, everyone came back from the water and rested before the night dive, which was done around the little island of Mioskon. Highlights were: decorator and sponge crabs, Walking Sharks, Banded Pipefish and a few different species of shrimps, like the whip coral.
Dinner was served at 8:00pm. As the last activity of the day, Urik detailed how the last day of the cruise would be and showed the guests a presentation on some of the primitive traces of the culture in New Guinea, one of them the cannibalism. After that the guests stayed around talking for a little bit and then went to rest.
Thursday November 24th
This was the last day of diving for our guests on this trip and the two dives done in the morning offered a bit of a summary of the trip. The first, in Sardine Reef, done during the slack tide, was mostly about the pelagic life and bigger animals. Grey, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Napoleon Wrasse, schooling Bumphead Parrotfishes, Spanish Mackerel and Jacks were circling around the place. Visibility was clear, in between 15/20 meters – 50/65 feet.
The next dive, done after full breakfast, was in Mioskon and the current was still very mild, allowing guests to focus and take pictures from the macro life and critters spotted by the dive guides. Crocodile Flathead, flatworms, nudibranchs, anemone shrimps and a few schooling snappers, fusiliers and goatfishes gave a beautiful touch to this very nice dive as the last one!
Coming back was time for lunch and for Urik to show a video, done by himself, that captured most of our time in the cruise, including some amazing underwater shots that will serve the guests as a great memory from Raja Ampat. After some rest and already on our way back to Sorong was time for the farewell party, done in the sun deck.
After having the crew band playing some songs for everyone, Catty, Matt, Sharnie, Mark, Kelly, Rick, Eileen, Melvin, David and Scott received the honours of Aggressor Iron Divers for doing all the dive possible during the cruise! Pictures were taken and memories shared in between everyone. Pam, our non-diver guest, also received a prize from Urik for her positive attitude and good energy during the whole trip.
After sunset, we proceed on with dinner and a slideshow was shown with the pictures taken by the guests during the cruise. After that came the time to rest and prepare for the last farewell in the morning.
Friday November 25th
In the morning, after having breakfast as the last meal together, we said our farewells to the guests and took them to the airport for their respective flights out of Sorong. The trip was great and friends were made, a fine time! We all hope to see them again!