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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captain s log *23 August 2017
*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C *Water Temp. 27 C - 30 C
Chief Officer: Ferdy
Cruise Director: Urik
Chief Engineer: Daryanto
2nd Engineer: Aciep
Chef Assistant: Intan
Dive master: Hery
Dive master: Denny
Tender Driver: Carly
Tender Driver: Ody
Th: Jetty Resort, Manta Clean, Ketut s Rock, Jetty Panjang
Fr: Barracuda Point, Jellyfish Lake, Barracuda Point, Kakaban Jetty
Sa: Bagan, Bagan, Lunas Kapal, Devil Slope
Su: Fusiliers, Small Fish Country, Jack Point, Lagoon
Mo: The Channel, Leo Point, Gorgonzola, Gorgonzola
Tu: Jetty Resort, Jetty Resort
GUESTS: Uwe, Mirek, Tony,Alex, Victor, Natalia, Mastya, Anna, Oleg, Sergei, Roman, Sergey
Wednesday August 23rd
At the scheduled time, the crew was waiting to welcome our guests aboard. Noci and Angie, the stewardess, offered an welcome drink and Urik, the cruise director, proceeded with the introduction of the staterooms. With all comfortably accommodated, we gathered in the salon for a lunch, prepared by Jemly, the chef, and Intan, chef assistant.
When our guests were finished, Urik proceeded with an introductory briefing about the boat, mentioning its areas, rules and daily routines. The afternoon was then given for rest and preparation of dive equipment, which was done with the help of Denny and Hery, the divemasters.
After sunset came dinner and the meal was followed by another briefing by Urik, now regarding the diving logistics from the vessel. Tonight the crew also formally introduce themselves, mentioning names and position on board.
Respecting the long journey before arrival mosts of our guests had, time for rest came earlier and all retired to their staterooms. By this time we were already on our way to Sangalaki, our first destination in the archipelago of Derawan.
Thursday August 24th
Already around the island of Sangalaki, our guests had a light buffet breakfast before preparing for the check dive, done in Jetty Resort. With a medium current and visibility around 10 meters, it was the opportunity for our guests to check their buoyancy and weights. It was not all, though, as some of the marine life seen included: Turtles, Cuttlefish, Nudibranchs, Fusiliers and many more
Back aboard was time for full breakfast ordered earlier, followed by some rest. The second dive was in Manta Clean. With small current and good visibility, it was another pleasant opportunity to enjoy the coral garden, hosting a mixture between hard and soft, and its colors reflecting in the sand. Some divers also had the opportunity to see Mantas, schools of Snappers aand Fusiliers, Cuttlefish and a Black Tip Shark.
As the groups returned, the buffet lunch was served. It was followed by a longer resting time and most of our guests opted to have it in the sun deck. The afternoon dive was done in Ketut s Rock. This time, current was small to medium and the visibility was around 15 meters which allowed all to drift along the gentle slope. Some of the highlights pointed out by the divemasters on this dive included: huge Turtles, Zebra Sharks and schools of reef fish.
An afternoon snack was waiting for our divers upon return and the late afternoon was a time to rest. Night dive, done in Jetty Panjang, was an opportunity to look for critters and macro subjects. Some of the findings included: Pygmy squid, Marble Shrimp, Pygmy Cuttlefish and Decorated Crabs.
With divers back aboard and having had shower, the menu dinner was served. As our guests finished dessert, a presentation about Mantas was shared. This was our last activity for the evening and, even though a few guests stayed around chatting, most retired to their staterooms to rest. Tomorrow we dive in Kakaban.
Friday August 25th
Early in the morning, already in the northern part of Kakaban, the first dive site was Barracuda Point. With medium to strong and good visibility our divers drifted along the landscape watching the blue as Reef Sharks cruised among schooling Fusiliers, Black Fin Barracudas, Surgeon, Unicorn and Trigger fish. When the plateau turns the corner into a wall, the dive finished calmly among plenty of anthias, wrasses, snappers and angelfish. Below a table of coral, two juvenile Whitetip Reef Sharks were also spotted at the end of the safety stops!
Today, continuing with our activities, we didn t do the second morning dive. Instead, our guests went on a small tour to the biggest jellyfish lagoon in the world, where Golden, Moon and Cassiopea ( upside-down ) jellyfish swim. All had the opportunity to carefully snorkel among the animals and take pictures.
After lunch was finished and rest was given we started gearing up for the third dive of the day, a cruise along Barracuda Point again and its colorful sponges and soft coral that grow along the back side wall. Along the formations nudibranchs and crustaceans were seen, as well as a Hawksbill Turtle. The end was done on a dense hard coral garden that shelters plenty of plankton-eating smaller fish.
After sunset we started preparing another night dive, this time in Kakaban Jetty. Some of the highlights seen included: Cuttlefish, Flatworms, Crocodile fish, sleeping Turtles!
With smily faces back on board, guests had time for shower before dinner was served. Once dessert was finished a few guests stayed around enjoying the earlier night while others opted to rest. Tonight the presentation shared by Urik was about Whale Sharks! By this time we were on our way to Talisayan, closer to Borneo mainland.
Saturday August 26th
It was still dark when we arrived in the region of Talisayan, closer to the main land of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), where we did our first two dives of the days around fishing platforms known as bagans. It was an opportunity to spend time around the Whale Sharks that tend to hover around these platforms regularly. Luckily, in both our dives more than one was seen swimming below the platform, offering plenty of opportunities for photography and video, not to mention how great is such an experience with these incredible creatures! Afterwards we start heading back to the archipelago.
Our following dive on the way was done in Lunas Kapal. As our divers drifted along the sloping reef, it was an opportunity to look for macro subjects. Some of the findings by the divemasters included Pygmy Seahorse, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, nudibranchs from several species, Bubble Coral Shrimp and Crocodile Flathead. The was small and the visibility around 15 meter.
After sunset we gearing up for the night dive, done in Devil Slope, a site with similar topography as the previous and also plenty of macro life to be seen. Some of the critters seen included: (juvenile) Broadclub Cuttlefish, Pygmy Squid, Tasseled Scorpionfish and flatworms.
Back aboard the vessel from the last dive, we gathered in the salon for dinner. What followed was a presentation about Pygmy Seahorse done by the divemaster Hery, mentioning the species present in Indonesia and some of their characteristics. This was our last activity for the day. By this time we were already on our way to the atoll of Maratua.
Sunday August 27th
We arrived before sunrise around Maratua and the first dive happened in Fusilliers, a wall that extends into a deep plateau where our divers drifted along looking for pelagic life. Some of the animals seen included Turtles and Pick-handle Barracudas. On top of that, towards the end of the drift a considerable school of Black Fin Barracudas was a great ending! The conditions were medium current and good visibility.
Our following two dives happened on the eastern side of the atoll, first along the wall named Small Fish Country with medium ++ current and 20 meter visibility. On this site anthias, wrasses, Sargeant Major, parrot, butterfly and anglefish are seen all around. This site also tends to be visited by a lot of turtles, mostly Green with a few Hawksbill specimen.
Our last day dive was done in Jack Point. At the start of the drift, done along a wall, the groups could already see a few Dogtooth Tunas and Spanish Mackerel. Along the wall we spotted thousens of reef fish, more than 20 Turtles and some Nembrotha Korbayana that amazed all groups! As it is usually the case here, current was mild and good visibility.
By sunset the vessel was already anchored on the Lagoon where the night dive happened. Some of the critters our divemasters pointed out included: Giant Mantis, Decorator Crab and Long-armed Octopus.
With all back aboard we got together for another delicious dinner. Dessert was followed by a presentation shared by Urik on characteristics and reproduction of Sharks, as well as some of the threats to their existence. Finally, some guests stayed around while a few retired to their rooms. Tonight we sleep in Maratua, where we ll dive tomorrow again.
Monday August 28th
Today our first dive happened on the dive site named The Channel, east of Maratua with medium to strong current and 15 meters visibility, besides the landscapeof the site itself, which merits highlight due to the abundance of huge huge school of Black Fin Barracudas, some other of the marine life seen included Dogtooth Tuna, Grey Reef Shark, batifish and a few Blue-fin and Orange-spotted Jacks cruising along.
Our following dive happened slightly further north, in Leo Wall, where the landscape is composed of wall exchanged with slopes and a few ridges extending out of the main reef. The reef in shallow waters is home to a lot of fish and serve as resting area for Green Turtles. Nevertheless a few Hawksbill were also seen swimming around. Our divemasters also did found some critters, like Crocodile Flathead and Leopard Morey Eel!
Following lunch and again further north from the previous site, we dove in Gorgonzola, a wall where the coral life is more vivid on the shallows. Fusiliers, drummers and butterflyfish brought color to the dive while along the anthias, damselfish and wrasses did their part formed the majority of life hovering on top of the coral formations.
As the sun set, was time for another the night dive, a repeat of Gorgonzola. Critters, were what the divemasters found, including: Marbled Shrimp, Twin-spot Lionfish, Tasseled Scorpionfish and Sponge Crab.
With all groups back aboard it was time for dinner. Once dessert was finished Urik explained the schedule for the following day, our last one of diving, and a presentation about Turtles followed, indicating their characteristics, behavior and also threats to existence. Quite a few guests stayed around after it. Tomorrow we dive in the island of Derawan.
Tuesday August 29th
During the night we had already arrived around the small island of Derawan, where we did our last two dives. Being mostly muck dives, the groups focused on searching for critters and macro subjects that hide among sponges, hard coral and rubble covered in sediments. Some of the highlights of our morning included Ribbon Eel, Hairy Shrimp, Reef Stonefish, Crocodile Flathead, Painted Frogfish, a few species of nudibranchs, like the Blue Dragon, in between others. A considerable amount of Green Turtles was also seen on one of the dives, including some huge ones. Both dives happened close to jettys.
With everyone back aboard and sitting for lunch, the crew took care of rinsing the dive equipment of our divers. Afterwards Urik shared the video he prepared during the trip with underwater highlights. The afternoon then came for rest and packing.
Afterwards was time for our farewell party and the hard-working crew showed up to thank our guests for the visit, playing some music to all. It was also the time to distribute our awards and milestones.
Alex and Merek had become and SSI Advanced Adventurer Diver. Alex also has become a Nitrox Diver. Sergey made all the dives and became an Iron Diver.
As the sunset came and we were on our way back to the port of Tarakan, our final dinner, a signature one, was served. After it Urik explained the check-out procedure and followed with a slideshow with the pictures taken during the week. This was our last activity of the night and most people from stayed around for a bit longer before heading to bed.
Wednesday August 30th
Early in the morning the crew was waiting for our guests on the sun deck to say good-bye and wish all a pleasant journey back. Thank you all for the visit! We hope to see you again aboard the Raja Ampat Aggressor.