Rays dive into sardine cloud

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Rays dive into sardine cloud…

 

Yellow-Snapper-in-Misool-Ben-JacksonOn the 20th of February our guests, from differing countries, arrived on S/Y Indo Siren moored in Sorong, but all with English as their mother language. After the boat briefing, paperwork and a sumptuous breakfast there was time to relax, before setting up the scuba equipment in preparation to get underway in the afternoon. After a very smooth  cruise to Misool we commenced our first day’s diving in Daram. Sunny weather and great viz greeted us and the dive sites were truly amazing. The Candy Store, Living Colors and Andiamo gave beautiful backdrops provided by sea fans and gorgonian corals, as big schools of fish swam around. A few lucky divers spotted their first ever pygmy seahorse.

Pygmy-Seahorse-in-Gam-Bonnie-Jackson

The good weather and exceptional visibility continued with a wonderful plunge on Yelliet Kecil, followed by Magic Mountain and with some bigger stuff present. We spotted grey reef and whitetip sharks, marauding barracuda, and a huge manta! The last dives of day two we enjoyed looking through Boo Windows at the wonderful sceneries and abundant life.

The theme set for some great diving with the guests impressed by the numbers and array of color provided by sea fans and gorgonians, together with the sheer volume of fish at Fiabacet and its dive sites: Nudi Rock, Tank Rock and Boo West. We rescheduled our night dive as the wind started to pick up, moving Indo Siren to were we plunged onto Barracuda Rock. No barracuda in the dark, but nobody complained as there was a ‘walking shark‘! Diver-surrounded-by-the-bait-ball-Ben-Jackson

Next day we remained in this beautiful area with some guests deciding to take advantage of the view with some kayaking. The paddle started with an “eskimo-roll” and with the incredible weather was much enjoyed! We returned to Wedding Cake, Dunia Kecil and Barracuda Rock dive sites and its namesake was there in droves and much more, including wobbegong (carpet sharks/Orectolobidae).

Two Trees Island was opted for by all as we heard rumors of a large school of sardines being spotted, so the anchor was lifted late afternoon ready for an early jump into the blue at 7.30am. Halfway through the dive and still no “fish-ball”! Andrew pointed out three mobular rays and as we followed them in the distance the massive cloud of sardines blew in. Later, one of the guests told me she saw some on my face and that made it something special! And special it was too, reminding me of the sardine runs of South Africa.

The huge school of sardines constantly changed shape, while 40 to 50 mobular rays, jacks and other hunters stalked them!

Incredible!

And where to make our second dive of the day was easiest decision – Two Trees Island!! As soon as tanks were filled and everyone was prepped we jumped straight into the “fish ball”, with the action continuing from start to finish of the whole dive.

Wobbegong-at-Mioskon-Bonnie-JacksonIn the afternoon half of the divers jumped back into the waters, whilst our remaining guests took the dinghy into the lagoon to enjoy a swim in the stunning scenery, then relax with a Bintang and talk over our excellent dives of the morning.

Back on the boat it was time to travel onto Waigeo, a trip that takes about 15 hours though passes quickly. We arrived in the straits between Yanggefo and Gam islands to make our four dives in the mangroves. The dive on Citrus Ridgewas highly rated with the wonderful colors, schools of barracuda and diversity of marine life. 

Next day took us up to Manta Sandy and one diver was so eager he went in the water long before the 3, 2, 1, go (sorry Ben – ha-ha!). Understandable as mantas came and went throughout the dive, and particularly nice was our meeting with one of the mantas on the surface, where he made a dozen loops right under the dinghy!

Schooling-Mobula-Rays-attacking-the-bait-ball-in-Misool-Ben-Jackson

Afternoon and evening we did our dives in Arborek, while in between a walkabout on the island was enojyed. One of our returning divers had brought some plasticized pictures of the children, and a first-time guest had some coloring books and pencils. The kids were delighted with the gifts!

For our last day of full diving we visited the Dampier strait. It’s always spectacular with currents and schools of fish, starting in the morning with Blue Magic and Sardine Reef. The afternoon gave us an amazing dive on Mioskon with four wobbegongs, pygmy seahorse and a yellow frogfish! In the evening the guests and crew celebrated Patrick’s birthday with some special ‘slow-dances’.

With our last two dives of the voyage at Cape Kri and Otdima making for a grand finale, it was back to Sorong.

What an amazing trip with unforgettable diving about Indo Siren. I would like to thank all our guests and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Photos by Ben Jackson/Equator Diving

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