Mantas Action in Raja Ampat

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Mantas Action in Raja Ampat…

sea-fan uliOn 21 April a new trip of the Indo Siren through Raja Ampat started with our 15 Europeans finally boarded after a flight delay we commenced our journey to Misool to kick start our diving in Daram. The great viz and very calm sea had everyone totally enthused about the dives with stunning corals, schools of fish and of course the pygmy seahorses. Dive day 2 got underway at Yiliet Kecil followed by Magic Mountain where we were wowed by the vast amounts of fish, turtles, white tip sharks and a manta ray circling over our heads. Our night dive brought forth a first for many with a sighting of the epaulette “walking” shark. A superb day of diving with plenty more in store…

batfish uliThe next day we returned to Magic Mountain; again a great dive everything there again except the manta didn’t turn up this time. Other dives we made in Fiabacet (Nudi Rock and Tank Rock) were we enjoyed the scenery and the sheer amount of fish life and finished up with a nightdive on Kalig Wall where a huge turtle came to hug one of the divers!!!

Departing early in the morning from our mooring at Wayal Batan we opted to dive the Four Kings, which is not always accessible due to waves and current. So we were very excited and certainly not disappointed as we explored from pinnacle to pinnacles. The day continued with dives at Gorgonian Passage,Wedding Cake and Barracuda Rock, meanwhile a couple of guests opted to enjoy the above water beauty with a kayak trip.

fish-school uliAnti Chovey was to be our first dive the following day, with a lot of fish life especially on the shallow part of the plateau. After this dive we moved to Farondi where the boat anchored on a lovely spot with “beach-view”. A few guests couldn’t resist the temptation and had to swim to this lovely beach. Here we dived Wagmab Wall to enjoy the huge school of sardines which we discovered the trip before. More “fishy” dives were to follow at Baby Rock and Two Tree Island. Where we found some lovely nudibranchs and another huge scholl of sardines; this time hunted by jacks and a needle fish. A night dive at Love Potion rounded out the day with sighting of two squids in their mating dance and egg laying; this was really amazing to see. Then it was time for relaxing, drinking a couple of beers in the great environment of the lagoon before the long journey north to Waigeo Our first dive was at Mayhem. Simply Awesome! 4 wobbegongs and a black crocodile fish in just a few square metres of reef, several of us saw 4 types of sharks on this dive; black tip, white tip, grey reef and wobbegongs. Then we dived into the mangroves at Citrus Ridge and ended up in a drift day on the slope of Gam island cause of the current. Then in the afternoon we dived Arborek Jetty were everybody enjoyed the giant clams, colorful soft corals and the big school of travellies. Returning for our night dive, dive guide Dince was in top form finding a frogfish and a blue ringed octopus for our divers.

manta-ray uliManta Sandy was on the schedule the following morning. The dive site is a cleaning station at which mantas visit to be “cleaned” and maybe they enjoy being tickled by the divers’ bubbles too. We were lucky to see mantas on both dives and our divers were very impressed to see these giant and gentle animal. Also funny that in the sand also were interesting things to find: seamoth, snake eel and elbow crab. A gentle drift along Sardine Reef brought out several big black tip sharks and evening we dived at Mioskon.

pymy-seahorse- uliLast day of the trip we did our first dive on Blue Magic. And directly from the start we saw 4 huge manta rays, they continued to circled around and above us throughout the dive and on our safety stop another wobbegong was found. So on request of many guest we dived Blue Magic for a second time and after enjoying the schools of trevallies, barracudas, a wobbegong and many other critters, another manta shows up on the end of the dive. But the surprises were not over for on our way back to Sorong whales could be seen on the horizon from our viewing spot on the Indo Siren deck – what a way to end another superb trip in Raja Ampat

Photos By: Uli Wilhelm

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