Blue Whales in Raja Ampat?

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As most of the year it was a sunny day when the Indo Siren guests arrived in Sorong. At 10 am everybody was onboard and we had a first light breakfast and the welcome briefing. Then quick equipment setup and some paperwork and everybody could rest a bit and get some sleep after the overnight flight. After lunch and the mandatory lifejacket drill we just waited for the harbor clearance before heading off south towards Daram in the Misool Area. Beautiful weather and flat calm sea meant a relaxed crossing.

We spend the first diving day around the little rocky island and visited Candy Store, Andiamo and Living Colors.  Beautiful colours and schools of fish welcomed all of us to Misool. After the 3rd dive one group even spotted a blue whale on the surface. Captain Ahmad drove the Indo Siren 20 miles west for our next diving destination Yellit. During the crossing we spotted pilot whales and dolphins. Nearly everybody went for the first night dive of the trip.

Lionel Whittaker and Anne van Volxem

We had a great first dive at Magic Mountain. A large oceanic manta showed up for a good morning and medium current meant schools of fish. The manta followed us to our second dive site Boo Windows, with its iconic large openings which inspired our photographers to some great pictures. Schools of golden batfish and fusiliers been around and some pygmy seahorses been spotted in the sea fans. Two more dives in the Boo area rounded up the day and smiles all round and everybody was up for a good night sleep.

Lionel Whittaker and Anne van Volxem 3

We started the weekend with a very fishy dive, one of my favorites, Yellit Kecil, schools of batfish, barracudas and fusiliers been great for our wide angle photographers whilst the macro lovers could spot misool pygmy seahorse and pom pom crab. For the night we moved into the picturesque Kalig Bay where we did our night dive and had a love quiet night.

pom pom crab

Sunday morning- and the sun was shining, what a start. For our first dive, we did Whalerock and it was just great, amazing colourful soft corals and everybody was chatting during breakfast how great the dive was. After one more dive in the Fiabacet region, Captain Ahmad moved the Indo Siren to the area of Wayilbatan where we spend the afternoon and next morning, exploring the local dive sites. Again a variety of pygmy seahorses been spotted and large schools of fusiliers cruised past us .
During lunch we started our journey north, at first with two more stops in the Misool area. Antichovey is always one of the highlights with its schooling fish and beautiful pinnacles. The night was spent in front of a lovely beach in Farondi.

schooling fish

Three more dives today in the small chain of rocky islets of Farondi and Sagof and off we went north towards Penemu. All of the three dives have been great with mobula Rays, wobbegong and off course pygmy seahorses. Again we had beautiful weather for our crossing and we woke up to sunshine and calm sea at Penemu Islands. The first dive here was at Melissa’s Garden, the current picked up a bit which brought a large amount of fusiliers to the reef, at some point it was like swimming in a fish soup. After two more dives in Penemu it was time to stretch our legs a bit and we walked up to the viewpoint of the Bintang Lagoon, 324 steps later we been rewarded with a beautiful view.

beautiful coral

The next morning we dove one of my favourites in Central Raja Ampat, Citrus Ridge, with amazing corals, wobbegong shark and macro life like robust ghost pipe fish. Manta Sandy did not disappoint this trip either, we saw 4 mantas getting cleaned and when the mantas not being around we spotted wobbegong shark and little pegasus sea moth. For our final afternoon and night we went to Mioskon to encounter more wobbegong and schooling fish.

wobbegong32

The final day of diving was reserved to two of the most famous sirtes in Raja Ampat, Cape Kri and Blue Magic. On the first dive Cruise Director Erol found a “staple” of pygmy seahorses, 22 in one sea fan. Just when  the guests came back from the dive the crew had another surprise ready, all 7 sails been up and everybody could take a few shots of the Indo Siren. During our crossing back to Sorong, we saw a blue whale just 100 m off the starboard side.
And so the adventure ended!!

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