Royal Welcome Back to the Four Kings
Royal Welcome Back to the Four Kings
For our first trip of the season at Raja Ampat, it was a real pleasure and an honour to welcome a team of 16 divers lead by Gerald Nowak, photography contributor to “Tauchen” diving magazine. Leaving the port of Sorong late at night, we arrived at the beautiful island of Batanta for our first 3 dives of this Indo Siren Liveaboard Safari. We had the opportunity to spot different crabs, lobsters, nudis and shrimps but also trevally and moray eels, in this very calm muck diving environment.
Continuing south, to Daram near the island of Misool, our 3 day dives were along walls full of impressive sea fans and beautiful black coral. The attraction of the day was a majestic wobbegong shark resting under a rock. Curious batfish, barramundi, school of fusilliers were also our diving companions; meanwhile 6 dolphins were companions to the snorkelers. It was the wobbegong shark’s day as we found another one during the night dive.
Our 4th diving day was spent in the Boo Islands. It was so full of marine life that we did not know where to turn our heads! In the “blue” side we watched Napoleon wrasse, white tip sharks and barracudas whilst on the reef side we watched moray eel, shrimps, crabs and nudis. Also near the island of Misool , are the the Fiabacet Islands, a group of emerging rocks having a name corresponding more to their shape than the life which can be found there. Around Nudi Rock, we spotted plenty of barracuda, bumphead parrots and hunting trevallies, along with a few nudis of course. At Whale Rock, we spotted barramundi cod and a hawksbill turtle but no whale unfortunately. Also our Indonesian guide with eagle’s eyes found pygmy sea horses for the delight of macro photographers in the group.
For our last day in the southern part of Raja Ampat, we dived 3 submerged reefs. Due to the full moon, current was stronger and we hooked on the reef for watching a huge school of batfish, school of neon fusiliers, school of damselfish but also an isolated bumphead parrotfish. Then it was time for the 12 hour boat trip to Waigeo, in the North part of Raja Ampat.
Manta rays are always expected by divers with some kind of excitation. We spotted only 1 manta at our 1st morning dive and just during the last minutes. However, we had no time to feel frustrated, because breakfast was not even finished that we observed a group of more than 20 on surface!! We jumped quickly in the dinghy to snorkel with them for some time. Then, during our 2nd dive at Manta Sandy, their cleaning station, we only had to wait 20 minutes checking out the reed until a huge and impressive Manta with a black belly appeared. She left for a while and came back followed by some friends! 1 then 2 then 3 other manta rays came “flying” to the cleaning stations, at less than 1 meter from the divers. It was a big moment of diving for all of us.
Raja Ampat is famous worldwide for macro photography, but bigger fish are not missing too. Again we had opportunity to spot black tip sharks, huge school of batfish, barracuda and trevallies during our first morning dive. During the 2nd morning dive we found 4 wobbegong sharks including one juvenile as well as sting ray and turtles. Then in the afternoon, we spotted 2 impressive groups of barracuda and 4 eagle rays.
Making our way back to Sorong, we anchored in the Dampier Strait, for our last 6 dives. Blue Magic and Cape Kri are always ranked in the top 3 favourite sites of the region as they consistently delight fans of macro and fans of bigger creatures alike. Our Siren Divers ranked these 2 sites highly on their favorite dive site (of all time!) list and were a perfect end to our Indo Siren diving safari. Then it was time to let our guest fly back home, with minds full of the beautiful diving memories and recollections of people met along the way. See you again!
Photos Courtesy of Gerald Nowak