Form Port to Port….
Port to Port…
For our latest Indo Siren adventure we would be making our way from Sorong to Ambon, so with guests boarded and dive gear set up we left the harbour for our first stop of the trip; Waigeo. In the morning we awoke to see fruit bats hovering over the island of Mioskon where we jumped in for a gentle check dive, seeing our first wobbegong sharks and pygmy seahorses of this 10-night liveaboard safari. Other highlights of the day were the schooling fish, hunting jacks and a solar-powered nudibranch.
The next day we selected Cape Kri, Manta Sandy and Arborek Jetty as our choice of dive sites – and from our guests’ reactions it was definitely the right one with hard corals and schools of fish at Cape Kri, 4 mantas seen at Manta Sandy and Arborek was stunning as ever with giant clams, blue ringed octopus, juvenile batfish and of course the adorable kids with their big smiles. The following morning we headed over to Farondi for dives at Wagmab, Cave & Wall, Anti-Chovey and Kalig Wall. Though the wall of sardines and hunting devil rays were not to be seen, we had success with colourful nudibranchs and more pygmy seahorses.
For our second day in the Misool area we chose to diver Yilliet Kecil, Magic Mountain and Boo Window. With great viz we saw numerous grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, turtles ,jacks and a huge manta ray but then it was time to leave these coral covered sites and head southwards for some exploration at Koon. We opted for dives at Madorang and Too Many Fish – where the pretty coral wall is literally obliterated by the wall of fish. So much life is to be found along the wall and all the divers enjoyed hunting out the critters.
We spent a somewhat bumpy night crossing over the open sea to the Banda Islands arriving in good time for an early morning dive at Hole in the Wall. Our next two dives, at Lava Flow and Green Lighthouse sit at the foot of the volcano which last erupted in 1988. Here the cabbage coral growing over the lave fields is a truly impressive site – like being on another planet! The sunset dive at Banda Neira Pier was spent watching the many mating mandarin fish. Another superb diving day.
Making an early start we ventured ashore to take a tour of the museum and fort, with our guides telling us all about the island’s history, followed by a tour of the nutmeg plantation which makes it clear why Banda is considered the “Spice Islands”. We even got to have a delicious breakfast from the local produce. Our land tour was followed up by an awesome dive at Batu Kapul where it was hard to see our buddies, despite crystal clear water, for the schools of triggerfish and butterflyfish as well as all types of moray eels and an octopus. Dives at Tanjung Basar and Nailaka were much the same – stunning reefs and huge amounts of fish. And after sunset we continued our trip to Nusa Laut.
Here we arrived in the early morning to make our dives at Ahmed Village and Akoon. Both were spectacular reefs with endless visibility, hard corals in perfect condition and sightings of eagle rays, reef sharks and turtles too! In the afternoon we had some fun with the locals while some guests and the crew had kayak-races and the day ended with a night dive at Red Church where all manner of crustacean was to be found, including some funky decorator crabs.
Time for the last leg of the trip; Ambon. We finished up the trip with 2 amazing muck dives seeing ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, seahorses and all that Ambon diving is famous for. In the afternoon we chilled out on board with sunny skies and a view of the harbor rounded off with a bit of partying to celebrate a successful trip and an end to the Raja Ampat season for Indo Siren. Next stop for me is the Philippines where I will join the Philippine Siren and her crew, meanwhile Nick- formerly of the Palau Siren – will be here to lead the crew through the next Komodo season. See you all again soon!