Mantastic Raja Ampat
After steaming all night over calm seas, the Indo Siren arrived at the far South East of Raja Ampat. The area of Daram is noted for brilliant soft coral life and gentle sloping ridges that give way to steep drop-offs into the blue. Walls of fish surround stunning coral atolls where drivers gently drift in the sunlight. Some of our guests were even treated to an amazingly beautiful six meter wide Oceanic Manta on only the second dive! “I think it’s going to be a good trip!”
At the start of the second day, with the sunrise behind us, the Indo Siren moved to the Fiabacet area. With a slight current, we started another cruisy morning. On our first dive at Yellit Kecil divers were greeted by schooling of barracuda and a wall of neon fusiliers. A tiny baby sea moth and a spearing mantis shrimp were among some of the beautiful macro creatures hiding on the sandy slope. Before our second dive, as we checked the current at Nudi Rock, we were lucky enough to bump into a shallow swimming reef Manta! Divers jumped into the water with great expectation!
The next morning, we awoke at the crack of dawn for an early morning dive at Shadow Mountain. As we crept through the gloom of an awakening reef the anticipation grew and grew, almost unbearably, until we were rewarded for our patience. MANTAS!!! MANTAS!!! MANTAS everywhere!! The dark lifted and the oceanic manta ray came out to play, feed and be cleaned, dancing and turning for an audience of ecstatic divers!
After a full night sleep we are rested and recovered for another exciting day of diving. Our day started with a layered dive of descending coral ridges perfect for macro hunting and an excited reef octopus out looking for breakfast. On our surface interval we took the tenders for a beautiful lagoon tour, beach visit and swim! After our brief respite from diving, we drop on Four Kings and are immediately greeted by a large Oceanic Manta! Come on guys!! “We have a whole dive site to explore!”
Once at Melissa’s Garden, pristine staghorn, table, and elephant ear coral are among some of the varieties that stretch as far as the eye can see and provide a home for millions of colorful damsel fish. We do two lazy drift dives to finish off the day of diving and round out the evening with a trek to a lookout and beers on the beach. Good day!
Free swimming tasseled woebegong sharks and spawning barrel sponges are among some to the fantastic sights that greet us as we start our day of diving at Mayhem. Next our photographers are treated to hunting Archer Fish in the Mangroves of the Yangefo area. “Watch out for Crocks guys!” To end the day Arborkek Jetty provides an unusually spooky setting for a night dive as we hunt for epilid sharks among the columns.
A nice drift dive around Arborek Jetty is a fantastic way to begin a new day of diving in the Dampier Strait. Later we get luck and spot an early season reef manta at Manta Sandy along with a mesmerizing flamboyant cuddlefish and a pair of slow moving sea moths! We spend the afternoon and evening exploring a few jetties and stumble upon a cute little epillid shark in the coral. “Keep on walking little dude!”
Our journey into the Dampier Strait continued with a light drift morning dive at Blue Magic. One of the highlights of the area! Woebegong shark, schooling jacks and great barracuda are among some of the unforgettable features of this site. In the afternoon we stumbled across a Bergabanti pygmy seahorse party when we found six in one sea fan! For sunset we brought the volleyball and a cooler full of Bintang to Mioskon Island. I couldn’t think of a better way to end a day of diving in the Dampier Strait.
Drift diving is the name of the game on our last day of the trip. First a lazy current at Mioskon where we saw many blue spotted stingrays and schools of yellow snapper. Next at Cape Kri, where we jumped into an aquarium of fish and hook in to watch the show then let go and enjoy the flow!
As we steamed back to Sorong we enjoyed cocktails at sunset on our top deck and reminisced about the fantastic diving of the last ten days. Thank you all for this great liveaboard dive trip in Raja Ampat!