Komodo Liveaboard Dive Safari
With S/Y Indo Siren
Team America, Germany, Finland and Singapore arrived right on time for our 8 day trip! But unfortunately the weather wasn’t so kind to us – we had a bit of a rocky ride on the way out to Sangeang and the conditions got worse after our first dive on Techno reef and so we headed straight over Gili Banta for a taste of Swiss Dream and then the Small World for some stargazers, bobtail squid, Indian walkman, cuttlefish, stonefish and much much more. Always my favourite night dive but surprisingly not for this group – with The Unusual Suspects winning!
S/Y Palau Siren Liveaboard Diving in Komodo
This was a special trip for me. Firstly I love to dive in Komodo and this was the maiden voyage of our new luxury liveaboard S/Y Palau Siren. Frank and the boats building team did it again, with an amazing new vessel. After Frank gave the briefing to our first group of guests from Australia, all you could hear was “WAOH !!!” when we showed everybody their amazing cabins and the group had the chance to explore the yacht.
Swiss Antics in Komodo
Whoever said the Swiss were very serious people have never met the group that joined the S/Y Indo Siren in Bima Bay on 3rd of June! I must say they have certainly broken the record for pole dancing! Entertaining us on the first day before we had even had breakfast!!!! This set the tone for the rest of the trip! Constantly entertaining us with a very competitive card game going on and the winners cheering and running around the boat in triumph when they win!!! During our checkout dive on Unusual Suspects we saw the thorny seahorse as well as a couple of rather large crabs mating! The party started the minute they were all out of the water with some not even having time to change out of their speedos! At midnight the party police (Stephan) came around and told everyone it was time to sleep …. Which a few listened to but most ignored!
Diving Komodo National Park on S/Y Indo Siren
A very multicultural group this time from USA, Spain, Argentina, Switzerland, the UK and Germany, arrived right on schedule to commence our 4th trip here in Komodo this season for the Indo Siren. We also welcomed back some repeat guest Ingrid & Joachim who were with us back in January in Raja Ampat. Once everyone was settled in and rested we started the trip with our checkout dive at The Unusual Suspects and probably our best dive there for some time. We were inundated with Thorny seahorse, frog fish, nudis, not to mentioned spying some ornate ghost pipefish and tiger shrimp, cuttlefish and of course crabs galore. A good start to the trip!
Komodo liveaboard Adventures
Well they call themselves the OAP Brigade but with an average age of 56 this group of divers, who joined the S/Y Indo Siren for a 7-night trip in Komodo, could put you all to shame! Day 1 and we quickly established that MUCK diving wasn’t really their thing and so we tried to focus more on the beauty and fishiness that is Komodo. Early the next morning we motored over to Sangeang Volcano for the first introduction to Komodo currents – at Techno reef and then Hot Rocks. Hot Rocks definitely set the scene, when the currents suddenly picked up a third of the way through the dive and we ended up flying past the very pretty wall over to a more protected side, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying some beautiful nudis, a reef octopus and the very cute hairy squat lobster and orangutan crab! Most of which were big enough for them to see … with the use of our magnifying glasses ;0) The soft corals and colours were certainly easier to enjoy. Afterwards we moved over to Gili Banta for a slightly more sedate dive at K2 and then a night dive at Small World, which was very much enjoyed by everyone, even though it was almost a muck dive as we saw stargazers, snake eels, crocodile fish, big fat stonefish, reef squid and much much more.
The Dutch have landed! The Dutch have landed! And what a great bunch they were! I have never met so many divers so keen to get into the water! They had all donned their dive gear before we even called briefing and moved the boat! And this keenness continued right up until the last day! Incredible!
Photography Workshop in Raja Ampat
Armed with kilos of overweight luggage and cumulatively more than a century of dive experience, our eager underwater digital SLR photographers arrived onboard the S/Y Indo Siren raring to capture the beauty of Raja Ampat in RAW images. The photography workshop arranged by DiveQuest and lead by underwater photography guru, Shannon Conway, was the perfect opportunity for our guests to hone their skills on stunning subjects. At the end of the trip each photographer submitted their 3 favorite photos into a competition, reviewed and judged by all aboard (including the crew).What diver is not inspired by underwater images found in dive magazines or in coffee table books? I, myself, must admit to envying people who have the opportunity and talent to capture such beauty. And then I think about the weight and size (and price!) of all the equipment, the organization, time and diligence required to filter, sort and post-process each photo and I realize I’m quite happy just to swim around unencumbered sharing beautiful things I encounter to other people … and let them do the work! Because, really, what goes into the making of a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, goose bump-illiciting underwater photograph? A whole hell of a lot! The right equipment and facilities, relevant technical knowledge and information, as well as great subjects, just to name a few.
Gong Xi Fa Cai: The Submersibles on the Indo Siren
Gong Xi Fa Cai! The Chinese New Year of the Dragon got off to an auspicious start for the Indo Siren with two short but sweet 5-night trips in Northern Raja Ampat with the Singapore-based Submersibles and their friends. The first group arrived after a 12-hour delay raring to get into the water so they were made comfortable and set up on the S/Y Indo Siren in record time. Diving the shores of Batanta turned up many strange and wonderful critters and was a bonanza for all of those ghost-pipefish fans. It also offered up a photo opportunity with our birthday boy, Christian Loader, professional photographer and videographer for Scubazoo, with his new friends helping to wish him a very happy birthday underwater. That evening presented more fantastic photo and video opportunities as the crew of the Indo Siren dressed up in bizarre costumes to sing him happy birthday while presenting his birthday cake. At the end of the 10-night odyssey we also celebrated the birthday of Dian, Indo Siren’s housekeeper and masseuse with another cake, more creative costumes and a humorous pots-and-pans serenade from her boat family. Careful cutting that cake, Dian! Not to be confused with the cruise director’s head!
Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat
Organising a trip such as this, direct with the Dive Operator, is never an easy task – particularly when your Dive Buddies come from two different continents! Some of us stopped in Lembeh first, others came direct via Hong Kong, Seoul, or Dubai, and we used a variety of Indonesian airlines to get there, it was no small miracle that we all managed to make it to Sorong – and even better, our dive bags made it too!
Raja Ampat aboard Indo Siren
Liveaboard diving in Indonesia
Manta by Stephan Zahn
Well I am pleased to say our first trip of 2012 got off to a smooth start with all passengers receiving their luggage and flights only slightly delayed. Our guests were mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a sprinkling of Danish, Swedish and English to add to the mix.For this trip we headed north first to visit the Mandarin Siren and also check out some “big birds”! As it turned out, 4 other boats were also checking out the “big birds” so we changed our schedule a little and dived on Arborek Pier first where we had a glimpse of our first walking shark- the epaulette – as well as checking out the giant clams and ornate ghost pipefish. Then it was over to Manta Sandy along with about 20 other divers to check out the big birds and we have 3 or 4 at any one time which was great. For the third dive of the day half of the divers opted to return to Manta Sandy whilst the others joined Frank on a salvage mission to retrieve items from the Mandarin Siren, which now sits in 30m of water. Our first day of diving was polished off with a sunset dive on Arobrek Pier, where schools of fish gather under the pier’s supports and many colourful nudibranchs can be found in the soft corals.