Christmas day in Raja Ampat
Christmas day in Raja Ampat
Our final dive safari of the year was to be in Raja Ampat with a very international bunch from Germany, France, Japan, South Africa, Italy, Switzerland and Brazil… with several guests having sailed with the Siren Fleet on previous occasions! A group that enjoyed a party or two over Christmas and the new years! We were hoping for a less eventful trip this time around however thanks to our friends at Lion Air we had a delay in leaving Sorong as they had managed to leave 4 pieces of luggage in Manado. After driving around the many liveaboards in Sorong Harbor it turned out that most of them were heading north first and so couldn’t help in delivering the bags to us down in Misool…No problem as Misool Resort had a supply boat heading south in a couple of days… or did they – that was cancelled too! After trying many different options to get the luggage back to their rightful owners, Thomas and Kristina, who have proven that actually you don’t need to bring many clothes when holidaying on a liveaboard! We had to wait until returning to Sorong to receive them. Surviving on just a couple of T-shirts acquired from the Indo Siren boutique and delivered by Santa Claus, and swimwear purchased in the very special Saga shopping mall in Sorong they survived the 11 day trip with no major problems. So all those of you coming to visit us soon – pack light ;0) and always pack the essentials in your hand luggage ….
Overnight we travelled down to Batanta to start the trip with some muck diving, and this time our divers really lucked out spotting wobbegong sharks, blotched rays, ornate pipe fish, wonderpus octopus, frog fish…. and the list goes on and on! Unfortunately I missed these dives as had spent the night speaking to the big white telephone in the karma kecil due to a delicious meal in Sunshine restaurant in Sorong the night before… Luckily Frank was onboard and saved the day and stepped in as cruise director for a few days! Thanks Frank! From Batanta we headed south to Misool area on a mission to try to retrieve our anchor which we had to leave behind on the previous trip! To the joy of all crew we managed to bring it up that afternoon! We then headed over to Wayil Batan to check out some pygmy’s and also dive a new site Batu Kecil which is absolutely beautiful and is definitely on the schedule for the next trip!
Christmas day and we were lucky to be diving the very special Boo Windows and Magic Mountain where half of the guests managed to hang out with Manta Rays. The baby sharks were still there and looking as cute as ever! Just 3 dives on Christmas day as we needed to get the party going! And boy did it get going – and kept going until 2am! With parties every night the piece de resistance was when the very special Christmas cocktail kicked in and the pole dancing started. Mimpi and Dince showed the guests how you really dance here in Indonesia and guests showed them how NOT to sing. But my hard core divers were still awake and ready to dive on Boxing day in Daram at the Candy Store, Andiamo and Living colours! 3 beautiful dives. That night we travelled north to Raja Ampat and played with the mantas again – plus a few too many divers! 8 in total at one time! Very special and a first time to see them for Sabina who had the biggest smile on her face after both dives! That night we anchored at Mioskon Reef and after a really relaxed night dive with 2 wobbegong sharks we celebrated for the last time with Frank before he transferred onto another liveaboard to return to Sorong.
The next morning we dived Cape Kri then moved up to Yangeffo to experience the very special and colourful Citrus Ridge! After an incredible dive on Citrus Ridge with fish action everywhere you looked, by popular request we headed up to Waigeo and Kalui Bay to dive The Passage. It turned out to be a very memorable dive with currents ripping and everyone flying through the passage faster than the speed of light seeing a lot of rocks and not much else! Although there was an alleged sighting of a Wobbegong and we did see some triggerfish being thrown around a corner and struggling to swim – which made us chuckle until the same thing happened to Claudia! Whoops!
The next day we returned to Yangeffo to dive Mayhem and Way Pretty Shallows before moving on to Kri. However on returning from checking out the dive site before the second dive of the day we got news that our sister ship the Mandarin Siren was on fire and evacuating guests and crew. Captain Daeng and Mimpi jumped onto our big dingy grabbing fire extinguishers and headed over to try to help in any way! Grabbing whatever they could grab off the ship before it went down. They then returned with the guests and crew of the Mandarin all looking extremely shaken and in shock. The crew managed to rescue some personal effects but unfortunately most was lost as the ship eventually was lost. A very very sad day! Plans were made to evacuate everyone, and very special thanks goes out to the guests on the S/Y Indo Siren who pulled together and donated clothes and money for the crew on the Mandarin who lost not only their personal effects but also their home! Thank you sooo soo much!
After everyone was evacuated and the night dive on Mangrove Ridge was completed, we headed south again towards Kri and Sardine Reef and Blue Magic! And boy was it magic! We were entertained by manta rays at both ends of the reef as well as wobbegongs, barracuda, schooling jack fish, black tip sharks and much much more! Everyone enjoyed the dive so much we went back again for the third dive of the day! For the night dive we went to Yembeser Jetty to check out the rubbish and find some critters! We had a great dive with Stone fish, toad fish, bobtail squid, robust pipe fish and yes a wobbegong!
Our last day was spent at Batu Lima and Mioskon Reef! Followed by a brief beach trip as the rain decided to kick in! Then we started our journey back to Sorong… A bit of a rough crossing and unfortunately we couldn’t get the sails up! We delayed dinner a little until the conditions calmed down but had already started the New Year’s celebrations so everyone was happy! We were entertained by thousands of fireworks being set off along the full skyline of Sorong and even set a few off ourselves. This party exceeded Christmas finishing at 4am and the guested had to get up at 8:30am for their flights! Coffee was a premium in the morning!
Thanks to all the guests for making this trip a very enjoyable one and we hope to see you all again soon!