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|Newsletter June 2009|
Hello dive buddies!
We just finished our third year of operations with a "corker" of a cruise from Komodo to Bali and below you'll see some of the pictures of this cruise. Great stuff in South Rinca, mantas galore at the alley, three sisters thriving, wonderpuss at shortnose (join and see!), and good fish in the north. Great stargazers at Banta and super critter action at Sangean, at the good old black sand dive. Some bleaching in the north, especially at Sebayor and also at the otherwise splendid reef of Satonda. Still fishing is taking place on all dive sites and in all "no-take zones" and this is going to have its impact if not checked. Spear gun damage on many of the giant trevallies on castle rock....
But what a great season and fantastic diving we had last season! And it all ended with a great party on board in Benoa, thanks to all of you who joined us for that! With kind support of Joel, captain of the Maloekoe, we docked at Indo Nusa jetty Benoa Harbor and celebrated another successful year of Seven Seas adventures. Check out some of the guest comments from the past year via the testimonials page on our website. Seven Seas will be in dock for the next month few weeks and we will have her coming out shining for our first cruise of next season, July 14-21 in Komodo. We are already looking forward to another year of even better dive experiences with many of you on board!
A quick one on availability. August 20-30 in Komodo National Park and Dec 3-17 for Ambon to Sorong, with Banda Sea and Koon and Raja Ampat. That is IT for the rest of this year so if you still want to join us before 2010, give it some thought! Contact us for bookings at [email protected] and please keep checking our schedule via www.thesevenseas.net/schedule.php as things can always change!
Trip reportOn our last cruise we had Burt Jones (www.secretseasvisions) on board as our special guest star, and he wrote the following note on the trip:
"In the early 1990's I was fortunate to be invited to join a survey of Komodo National Park to determine if it had the "right stuff" to make it worth developing into a dive destination. On that trip were Dr. Gerald Allen and his sidekick Roger Steene. Gerry is presently the world's leading tropical ichthyologist and Roger is one of the world's best marine life photographers. At the time they were my idols and I considered myself blessed to be asked to join the expedition. Over the years we become close friends and have dived and worked together many times. That initial survey was a real eye opener, however, and we discovered many sites, like Horseshoe Bay and Cannibal Rock, that are now part of the itineraries of many liveaboards. Over the next few years my wife Maurine and I spent countless hours exploring Komodo's hidden treasures.
During those years we met and became friends with Jos Pet, who at the time was the field station manager for TNC and Mark Heighes, who was cruise director on one of Komodo's first liveaboard, "The Evening Star". Mark and Jos along with there wives Lida and Tuti are now partners in "The Seven Seas". After a few years Maurine and I went on to explore other destinations within Indonesia but some of our fondest memories are those early days when we had the park virtually to ourselves. During the past decade we had only returned to Komodo infrequently so I was thrilled to be asked to join "The Seven Seas" most recent itinerary. I was especially curious to see the state of the park and how the reef's inhabitants had faired during our time away. I was happily surprised to find the reefs in good condition and the number of fish on many of the sites had actually increased. Fifteen years of conservation had really paid off. We had a wonderful trip. The manta aggregations in southern Komodo were the best encounters I've ever experienced. Cannibal Rock, although the top of the reef showed some diver impact, is still one of the world's best divesites. And the two northern sites of Crystal Bommie and Castle Rock are truly world class with more fish than I remembered especially big fish, like tuna and giant trevally. Castle Rock is one of the few sites in Indonesia that actually has a healthy population of sharks and dolphin are frequently encountered there when the current is running feeding on the swirling mass of fishes. I am pleased to say that the diving in Komodo is as good, and in some cases better than it was when we began diving there in 1992.
Certainly the accommodations have improved since those early days. "The Seven Seas" and its crew are not only one of the best operations in Indonesia, they rank with the best in the world. Their years of experience and knowledge of the reefs enable them to time dives to take advantage of the currents and maximize their customers experience and enjoyment. Far too many operations stick to a rigid time table and often times divers do not see every site during the best conditions. With "Seven Seas" not only do they customize their itineraries to take advantage of the best current flow but most importantly they never compromise their diver's safety. The Seven Seas makes us, and all their customers, feel like you are a part of the family. We highly recommend that you join them for your nest visit to Indonesia to see what a difference a knowledgeable operator makes.
We will be back on board this August (6-18 and 20 thru 30). There is still availability on the latter trip and we'd love to share a Komodo experience with you that is second to none. During the winter months "The Seven Seas" relocates to Raja Ampat, arguably the world's "hottest" dive destination. Most of their charters for this year are full but the Dec. 3-17 itinerary still has availability. This is a special trip that begins in Ambon and ends in Sorong. "The Seven Seas" knowledge of Indonesia extends far beyond Komodo and this is an especially recommendable voyage. You begin your diving in Ambon's Laja Bay at Indonesia's first critter site, the incomparable Twilight Zone. Your journey continues thru the historical Banda Sea including a visit to the famed Banda Islands and a stop at Koon Island, and its dive site known as "Too Many Fish". Your trip will end with a pass through Raja Ampat's SE Misool region home to what we consider the world's most beautiful, and healthy, coral reefs. It's a trip of a lifetime. So join Seven Seas for an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience."
ConservationThroughout the Komodo area and beyond, on the north coast of the islands that form the "ring of fire" we have recently seen some minor signs of bleaching in hard and soft corals as well as in anemones. With Komodo's famous currents mixing the water and allowing for colder water to come to the surface layers, we hope it will not heavily impact the reefs. For more on climate impacts on coral reefs, download the report on climate change impacts on the CT via this link. WWF's Coral Triangle Programme launched the eagerly anticipated climate scenarios report by Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of Queensland University, the world's foremost expert on climate change and coral reefs. Outlining two scenarios based on IPCC emission projections, worst case and best case. The report predicts that if the world does not take effective action on climate change, coral reefs will disappear from the Coral Triangle by the end of the century; the ability of the region's coastal environments to feed people will decline by 80 per cent; and the livelihoods of about 100 million people will have been lost or severely impacted.
The Seven Seas - Kuta Poleng D7 - Jl. Setiabudi Simpang Siur - Kuta 80361 - Bali - Indonesia