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|Newsletter December 2012|
Forgotten Islands Trip Report, 23 Nov - 7 Dec 2012
By Sonia Goggel
Two groups of friends, a jolly and mixed bunch mainly from the U.S., joined their enthusiasm and love for the sea and her creatures to explore the southeast Maluku Islands, or Maluku Tenggara. These are the so-called Forgotten Islands, as they were literally forgotten, after they had been very famous during the many centuries of spice trade boom. The area spans from Wetar Island in the West to the Aru and Kei Archipelago in the East, not quite reaching the Banda group to the north. Our charter was to take us from Yamdena, in the south and centre of this area, west to the Babar group, southwest to the Sermata group, from there north to the Damar group, then northeast to the tiny islands leading to the Banda group, ending our diving around Ambon.
Quite a few of us had been on the beautiful, comfortable and spacious Seven Seas vessel before, and felt completely like arriving Home, welcomed warmly by our dear friends, the exceptional, very professional, very kind and very smiley Crew and Cruise Directors. We immediately forgot the long flight hours and island hopping it had taken us to get to the little town of Saumlaki on the island of Yamdena. There was diving and exploring to be done, and we all were more than ready for it!!
After a yummy breakfast, we steamed south to Pulau ('island') Matakus, where we jumped in for a check dive amongst pristine fields of staghorn coral packed with cardinalfish of many species. Our second dive was a muck dive on a rubble slope, on the nearby Pulau Nustabun. We were lucky to observe a small cuttlefish laying eggs for ages, and two more circling around her.
A very flat sea was to be our companion for most of the charter, which was a blessing, as we had to steam most nights for several hours from one island group to the next.
"My third time on the Seven Seas and each time has been a great experience. The crew and Karl and Linda make a huge effort for each individual and I am so grateful for the special attention underwater, showing me all the astonishing critters. I would love to visit the Forgotten Islands again, particularly with sunshine and flat seas like we had. Many thanks for a great trip and hope to come again."
The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia