Advanced and Nitrox Certification Course in the Forgotten Islands
Trip Report by the Argyropoulos Family
04 November 2013 - Day 1
After traveling all night from Maumere we woke up in a beautiful spot, Ipet, where we were surrounded by sandpits and mangrove forests and had volcanos off in the distance. After a brief overview of the ships features and the diving equipment, we went for our first dive at "Rays Rush Hour". We were astonished by the amount of Blue Spotted Stingrays we saw racing about the ocean floor. When we got back to the ship, Linda gave us our materials for our Nitrox certification course and we had lunch. Our next dive was at the "Ipet Drop Off" where we saw a lot of big sharks, tunas, and more stingrays. Around 5:00pm we headed out to a sandbar to have some drinks and snacks and watch the sun go down. On our way back to the boat we watched thousands of bats fly from a mangrove forest right over our heads towards the main island. When we returned to the Seven Seas we ate dinner and had the pleasure of meeting the entire crew of 16 people who told us where they were from and their positions on the boat. The crew's friendly attitude showed that they cared and made us feel at home. This marked the beginning of our journey.
05 November 2013 - Day 2
We woke up feeling rested and comfortable and headed out for our first drift dive. This was a learning experience as we dialed in our neutral buoyancy and coasted by coral heads encountering various sea life along the way. After lunch we traveled to Nera and immediately went snorkeling through a mangrove forest. The water was shallow and the floor was covered with thousands of baby mangroves that looked like tiny wooden spikes poking through the sand. On our way back from the snorkel we were surprised by a blue whale which was breaching right in front of our tender! After returning to the Seven Seas we had a big dinner and finished the bookwork for our Nitrox course.
06 November 2013 - Day 3
On day 3 we arrived at Pulau Rusa or "Deer Island" which had beautiful sand beaches, stunning rock formations and cliffs along its coast. The tidal swings were 2 meters due to the recent new moon. We dove the "Pulau Rusa Pinnacle" in the morning at the turn of low tide pushing high. There were strong downward currents and surges throughout the dive making it tiresome but we saw a wide variety of corals and fish including dogtooth tuna, sweet lips, lionfish, and snapper. This was also our first dive using Nitrox. The weather picked up in the afternoon so we chose not to dive. Instead, we began our Advanced Diver Certification course and completed our knowledge review for the underwater navigation course. We hung out on the Seven Seas for the rest of the day, had a relaxing dinner and went to bed early.
» CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT
Whale of an Encounter
We took a day to look for whales on our last trip East of Flores, on our way to the Forgotten Islands. Took us a while to spot some but then we found several and jumped in the rubber ducky with Sarah & sons. The first couple of sightings were single whales and all the guests got in the water and saw them, but I didn't get video. We suggested continuing but the guests had had enough, so we took them back to the boat and me & Karl & Captain Pai went out again to get some video. We saw this couple heading steadily in one direction, so Karl & I dropped in quietly way in front of them and waited. They kept doing this "spy-hopping" thing where they would lift their heads out of the water to see us on the surface, so they knew we were there, but they kept coming, they didn't turn. Then, when they saw us underwater, they just stopped, hanging there, looking at us and we at them - one couple to another - it was the most amazing experience ever!! But then the one opened its mouth and I freaked out a bit and tried to back off, hence the juddery video at the end of the clip!! The story doesn't end there, we saw another lone whale and headed towards it - Karl asked if Pai would like to get in with me to see it - his face lit up, Karl lent him his fins and we both dropped into the water. Afterwards Pai talked about that experience the whole trip - it was the first time he had actually seen a whale underwater, after 15 years of taking other people to see whales.
Linda Johnston, November 2013
Forgotten Islands: Tual to Maumere, November/December 2013
Trip Report by Jeannie Sinclair
A long day of flying, touching down in Surabaya, Makassar, and Ambon finally brought us to Tual on Kei Kecil. This travel time gave us opportunity to meet many of the fellow passengers with whom we will be exploring the forgotten Islands. When we flew over the Kei Islands both Stuart and I felt so exhilarated, the islands are picture perfect tropical islands with beautiful white sand beaches and palm trees. We didn't get to see this when we landed in Bali due to too much cloud cover (it was raining heavily when we left). We get out of the airplane and are met with hot humid air and the smell of clove cigarettes, a great combo that always brings back the memories of our first trip to Indonesia in 1996, when we fell in love with traveling in this country.
Karl and a few of the crew from Seven Seas met us at the airport and whisked us away to the boat. Linda, Rita and Dieter and the rest of the crew were on the boat ready with refreshing drinks and towels, a very nice welcome indeed. Aahh, we have made it back to this lovely dive boat. We had such a fantastic experience diving in Raja Ampat in 2011; we are thrilled to be back for another "trip of a lifetime".
We woke up in Tanimbar, the location of our first dive is Palau Kyabrengan. It was the cutest island, mostly white sand with only a steep little chink of treed land. I almost just wanted to head for the beach; I was nervous for my first dive with all new equipment. All went well during this beautiful shallow dive; full of beautiful coral and plenty of colorful reef fish. We spotted a few giant parrotfish, huge sea cucumbers, and an interesting sea snake I've never noticed before. The dive ends poorly for me as I drop my brand new weight pocket into the deep blue. The second dive was cancelled due to poor weather in the forecast, we pulled anchor and motored all evening and night in hopes of finding better weather tomorrow. We actually had a very pleasant afternoon, getting re-acquainted with the Linda and Karl, the crew and getting to know our fellow trip companions. As with our previous trip with the Seven Seas, the other travellers are a fantastic crew of people, an eclectic crew with fantastic life experience, a shared love for the sea and eager to see more of Indonesian life and its waters.
This morning we arrived at Palau Teun, a stunning island with an active volcano and two quant little villages of 6 or so huts each. Life on Teun must be a very peaceful one: at least when the volcano is still. We got there around 11 am and dove at "Crater Ridge". A beautiful dive site with a huge coral reef teaming with little fish, sea snakes, barracuda and tuna. The highlight for me was to see a small sea turtle that swam straight for me; away from Stuart: Todays lunch was fantastic with squid, sauté veggies and fritters. We leave right after the dive, motoring to Palau Damer for shelter form a storm that is coming towards Timor.
» CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT & VIDEOS
Last Minute Openings
ON A FEW SOUTH KOMODO CHARTERS IN JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH THERE MAY BE SOME LAST MINUTE OPENINGS - PLEASE SEND US YOUR ENQUIRY IF INTERESTED: [email protected]
The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia