Newsletter April 2015
East of Flores, 29th March - 10th April 2015
Trip Report by Marc Chamberlain. Photos by Jose Ignacio Gil Gonzalez and Simon Brownlow.
Have you ever spent an evening comfortably seated on a small dive boat watching the sky fill with color as the sun sets and darkness descends just beyond a small island festooned with a mangrove forest from which squadrons of flying foxes emerge? Well an evening spent at Ipet Island just beneath the Iliwariran Volcano with the crew of the Seven Seas east of Flores Island is the setting for a spectacle of swarming bats as they take flight for their nightly foray to Adonara Island to forage for food. As one sits in calm waters and gazes at a sky filling with color and a rising moon these magnificent bats rise up for their communal and nocturnal journey in search of fruit. The bats, the largest in the world at one meter in wing span, fill the sky in every increasing numbers and seemingly an endless flight of tens of thousands of individual animals. Like all bats, flying foxes are social mammals, have communal nests and form enormous colonies of which the Ipet Island colony is the largest I have ever witnessed. The bats silently beat their membranous wings 150-200 feet above you in an endless parade as they fly into sky painted in reds and pinks of a setting sun. This spectacle of large bats that live in colonies on uninhabited offshore islands with undisturbed mangrove forests swarming a darkening sky might forever change your perspective on sunsets and nature in a truly wild state.
Muck diving, a term and type of diving first introduced by Larry Smith of Lembeh in Sulawesi fame, refers to diving a site lacking in coral reef and rather instead is a waterscape of light or dark volcanic sand that gently slopes into deeper water and often with a nearby freshwater stream. What makes muck diving unique are the variety of animals found in these environs and often nowhere else. On the western side of Lembata Island in the Flores Sea is a small bay that qualifies as a muck dive. Our day of diving this site, aboard the Seven Seas, produced a number of specialty animals many only found with the assistance of our excellent Indonesian dive guides Jefri and Irwan as well as our host, Karl. A variety of octopus inhabit muck dive locations including blue ringed, long-armed and reef as well as the magnificent tigroid wonderpus. A panoply of scorpionfish reside on these sand meadows including several species of lionfish, stonefish, the bizarre Inimicus or New Caledonia stinger and the always elusive Rhinopias scorpionfish. There are a host of gobies including shrimp gobies and their cohabitating excavating workmen, goby shrimp. Pipefish, pipehorses and seahorses are numerous but like many of the denizens of muck dive sites are cryptic and challenging to locate as like all animals in this environment blend into either the sand or detritus that litters the surface of all muck dives and is a defining feature of muck dives. Muck dives are a splendid location to observe a variety of anemones often coassociating with commensual shrimp or clown fish. Sea pens and soft coral trees can be seen and often with multiple species of shrimp. Nudibranchs and their opistobranch allies are common in muck dives as are a variety of shelled mollusks. Most importantly muck diving requires patience and careful observation as only with deliberate and slow study will a muck dive reveal its treasures.
» CLICK HERE FOR MARC'S FULL TRIP REPORT
"30 years in the scuba industry with thousands of dives in many different dive destinations and with a very enthusiastic friend who encouraged me to take this trip with the acknowledgement that the best reef and marine life are in these waters ..... too big were my expectations but in the moment we did the first roll back, I was shocked!! Just to see what was under me .... as an experienced diver and photographer it took me more than minutes to realise where I was in that moment and what to do or where to aim or what to shoot with my camera, macro or wide angle?, still or video? I was so incredibly shocked, time passed by so fast. After an 80 minute dive, we surfaced and my friends and I were speechless. Day after day and improving comfort, we became more selective in how to shoot and what to look for. It is the so incredible the contrast of subjects - one day looking for the greatest creature in the world (blue whale) and in the afternoon planning to shoot the smallest octopus, just centimetres in size...
My opinion of the Seven Seas: dive operation - Great!!! Boat - Super!!! Food - Excellent!!! Rooms - spacious and very comfortable. Personal Attention: 'The Best'. Photography Place: 'Incredible'. I'm spoiled by the crew."
Nacho Gil, Scuba professional, dive operator & photographer (East of Flores, April 2015)
» Click here for more testimonials.
Thinking about a Seven Seas trip in Komodo or East of Flores this year? Last chances in July and September with limited availability! Check our online schedule with detailed availability information.
Deep South Komodo gallery
Another set of great photographs from Komodo, taken by Brandon Cole, Jason Sintek and Simon Brownlow during our Deep South Komodo cruise in March 2015.
"Our first trip to Indonesia! What a blast! Our most comfortable liveaboard to date. Exceptional crew, healthy & delicious food and better than anticipated diving. We will come back to Indonesia and will be back on the Seven Seas!!"
Emily and Jason Sintek (South Komodo, March 2015)
"We loved this trip! The diving was incredible, the boat and crew were absolutely top notch! By far our best trip really - we loved Komodo and we LOVED the Seven Seas!"
Jan and David Pingree (South Komodo, March 2015)
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10 years ago...
...we started building the Seven Seas!
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Raja Ampat short cruise in January 2017
Always wanted to do a trip to Raja Ampat but simply not enough time for a complete 12 night cruise? Here's your chance: we have scheduled a short cruise of just 4 nights in early 2017, January 9-13. Full boat charter available for this cruise at just US$ 25,000, so great for corporate or family or club event...
Seems like a long time from now? Note that Raja Ampat season for 2015-2016 is already sold out and half the season for 2016-2017 is also fully booked already. Several regular cruises for this season also still available, please check our online schedule with detailed availability information.
The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia