Newsletter March 2016
Seven Seas Raja Ampat cruise, February 2016
Trip Report by Lawrence Blair. Photos by Scott Goldsbury.
Day 1. Feb 14th.
Hailing from Bermuda, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Bali our group met up in Makassar, Sulawesi, the night before our dawn flight to Sorong to begin our cruise. Of the 16 of us, only Lisa, Steve an Angie got the full 2-hour city tour because their driver didn't know where the hotel was, and drove them round in circles, disbelieving the advice on Steve's cellphone GPS. 3 a.m call to catch our plane to Sorong. Whisked aboard, and steamed out to Matan island, a picture postcard of palm trees and white sand. A chance for our divers to check their equipment in shallow, surprisingly murky waters. But we still managed to spot lionfish, pygmy seahorses, and a wobegong shark, resembling a bearded carpet with warts.
The Farondi archipelago, trailing South Eastwards from the large island of Misol. First glimpse of surrounding pinnacles of Karst limestone, which so photogenically characterizes the Raja Ampats. Unseasonably overcast weather with rain squalls. Is there any place where the weather is predictable any more? At our anchorage we are circled by both brahminy kites and white-bellied sea eagles, so low that we thought they might be hoping for handouts. Despite rain and murky water, a great 90-foot vertical drop-off dive, amongst forests of soft and hard corals, particularly the black coral so admired by jewelers, and appearing in the wild as great white powder puffs blowing in the current. Exotic nudibranchs, more pygmy seahorses, great schools of fusileers, and yet another wobegong shark, impossible to spot without the gimletty eyes of our dive masters. Our vessel is tied up to a rock, in a protective cradle of islets, where we settle down for a night of good food and excellent company, as we are all friends from previous cruises aboard the Seven Seas. Before dinner we are put to sleep by a lecture called The Coral Triangle and the Creatures of the Deeps, by your humble and tedious author.
Dawn reveals milder but still overcast weather. Two spectacular deep dives, before and after breakfast. The first at Pet's rock, out by itself, and the second to a fish-infested seamount called 'Love potion number 9', whose etymology is obscure. Great walls of red and orange sea fans and giant amphorae coral, looking like sculpted Victorian toilet bowls - and, amongst the fish-blizzards 80 feet down, an enormous 'barrier reef' grouper, which all witnesses attest to being six feet long. After an additional afternoon dive, we cast off from our cozy little anchorage of the previous 2 nights and head North West along the Farondi chain towards the island of Misol. Some of our party take an exploratory launch ride and find an un-named cave large enough to motor around inside. Sudden dense cloud and blinding rain. No one seems the least put out, for the weather and water is warm, and we are enjoying each other's company at this 'ends of the earth'. We find ourselves another snug anchorage for the night, open a few bottles, tell tall tales and watch the first of the 3 part series SHADOW OF THE SHARK, made for National Geographic, about our captain Mark's famous uncle and auntie: Ron and Valerie Taylor.
» CLICK HERE FOR LAWRENCE'S FULL TRIP REPORT & MORE PHOTOS
"Karl, Linda and all the incredible crew, Luarbiasa! Raja Ampat & the Seven Seas. Living on this boat really does feel like "Home" as the whole crew works so fluidly as a team and makes the experience so memorable. For me, the rediscovery of diving was most incredible and fantastic. Thank you, Irwan & Jeffry, for the private tour night dives. Besides falling in love with Raja Ampat, I now love night-diving more! Look forward to my next trip aboard the Seven Seas. Sampai Jumpa."
Agnes (Raja Ampat, January 2016)
» Click here for more testimonials.
Raja Ampat and Komodo - the world's best places for snorkeling!
It can be frustrating to try to find a spectacular snorkeling destination that hasn't been taken over by crowds.
But not impossible.
Marine experts share their picks for some of the world's best places to snorkel.
CLICK HERE: » 11 of the world's best snorkeling destinations
The appearance of "only" 2 of our destinations at the very top of the list is just because few people know yet about our hidden gems in the Banda Sea, East of Flores and the Forgotten Islands!
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia