Newsletter December 2016
The Forgotten Islands, November/December 2016
Trip Report & photos by David George.
On November 24 the MV Seven Seas embarked on the second leg of the 2016 Forgotten Islands adventure, from Saumlaki in South-East Maluku province, to Sorong in West Papua. This 16-night voyage, covering around 700 nautical miles, would take us through the Banda Sea and the remote volcanic islands of the Inner Archipelago, to the Spice Islands of Banda and into the Seram Sea and Raja Ampat.
My third time on the boat (with fourth and fifth already booked!), this trip brought together old and new friends from across the world, from Australia, USA, UK and Europe. This was a long anticipated opportunity to experience some of the most remote and isolated areas of the Indonesian Archipelago, and there is really only one way to do it - on board the magnificent Seven Seas.
This would be a long and remote journey, joining the dots of tiny isolated islands and reefs. Not until we reach Raja Ampat in the final days would we see another dive boat. We occasionally share the waters with local villagers in their wooden fishing boats, and spot island ferries in the distance, but this is remote territory, and it often feels like we are the only people on earth. It is such a privilege to be here, comfortable in the safe hands of Captains Wayhu and Pai.
The first glimpses of the boat anchored in Saumlaki harbour brings a lump to the throat to those that have travelled on her before. She is such a graceful vessel, but it is also the anticipation of being reunited with our extended family for the next 16 days - the incredible Seven Seas crew. Welcome drink and hugs and handshakes completed, everyone on board was eager to unpack their dive gear and get ready to bubble away the worries of the world with an easy check-out dive that afternoon.
After a dinner under the stars it was time for a gentle overnight cruise east to Dawera Island. In the morning we are all up early and eager to get in the water but Big John has the most important job of the day to do before we can begin; its time for his early morning Welcome Drink in the local village as he secures permission for us to dive in their waters. This ritual will be repeated many times on our trip, an important connection with the local people of this area, but Big John can handle the palm wine better than most...
» CLICK HERE FOR DAVID'S FULL REPORT AND MORE PHOTOS
"This was my third trip on the boat and it just gets better. The crew were fantastic, and special mention must go the Totok the excellent chef (and not forgetting Lulu). The food was really outstanding (we like the new wine list too ;-). Little John and Kris worked very hard and were so attentive. Big John and Imam kept us entertained and absolutely safe on the dive tenders. The crew really is such a great asset to Seven Seas. Can’t wait until next August when we join Sonia again for East of Flores!"
David George (Forgotten Islands, December 2016)
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Video: Kerang Nildesperandum, Banda Islands
By David George
In the middle of the deep Banda Sea, along the inner volcanic island arc between the islands of Nila and Serua, is the incredible reef Karang Nildesperandum. It just breaks the surface, with a shallow coral reeftop and walls plunging to enormous depths.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH
"Hi Karl, Captain, Chef & Crew: Thank you so very much for giving me such magical moments and introducing me to dive sites which are just the stuff of dreams. The level of service both in and out of the water is faultless and it is a remarkable experience to be within such a “happy ship” of friends and family. I shall of course be back again soon – in three months – and I am already looking forward to that immensely. Thanks again to all for a fantastic trip of camaraderie, friendship, fun, joy and even wisdom! :)"
Man-Sze (Forgotten Islands, December 2016)
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The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia