Newsletter January 2017
Raja Ampat Revisited, December 2016
Trip Report & photos by Jayne Jenkins.
This was my fourth trip on the Seven Seas and second to Raja Ampat. And when returning to an area that has stood out as probably one of my favourite dive destinations it is always with slight hesitation - will it be as good as last time? There was no need for any doubt as this was, yet again an amazing trip.
Raja Ampat described as "the heart of the coral triangle" really lives up to its name. The marine ecosystems are striving to survive thanks to it being a Marine Protected Area. The local government with support of international NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, a number of eco-resorts and live-aboard vessels in Raja Ampat are all working together to keep this area well preserved.
What I love about this area is, above water it is almost unbelievable, the lush beauty of the islands themselves, countless mushroom-shaped islets set in clear blue waters adorned with pitcher plants and orchids. Then underwater, Raja Ampat is a maze of endless colourful corals and marine life. Each dive never disappoints whether it be macro or wide angle. The variety of pygmy sea horses and blennies, the numerous turtles, the triggerfish, stunning overhangs, dense soft corals and myriads of small and large fish.
Some of the highlights for me were the up close and personal encounters with oceanic manta rays. Majestic mantas' repeatedly passing within touching distance allowing eyeball-to-eyeball encounters, mind images that stays with you for life. A dozen or so mantas as they circled through cleaning stations, effortless way they can hover and as wrasse clean parasites from giant open maws. Unfortunately we have time frames underwater, as it was very hard leaving to surface.
» CLICK HERE FOR JAYNE'S FULL REPORT AND MORE PHOTOS
"My first ever dive trip. What a great experience! I am so grateful for the guidance and patience shown for a green diver. Now Iím ready for my next trip!"
Suzette Kaminski (Raja Ampat, December 2016)
» Click here for more testimonials.
Cruising on the Seven Seas: Two Weeks of Underwater Wonders
Trip Report by Susan Hapgood, Stephen Glascock & James McGillicuddy Spanfeller.
We came, we saw, we dove! And dove again! We marveled at least twice a day at the extraordinary diversity of underwater life in Raja Ampat. Fifteen New Yorkers enjoyed life on the Seven Seas for two weeks, reveling in the scuba diving, the sun, the gentle rocking of the waves, the delicious food, interspersed with a voluminous number of naps and cocktail hours, often timed in proximity to sunset. We could not have had a more congenial and coordinated crew to make it all as exciting, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible, led by our expert activities director, Karl, and our captain, Wahyu.
The dramatic beauty of the limestone cliffs, palm trees, wild orchids and bleached sand (thanks to the parrot fish) is deceptive. Below the water is the real magic; the most biodiversity on the planet, beautiful undersea gardens, giant clams, majestic mantas. How fortunate we are to be aboard this floating classroom. Wait, what does a hydroid look like again?
Each day unfolded in similar yet different ways. Triggerfish one day, giant clams the next, and the grand master of the area, manta rays, on a few other days. It was on the second of our appointed dates with the mantas that the experience of Karl and the team of the Seven Seas really stood out. The main dive site for the mantas at Dampir Strait was more than crowded with other live-aboard visitors. What was more, the creatures we had come to see were nowhere to be found on the "Cleaning Stations" that were the focal point of the dive site. No worries, Karl and his mates knew of a place close by that might offer some joy. And indeed it did. We dropped into the water with snorkel equipment and were soon surrounded by mantas swooping in from seemingly all directions, up close and personal. We later went to the dive site and took our place along the viewing line but nothing was as good as the free swim that only we among all the other dive boats were able to take advantage of.
» CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TRIP REPORT AND MORE PHOTOS
"The Seven Seas crew has made the past twelve days some of the most amazing and unforgettable possible. The team has surpassed expectations in every way - the food was amazing, the dives incredible and the crew beyond spectacular. While we're sad to go, we know we'll be back!"
Stef Spanfeller (Raja Ampat, January 2016)
» Click here for more testimonials.
Mantas in Raja Ampat
Video by Karen Raubenheimer
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia