Newsletter February 2019
Raja Ampat 2018
By Barbara & Russ van Aardt
Oh..... Raja Ampat...... with the Barker Friends & Co, on our Favourite Liveaboard, the Seven Seas and all the fabulous staff........we waited for Two years for this magical trip and boy, was it fantastic! How very fortunate have we been to be able to join the Barker Friends and Co. group once again! Yahooo! AND, we also added a few days, on land, at the stunning Papua Explores Resort.
Flying with our favourite airline, Singapore Air from Cape Town to Manado and then the final domestic leg with the very competent Garuda Indonesia from Manado to Sorong, we could not wait to be reunited with our Barker friends and all the Seven Seas friendly staff.
Arriving in Manado, too late to catch a connecting flight to Sorong, we stayed overnight at Novotel Manado Golf Resort and convention centre and then flew off early the next morning to Sorong where the friendly Seven Seas staff picked us up and transferred us to the liveaboard boat. We spent 12 nights on the Magical Seven Seas. Do read a few independent reviews from our co divers Sonia Google, Sandy Kelly and a wonderful poem by Rob Barker.
We truly love being on the Seven Seas Liveaboard and can highly recommend it to anyone wishing to dive in Indonesia. The chef's, food was fantastic, thanks Totok Sugiharto for going out of your way to ensure that we always had a vegetarian alternative meal.
The Diving was unbelievable, as usual and with the added knowledgeable assistance of Karl, Irwan and Jefry we once again were shown so many wonderful Marine life treasures. It was lovely seeing Karl Klingeler, Captain Mr. Wahyudin Ismail and Mr. Abdul Rifai H. Djudje, and all the friendly, highly competent cruise and office staff, Candra and Guteri again.
» CLICK HERE FOR BARBARA'S & RUSS' FULL ARTICLE
"How can we thank you enough for giving us this amazing experience? It wasn't just the beautiful reefs and daunting climb into the jelly fish lake, or the gentle Manta rays and amazing schools of fish; but it was also the kind caring staff aboard the Seven Seas. The crew anticipated all our needs and took excellent care of all our diving and photography gear. Meals were fantastic and our rooms fresh and clean. We have always loved Raja Ampat but when we visit again it will certainly be aboard the Seven Seas. Thank you very much!"
Brook and Brian Peterson (Raja Ampat, January 2019)
» Click here for more testimonials.
Alex del Olmo: "Not just a regular Cruise Director"
By Christina Macaulay.
Seven Seas January 2019 Voyage.
We sailed with 13 divers. Mostly advanced. Two VERY nervous beginners. And one incredible Cruise Director and Dive Master: Alex. How to explain having an experience of such kindness and encouragement from someone with so much diving knowledge?
Alex's passion for his job, his team, diving, and the underwater World are astounding on their own. His leadership and inclusion - in a somewhat competitive and perhaps even cutthroat “Diving World” - is impressive. It is also a very rare quality. Imagine Muhammad Ali teaching Joe Frazier to box AND simultaneously showing some scared little kids who are afraid to even throw a punch? That is what I would compare Alex's job to over the course of the past 12 days.
Alex didn't HAVE TO work so hard. Nobody would have judged him, or in fact, blamed him for leaving the beginner divers in their “scared safety nets”. It would have been much easier to leave them as they were - floundering around helpless and scaring not only themselves, but the other guests, and the fish. Instead, he carefully coaxed them out of their frightened diving cocoons and taught them to become better divers. Confident divers. Good divers.
At the same time nobody would have expected him to challenge and thrill the advanced divers with new, exciting, remote locations and diving wonders.
But he did. With aplomb! A number of the advanced guests are returning Seven Seas divers. Hearing them bragging about all the things they were seeing, the diving spots, and being in places and with sea creatures they had never seen before? That is also thanks to Alex. And he did it with a big smile on his face and pure joy and excitement on each and every journey. It's a great quality in any person - but especially in a Cruise Director.
» CLICK HERE FOR CHRISTINA'S FULL ARTICLE
More flowers for Alex and the Seven Seas crew
By Kevin Contreras.
I just wanted to write a quick note about my experience on the latest trip, being the most frequent guest of the current group on board. I brought my fiancee and her very good friend, both new divers, to Raja, on your boat, because I completely trust your crew and knew we would be safe improving our diving in these beautiful waters.
First, Alex is great! He gets along extremely well with the crew and is always attentive to the passengers. I saw him, on many occasions, taking care of people's individual needs, and he did a great job leading all of us. I can see how it is getting more difficult, as more boats ply these waters. Alex was always on top of what boat was diving where and when, and always went out to check the currents before every dive. In the beginning he held the hands of Christina and Colleen, to make sure they were safe and doing the right things underwater. When they got comfortable, he let them join the group but kept a close eye on all of us. Every time someone reported a problem in a room, or with the boat, he investigated and fixed it, or got the appropriate crew member and had it taken care of immediately.
Second, I just adore your crew. I always feel safe and protected in any situation, and trust them with my life. Not only are they competent, but they are all extremely kind and helpful. They are all, in my opinion, Great Employees. This morning, as I write this note, they are scurrying around the boat, fixing, repairing and cleaning. It was raining yesterday, so they took all of our gear into the engine room, dried it all out, and then brought it out to us last night.
Third, the Seven Seas is still fantastic. I always feel so safe, comfortable, and contained here. Every time I step on board, I feel like I have arrived home. Every time I'm on a trip, I dream about renting the boat for a year, to travel the entire archipelago. At the very least, I plan on booking for a couple weeks, to bring my entire family, potentially this July, if there is a trip available.
Thanks again, for providing such a venue for life altering experiences!
Opportunity to join the Banda Blue Cruise
Exploring the Moluccas this year, April 16th to 28th.
Hosted by Lawrence Blair and with Mark Heighes as your cruise director, this is a special ‘off the beaten track' exploratory cruise aboard the Seven Seas. We plan to discover new destinations and revisit some old favourites amongst the remote, little-visited islands lying on the North Eastern rim of the Banda Sea. During shore excursions we will visit virgin jungle, isolated villages and the crumbling fortresses of the spice trading days. Underwater we will be diving and snorkelling on remote and pristine reefs, and we will visit an area famous for massive aggregations of fish. We will dive and snorkel in spectacular shallow coral reefs, as well as in the blue water off small volcanically active islands. We have one, maybe two, double cabin(s) still available. First to commit is on, please contact Lawrence Blair ([email protected]) directly for this opportunity.
Wishing you great adventures as always,
Lawrence and the Seven Seas Team.
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia