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The Seven Seas Indonesia Liveaboard Adventure & Yacht Charter
Newsletter April 2020

A message from Captain Mark

Mark Heighes

Some of our guests and followers may be wondering what is going on with Seven Seas during these unprecedented times. Firstly I would like to thank you for being so patient with us, while we were trying to figure out what to do...

We were in Triton Bay in the middle of March, when the world started shutting down around us and guests could no longer make their trips to Indonesia. Seven Seas had no other option than head for home, and completed the 1000 nautical mile voyage from Triton Bay to Komodo in just under 1 week, non-stop steaming with only crew onboard. She is now patiently resting on her mooring in our home port of Labuan Bajo.

Some of the crew have started overhauling machinery, sanding and painting woodwork, and doing other maintenance work in preparation for our next full year of operation. Others are on leave spending time with their families. We will be completing dry dock as planned in June and right now we expect to be on schedule and fully operational again by July 20.

In the meantime, possibly working at home and waiting for better times, you may be interested in the following story about our most recent adventures in Papua. Some distraction perhaps, joining me and my memories on a 3 week film shoot that took us from Raja Ampat to Triton Bay...

Alex, myself and all the crew hope to see you back onboard soon.

Land of the Giants

By Mark Heighes

Every once in a while Seven Seas is contracted by a film production company. This time the shoot will take place in West Papua, formally known to me and many of you as Irian Jaya. It was Irian Jaya when I first visited a spectacularly wild and beautiful place named Triton Bay in 82. Now we plan to return with a small production team. We now have a trip on our hands that enables us to dedicate much more time to record and explore a region that I think holds some of Indonesia's last secrets to be unlocked. I can't wait!

The production shot list included everything from wrecks, villages, mangrove areas, jellyfish lakes, rock art, and caves, to big animals like Whale Sharks, Oceanic Mantas, Crocodiles, Wobbegongs, Giant Clams, and strange unusual marine life.

Whale shark

The film crew arrived in Sorong. They hailed from South Africa and had the cameras rolling even before we boarded the Seven Seas. This 3-week voyage in Raja Ampat and finish in Triton Bay 400 nautical miles to the south and east. François Odendaal led the team and was also the presenter. I met François onboard during a previous trip 2 years prior and immediately liked each other. He was the only one of the team I had met before.

The first thing François wanted to record was a World War II plane wreck so we motored out to a site I hadn't visited in 14 years. Took us a bit of time but we finally located the plane, a P47 lying in just over 30 meters of water. A stark reminder of the perils of war. What a waste of life and resources.

P47 plane wreck

The South Africans are a hardy bunch so we had a quick gear check dive, and then I threw them straight onto the site. I was out of bottom time as a result of the search and I remember thinking to myself the poor buggers had flown straight from the other side of the earth, they were more than likely to be exhausted, dehydrated, and now narced out of their minds in 32 meters of water. Not what we would normally do with our guests first dive, but these guys were working and we had already lost a week due to a delay issuing the film permit. If we could get good shots of the plane on Day One, we would save a day so that's what we did. We got a nice shot of the plane sitting upright on the seabed, heavily encrusted with growth and surrounded by schools of fish.


Momon waterfall

Hard and soft corals in Raja Ampat

By Alex del Olmo

This short movie focuses on hard and soft corals in Raja Ampat during our season on board the Seven Seas. Each diver has its preferences. Some love big fish and pelagics, others turtles, some of them colorful nudibranchs. To me without any doubt my favorite subjects are corals. My heart is filled with happiness when I dive in a healthy reef in brisk current. It is more challenging to shoot them but you get the greatest reward: polyps broadly open and feeding, soft corals displaying their whole magnificent and colorful shape. Raja Ampat and Misool area are probably the best place in the world to witness this fascinating and unique ecosystem. Without coral reefs there would be no life on earth, and sadly they are threatened and it's our duty to protect them.

Hard and soft corals in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat Informal Reef Health and Resilience Assessment

By Rodney V. Salm

This report comprises a series of informal and opportunistic observations on coral reef health and resilience from among the Raja Ampat Islands. The observations were made between the 19th and 30th January 2020 during 23 dives and 11 snorkeling excursions.

Although opportunistic, useful observations were possible that tell part of the story of what we observed. There were considerable differences among the sites visited. Some areas were selected specifically for their fish life and had strong currents, seamounts, or a sandy substrate as at Manta Sandy, Arborek. Others had a yield of unusual creatures as at Algae Patch 2 and Happy Ending, Batanta, or forests of sea fans as at FanTastic/Neptune's FanSea and were in locations away from coral reefs. Differences also existed among the many coral reef sites. Some sites had scattered corals on a rocky substrate and no real reef framework. Other sites supported vibrant coral growth and underlying true reef framework development as at Melissa's Garden.

Reef Health and Resilience Assessment

The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia

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© The Seven Seas 2020

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