Newsletter January 2021
2021 & 2022 Availability Update
Due to schedule changes we have new availability for charters, groups or individuals this year and next year in Raja Ampat. This year we are planning to stay in Raja Ampat until the end of March - with new opportunities for domestic bookings and anyone currently in Indonesia. Also new opportunities around Flores and Komodo in May this year!
For 2022 we also have some new options in Raja Ampat, between January 23 and February 13. Currently scheduled are two new Raja Ampat cruises for 2022, a 12 night trip January 23 to February 4, and a 7 night trip February 6 to 13. These are tentative and flexible dates, and we will be happy to customize as usual, for as far as the developing schedule allows.
» Click here for our schedule and availabilities.
Looking forward to welcome you on board!
The Seven Seas Team
Sailing off the Map: The Epic Trip from Komodo to the Spice Islands
By Tommy Schultz
'Thar she blows!'
The old mariner's cry that until now I used in jest, lowering my voice to a piratical rasp, channeling a cartoonish Ahab or Long John Silver.
This time was no joke.
I'm in a sea kayak in the open Savu Sea, paddling frantically as Peter and I try to keep pace with a pod of sperm whales.
Less than 100 meters away, we see the enormous back of a 10-meter sperm whale break the surface, a ghostly plume of vapor fading in the afternoon light and contrasting sharply with the rugged islands of the Indonesian archipelago.
'You go first,' Peter says, expertly positioning our tiny kayak in the path of the leviathan.
Too late to protest or double check whether Peter knows of anyone other than Ahab actually getting attacked by a sperm whale, I drop into the blue.
Pulse quickening as the enormous whale plows towards me, the sweep of its gigantic tail creating visible whirlpools beneath the surface of the cobalt sea. I rely on my reflexes as a photographer to keep the camera steady. I can clearly see the eye of the whale inspecting me as it passes just meters away, my camera capturing the entire encounter.
'Woooooww!', I call out, breaking the surface with an adrenaline-charged yawp. The otherworldly clicks and staccato buzz of the whales call still echoing in my head.
Did that really just happen?
It was the first time I'd been in the water that close to a whale and the experience was every bit as electric as I'd imagined.
'Get back in the boat, there's another one over here!' Peter cries before I have a chance to fully process what just happened.
Over the course of the next half hour, we manage to get close to three more whales, each encounter as magical as the first.
And so it would go for another 25 days aboard the most epic, unforgettable adventure aboard the Seven Seas that I've ever been lucky enough to join.
» CLICK HERE FOR TOMMY'S FULL TRIP REPORT AND MORE PHOTOS
Click here for EPIC video
Hammerheads in the Forgotten Islands
Video by Alex del Olmo.
"That feeling when you start to see their silver silhouette and they keep coming towards you... And then, you don't know anymore if you are diving or dreaming."
Seven Seas Solitude: An Epic Trip below the Waves
Video by Alex del Olmo.
"A full month aboard the Seven Seas, how lucky we felt. The crew and all travellers were double checked and found healthy, the Seven Seas has survived the few months of laying at anchor remarkably well, the seas promised to be calm and the weather would be sunny so we were ready to go. More importantly, perhaps, Mark had put a small team of seasoned travellers and photographers / cinematographers together to capture the beauty of the Forgotten Islands and its people. Last but not least, a mix of young and weathered marine conservation and fisheries experts would join me to try and initiate a few conservation agreements with some of the people living in villages near some outstanding reef areas, that Mark and the Seven Seas had come to know over the decades."
» Click here for Lida's trip report from December 2020.
Communities Protecting Coral Reefs in the Forgotten Islands
By Rili Djohani, Executive Director Coral Triangle Center (CTC).
When we sailed away from Maumere towards Wetar and beyond, I was looking forward to learn more about how the island communities engage in the protection of their beautiful coastal resources. Anthropologists call these islands: "Forgotten Islands", because they historically had little contact with the rest of Indonesia. Until now this 600-mile long archipelago between the Banda and Arafura Sea remains quite difficult to access due to their remote location and rough seas for most of the year. The best time to visit is during the months of October and November, April and May. During our epic trip of three weeks, I visited six communities whose livelihoods depend on fishing activities and the harvest of nutmeg, cloves and walnuts (kenari) such as Nabar village at Wetar and Jerili village at Serua. Prior to the pandemic, some communities also have a growing income from tourism such as Welora village on Daiwera Island, Ay and Rhun in the Banda Islands and Ameth at Nusa Laut in the Lease Islands.
The islands in the Moluccas were known as the Spice Islands because of the nutmeg, mace and cloves that were exclusively found there, the presence of which sparked interest from Europe in the sixteenth century. Around the same time, local traditional resource management systems were developed called Sasi which was applied to protect plants or animals on the land, at sea and in the rivers. It was also established to ensure an equal distribution of benefits among the community from the surrounding natural resources. To date, Sasi is still applied in the Banda and Lease Islands to manage for example the harvest of trochus, lobster and sea cucumber by temporary closure of certain parts of the coral reefs.
It was very inspiring to meet the members of the community patrols or kelompok masyarakat pengawas (Pokmaswas) at Pulau Ay and Rhun and Nusa Laut during this trip. The main duties of both Pokmaswas teams in the Ay-Rhun Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are to regularly patrol the waters around their home islands, ensuring MPA regulations are understood by the local coastal communities, and to monitor the marine and coastal ecosystems. The teams apply the principles of 3M (Melihat/mendengar, Mencatat, dan Melaporkan) or seeing/hearing, recording, and reporting.
» CLICK HERE FOR RILI'S FULL ARTICLE AND MORE PHOTOS
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia