Monday, June 24, 2013

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat, located at the north western tip of West Papua Island, the LOB departure was from Sorong, to get there was a pain. We had so much trouble with the flight arrangement, we almost miss the LOB departure time when our flight from Ujung Pandan decided to cancel on us last minute. Lucky for the helpful agent in Ujung Pandan, he managed to put us on another airline to get to Sorong. Phew! first hurdle was over. 

Misool Islands
The LOB trip leave from Sorong, sailed to Misool (part of Raja Ampat) where we dove the first 4 days, next 3 days in Banda Sea, 1 day at Nusa Laut and last 2 days in Ambon.

MSY Seahorse
The MSY Seahorse was a fantastic boat to be in for the entire trip. The boat was built and completed in year 2004. She looks classy and pretty. It is 33m long and 8.5m wide, with 16 guest and 12 crew on board, there is still plenty of space. We had big space on the dive deck, sundeck and in the saloon. What we didn't expect after we got onboard was the rooms are quite small, the camera room is stuffy and noisy parked together with the engine room and kitchen. There is also a steep steps getting into the camera room which is not a great idea when you are carrying a huge housing, one could probably slip or trip and tumble into the room. The most disgusting was a boat to be infested by roaches. Yep! tiny little roaches running around in the saloon.

5 star food
Food was fantastic, no complaints! I didn't expect having restaurant class food everyday. We really had overdose of meat, eggs, salad and dessert. Emman who takes care of us in the saloon is the BEST! He is efficient and competent, he had this big smile which you probably seen in a toothpaste advert, he could understand English very well, and get our order right most of the time. Right the meal here are not served in buffet style, you get to order from a different menu every day. I will give it a BIG thumbs up to the Chef and kitchen staff!

Our cruise director, had been onboard for 4 months, been working in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia, French but speaks good Indonesian, he is always funny and cheeky. He has great story to tell on briefing that makes us laugh but most of the time the accuracy is not there, especially on the current direction. :-( There are 2 dive dingy, 1 for 4 divers and a DM and the big one for 12 divers and a DM. The big dive dingy is very stable and lots of space, but 12 divers to a DM? is really not efficient plus diving in this world class dive site, not mentioning paying $$$$ you got to be providing better service than 1 DM to 12 divers. So, most of the time we went on our own. Which explain why we miss the F@#$% Wobbegong Shark!

The weather was on our side, sunny and super hot, we had calm sea for the entire trip. Great visibility, average of 20m (except for Ambon). Healthy coral reef, pristine dive site and colorfully covered by fusiliers, anthias and trigger fish. At some dive sites, seafans are abundant, of course Pigmys too, after 2-3 days, we just stop looking when the DM show us pigmy sign. :-) We look high and low for nudis, unfortunately not more than 10 species of nudis were found. School of Big fishes? Just 2 big school of jacks, barracudas, and bumphead parrot fish. Some of us miss the Wobbegong Shark and that was what I wanted to see on this trip. Other stuff are 4 mobula rays, 2 white tip sharks, 3 huge napoleons, 3 turtles, millions of red tooth triggerfish  titan and clown trigger fish every dives too and I lost count of the number of eels and type of species in Laha, Ambon. I have enjoyed Laha the most even thought it was a rubbish dump site, there was where we saw most of the critters. The only special thing I have seen on this trip were the 1.5 feet slipper lobster, soap fish and a strange looking eel.

Fort Belgica
At Banda Island, we had a chance to visit Fort Belgica built by the Dutch in 1611, one of the largest remaining European forts in IndonesiaUntil the mid-19th century the Banda Islands were the world's only source of the spices nutmeg and mace, produced from the nutmeg tree. The reason why the Portuguese, Dutch and English fought over the place. In this little town of Bandanaira we visited the museum and found out all about the history. 

All right I gives this trip a 7 out of 10, disappointed with not able to see Wobbegong shark and Zebra frogfish in Ambon. Will I go back again? Most probably not because is way too expensive.

Travel date :  28 Dec 2008-10 Jan 2009
Travel route : SG -F-> KL -F-> Ujung Pandan -F-> Sorong -B-> Ambon -F->Jakarta -F-> SG
Accommodation and diving : LOB - MSY Seahorse (
Type of diving : Muck, Wall
Water temperature : 28-30°C
Best time to dive : Year round but best for the northern area is May-Nov and Southern area is Dec-Mar

 -F-> Flight -B-> Boat

Photos of the trip
Panda Butterfly fish
Scorpion fish
Yellow mask angel fish
Imperial shrimps
Giant seafan
Pohon Miring
Giant moray
Lion fish
Snake eel
Spider crab

1 comment:

  1. diving at Raja Ampat Island