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Raja Ampat Aggressor Captain’s log *31 July 2018
*Air Temp. 28 - 35 C *Water Temp. 28 C - 30 C
Chief Officer: Ferdik
Cruise Director: Cassio
2nd Cruise Director: Remi
Chief Engineer: Yuli
2nd Engineer: Daryanto
2nd Chef: Irwan
Dive master: Gustin
Dive master: Jerod
Tender Driver: Carly
Tender Driver: Jasman
Dive Technician: Rahmat
We: Manta Play, Manta Clean, Ketut’s Rock, Jetty Pasir
Th: Bagan, Bagan, Heaven Reef, Devil Slope
Fr: Gorgonia’s Wall, Jelly fish Lake, The Wall, Pretty Bush
Sa: Fusiliers Tg, Jack Point, Big Fish Country, Lagoon
Su: The Chenal, The Chenal, Small Fish, Gorgonzola
GUESTS: Ramon, Phil, Matt, Han, Mitssuko, Steve, Andrey, Elena, Alisa, Mayumi, Cristina, Candice
Tuesday 31st July
At noon, our Divemaster went to the different guest’s hotels to pick them up and start guiding them to the boat, starting their journey in Tarakan island toward Derawan archipelago.
Once guests arrived on the boat they were great by all the crew member and the stewards offer them a welcome drink as well as fresh towel. The cruise director and his assistant start introducing to each person their cabins, then the boat bell rings and it was time for the first meal of this trip: an Indonesian Style buffet. Sitting in the Salon, around the 2 tables, peoples start to talk to each other.
At the end of the buffet Cassio, the cruise Director, ask everybody to introduce themselves. Then he gives a presentation about the vessels included the on-board space, entertainment and all safety procedures.
During the first part of the afternoon the divers were on the Dive deck unboxing their gear and setting it on their dive tank with the help of Gustin and Jerod, the local divemaster. Then most of them went for a nap in their stateroom or on the sundeck,
Then at sunset it was time for dinner. The chef Komang introduce the 3 courses and guests start enjoying and chatting about the up-coming dive, sharing some glass of wine. Once the last plate was finished, Cassio give the Dive Briefing of the week, explaining dive procedures and operation on the yacht, safety and emergency procedures and the destination schedule of the week. At the end of it, all the crew members came into the salon and introduce their self and their position under many big rounds of applause.
During the rest of the evening, some passengers stay into the salon preparing their camera stetting while other divers enjoyed sitting on the bow, feeling the fresh air of the sea while the boat was navigating toward our first dive destination through the night.
Wednesday 1st August
As the sunrise start to appear over the seas, the yacht arrived at Sangalaki island. It is a small island cover of tree and surrounded by white sand. It is situated on the West part of Derawan archipelago and home to a few local homestay.
The guests start to wake up and gather into the Salon for the first meal of the day. A light breakfast was waiting for them in a buffet style. They could eat before getting ready for the first dive of this wonderful weeks in the Celebes Sea.
As the first immersion is always a check dive we jumped on a place call Manta Play. After a briefing done by Cassio all the guests went into 3 different groups, each of them leads by one of the Divemaster. During the dives, the guests could check their buoyancy and weighting. Crocodile fish, hawksbill turtle and some colorful Anthias were spotted and the first shot were taken by the divers.
As the last group was back safely on the yacht, Lulu and Noci, our two stewardess, served a full breakfast made of Indonesian and Western food. The divers already start talking about their first impression. Some of them took the time to adjust their gear before taking a break.
The second dive of the morning was held at manta Clean. We enter the water around a huge hard-coral bump. Then we could enjoy the huge plateau of hard coral with some rocks for a while. More crocodile fishes, some Moray Eel, Octopus, Fusiliers and a few different Nudibranchs were found.
Back on board, the divers were great by the other crew members, giving them a warm towel with a shoulder massage. This is the regular treat after each dive on-board of the Rajat Ampat Aggressor.
For lunch, people could enjoy a buffet served in the Salon, with some great varieties of food, included vegetarian choice. Nap time arrive and the guests took a break with a full stomach. Life of the Yacht is always Dive, Eat, Sleep and the Repeat.
The third dive of they day was held on Ketut’s Rock on the other side of Sangalaki Island. The hard-coral garden is surrounded on one side by a sandy Chenal then another coral garden. Lots of Redtooth and Titan triggerfish were found, a couple of Cuttlefish hovering over soft coral, Sea Cucumber filtering the water, Butterfly fishes playing around some table corals where Angel fish were hiding under. More schools of Fusiliers were seen as well as a good number of Bannerfish, usual on the coral reef in this part of the world.
After the dive, some snacks and drinks were served on the dive deck. Then guests took some rest while some of them start charging their camera and torch for the night dive.
For the night dive the guests divided their self in two groups. One went diving along Jetty Pasir, exploring this new wreck we found last trip, spotting Sand octopus, Cleaner Shrimps on a Barramundi Grouper, Crocodile fish and Co’s Chromodoris Nudibranchs as well.
The other group went into the island of Sangalaki to help local rangers releasing baby Green Turtle into the Sea. This Rangers station collect all the Turtle eggs that the female come the lay every night during nesting season. Once they hatch they make sure a maximum number of juvenile turtles get into the sea.
After a dinner, the cruise director gave a presentation about Whale Sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean. As we were going to dive with them tomorrow he also explains good dive behavior to adopt with them underwater. After this most of the divers went to sleep after this first day of diving. Some still stay around, having a beer and a chat.
The boat motor during the night toward Talisayan, where we will dive the next day.
Thursday 2nd August
The vessel arrived in site of the Bagans during the night. Bagans is the Indonesian word for local fishing platform that fish overnight, deploying net underneath them and using light to attract some fish named Puri. The Whale shark usually gather around this Bagans in the morning, surely attracted by the concentration of Plankton. The cruise Director went early around the Bagans, checking with the fisherman to see which one have some whale sharks. And he found the right platform before getting back to the yacht and start the briefing.
During the 2 dives at this location, divers could dive and photographed 6 different Whale Sharks, mostly male, between 2,5 meters/8 feet and 6 meters/18 feet. This two hours underwater were magic and every body finish the dives with a huge smile on their face.
Then the Captain drove the boat toward an atoll in the middle of nowhere name Malalunga. We stayed there for the 2 last dives of the day, exploring Heaven Reef and Devil’s Slope. This place a good spot for critters such as Bargibanti Seahorse, Juvenile Midnight Snapper, Crested Nembrotha Nudibranchs,
The dinner was served as the last group was back on board. It was the birthday of Elena so all the crew gather in the Salon for dessert to play music for this special occasion. The Chef had made a Birthday cake as well and all the guests share it. Elena could blow Candle for her new year despite being out at the sea. She was really happy.
After all this emotions Cassio gave a briefing about the next day, explaining about the land trip that was going to happen in the island of Kakaban. Guests will be going to visit a no-stinging Jellyfish lake. He also gave a small lecture about Pygmy Seahorse before the divers head to their stateroom for a well-deserved sleep after this wonderful day of diving.
The vessel starts navigating toward Kakaban during the night to be in the right spot for our first morning dive.
Friday 3rd August
The light of dawn start flooding the horizons as we arrived in the island of Kakaban. The guests started to wake up and took a small breakfast before the first immersion of the day on a place call Gorgonian Wall.
We jump along this wall and drift in deeper water up to 30 meters/100 feet, cruising around with schools of Platax and Fusiliers. Some Jack fish were seen along the dive as well as a couple of Candy Crabs spotted by the Divemasters. As we arrive at the end of the wall, we hook on the corner, over a plateau. On the edge of this plateau some Whitetips and Greyreef Sharks. Water temperature was around 29℃/82℉.
After the breakfast, the Dinghy drivers Ody and Jasman bring the guests onto the island to visit an inland seawater lake, full with millions of non-sticky Moon Jellyfish, Golden Jellyfish, Upside down Jellyfish and even some Box Jellyfish. They had become harmless with years of living there and having no predator. They could swim there for an hour, taking nice pictures and video before getting back on-board for lunch time.
The afternoon dive was on a Wall on the South-east tip of Kakaban island. Going down along a coral wall, the groups arrived at the depth of 30 meters/100 feet and drift along this wall. Deeper than 10 meters/30 feet visibility was around 20 meters/60 feet. A Guitar Shark was spotted by some of our divers and critters like Nudibranchs and Shrimp as well.
We went for a sunset dive instead of the night dive to be able to enjoy the hard-coral plateau during the last lights of the day. The Cruise Director decide to go North of Kakaban in a more shelter area. We explore a new dive site called Pretty Bush. A really nice wall, sloppy at some point, were Blacktip reef shark, Eagle Ray, Green Turtle, Devil Scorpionfish and schools of Yellowtail Fusiliers.
Dinner went and the evening presentation was about Sharks, explaining the special characteristic about them, the different migration route, matting and reproduction process as well as the different threats they are facing nowadays. When it was finished most of the passengers went to sleep. The boat stays in Kakaban for the night and start moving toward Maratua Island early in the morning.
Saturday 4th August
The day start by seeing the boat in sight of Maratua Island. The weather was sunny and warm.
The three-day dives of this wonderful day were wall dive around the West and East coast of the island. More pelagic life was spotted: Marble and Eagle Ray, Whitetip and Blacktip reef sharks, schools of Yellow Fusiliers and of Bigeye Jacks, some Anthias in shallow water, Bigeye soldier fishes on hard coral table and lots of Green Turtle on the plateau that were on the top of walls. Water was around 27℃/76℉ and visibility up to 20 meters/65 feet.
After these thrilling dives, the crew drive the boat inside the lagoon of Maratua to moor the Yacht for the night. Guests had a break with some spring roll and Lemon Ice Tea before gearing up for the Night dive.
During this dive the guests could enjoy more critters on a shallow reef up to 12 meters/36 feet. Spear Mantis shrimp, Flabelina, Glorious Flat worms flying, Peacock-tail Anemone Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Hermite Crabs, Hinge-Beak Shrimp and Sponge Crab.
Once all of them were safely brought back on board by Ody and Jasman, they were great by the crew playing music as it was the last night dive of the trip.
Then the dinner was served. People share they experience of the day around some good food prepared by our Chef before listening to the presentation of the day about Barracuda. As we were expecting to see them the next day, Cassio gave some recommendation to dive with them.
Sunday 5th August
The yacht and his occupants woke up in the lagoon of Maratua where we spent the night. The day was clear and good dives were waiting for us today.
The first two dives of this wonderful day were done in a place call The Channel. It is the entrance of the Lagoon where the yacht spends the last night. When the Tide is rising blue water from the deep flood inside this Chenal into the Lagoon. During the 2 dives we went down the wall and hook our-self in the right corner of the entrance for a first time. Divers could enjoy lots of action, watching Giant Groupers, Greyreef sharks, Pompano Jacks and Mackerel. But they could see as well as a surprise TEN Scallop Hammerhead Sharks cruising around the channel entrance, making all the divers happy. As planned we could also enjoy a huge school of Chevron Barracuda forming this massive tornado from 10 meters/30 feet down to 25 meters/ 75 feet. They were on the left corner of the site. A smaller school of Pickhandle Barracuda was also spot inside the Chenal along with schools of Fusilier.
After this two amazing dives, the guests could enjoy a lunch and a well-deserved rest before the afternoon dives. These immersions would be held along the East side of Maratua, diving along wall where lots of Green Turtle could be spotted as well as Squarespot Anthias, Giant Pufferfish, Leather Filetfish, Spanish Mackerel, Longnose Hawkfish and Bumphead Parrotfish.
After dinner the cruise director talk about the different species of Turtle, their matting life and the threat they are now facing in the human world. We also celebrate the 300 dives Milestone of one of the guests: Ramon. He gets a special attention for his dessert and a huge round of applause by everyone.
Monday 6th August
We arrived during the night around the island of Derawan, one of the smallest of this archipelago. The yacht anchor for the rest of the night in a shelter area and moved in the morning in front of the beach where the two last dives of this trips will be done.
After the current was check by the divemaster, divers gear up and jumped into the water. Lots of critters were found during this two macro dives, letting the guests have nice shots for the last day. They could see Blue ring Octopus, Stone Fish, Crocodile Fish, Flabelina, huge Green Turtle, Orange-edged Sapsucking Slug, different Chromodoris Nudibranchs and a couple of Blue Dragon Nudibranchs.
Once all the guests were back on-board, the crew start washing their gear after a good week of diving. They hang it up to dry it to make sure all the divers leave the boat with dry equipment.
During this time the guests gather into the salon for the last lunch buffet. Once all of them finish eating, the cruise director played the Video of the Week that he made during this 7 days of adventures all together. The boutique was also opened and the guests enjoy buying some memories and souvenir to bring home.
After a good rest, everybody meets on the Sun deck. The crew played music before Cassio gave some reward for the Iron Diver: Elena and Alisa made all the available dive of the trip and they receive a certificate and medal.
A toast was done with Champagne a more music played by the crew while guests took some pictures around the sun deck.
The last dinner arrived and the Chef prepared his signature menu for the occasions. The guests could enjoy Surf and Turf for the last meal on board. The dessert finished, we played a slideshow of pictures that the guests were happy to share. An emotion time as we get through the week of diving, remembering all the memories.
Tuesday 7th August
At the scheduled time the crew was waiting to bid their farewells to this fun, kind group of guests and wish all a safe journey back home. Thank you for visiting us and we hope to see you again aboard the Raja Ampat Aggressor. Happy bubbles!