SAMPLE CRUISE ITINERARY "RAJA AMPAT & TRITON BAY"

14 Day/13 Night Sorong-Sorong Cruise


Day 1 Embarkation in Sorong

Day 2 Dampier Strait

The strait that flows between Waigeo and Batanta is rapidly becoming famous, as it offers some of the most spectacular diving in Raja Ampat - as a result of the nutrient-rich ocean currents passing through here. Everything which makes for a wonderful dive can be found in this channel of water. Beyond the usual delights and the satisfaction of spotting prized macro subjects such as Pontohi pygmy seahorses, there are surprises to be found on every dive here, as waters from several oceans meet up offering a real mixture of ocean life. Ironically, sardines are about the only reef fish not found at the site of Sardine Reef, but you won’t even notice as you drift past schools of fusiliers, surgeonfish, trevallies, rainbow runners, sweetlips and bannerfish. The fish life practically block out the sky, as they swarm over the reef, which is stunningly decorated with sea fans, soft corals and huge orange elephant ear sponges encrusted with pastel colonies of tunicates. One of the most unique thrills of this site is being able to hear “fish thunder” - the loud booming sound made when a large number of fish move rapidly through open water. Cape Kri, Blue Magic, Chicken Reef, Kerupiar Island and Mioskon are all dive sites in Dampier Strait full of these wonders.

Day 3 Dampier Strait / Arborek

The two morning dives will be in Dampier Strait, perhaps at Otdima Reef where there is a resident school of friendly sweetlips who will pose for the photographers and videographers. In the afternoon we will move to the idyllic island of Arborek.

Arborek Jetty

The afternoon and night dive are both at Arborek Jetty, another favourite for many divers. In the shallows, the jetty posts are covered in soft corals and down at the bottom we find pipefish, cuttlefish and octopus. The fish life in this area is as plentiful, as can be expected at sites with a great deal of healthy hard and soft coral. The reef also provides shelter for many interesting small animals, like hermit crabs, flatworms and skeleton shrimp. The newly discovered Pontohi pygmy seahorse can be found on the coral heads and make sure to seek out the giant clam nestled among the pulsing soft corals. At night, listen for the toadfish croaking from under the rocks. While we’re here, we can also visit Arborek Village to see the traditional way of life for these island people. Get ready to be greeted by many island children, who are more than willing to pose for photographs and even jump off the jetty for an action shot. Anyone joining our cruise is more than welcome to bring along some goodies for the children at Arborek. Obviously the children love sweets, but we encourage people to bring pencils, pens, notebooks, colouring books - none of which rot their teeth! The school always needs more materials and the girls love hair clips and bands.

Day 4 Manta Sandy

Today we dive twice in the morning and then travel to the south of Raja Ampat. Manta Sandy is well-known for Indonesia’s much bigger visitors as it is one of the most consistent spots for finding congregating mantas. It is easy to spend a whole dive observing these majestic animals, as they somersault through the water while being cleaned by several species of wrasse and even butterflyfish. In addition to the cleaning, they come to feed on plankton carried along by the currents and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to witness the unforgettable sight of a ”manta train”, where a dozen or more mantas gracefully glide around in a sweeping circle, following each other head-to-tail.

Day 5 Daram

Daram is a group of islets in the south east of Misool, our last stop in Raja Ampat before heading south towards Triton Bay. There are several dive sites in the area including:

Andiamo

The reef here is stunning and is large enough for at least two dives. There is a submerged pinnacle where sea fans are surrounded by schools of fusiliers and batfish. A short swim across a sandy bottom brings you to the main reef lush with soft corals. In between the two islets is a gap thick with sea fans and is excellent for wide angle photography. Look out for black tip reef sharks and napoleon wrasse, if you can see them through all the fish!

Candy Store

This dive site is so named because the first divers to explore this reef felt like kids in a candy store. Huge sponges, beautiful soft corals and sea fans cover this dive site, especially in the valleys where schools of fusiliers, butterflyfish and sometimes barracuda gather.

Day 6 Pulau Pisang

Our midway point from Raja Ampat to Triton Bay Pulau Pisang consists of three parts, Pisang Besar and two groups of islands to the northwest and south of the big island. The best dives are around the southern islands but there are other less explored dives on Pisang Besar.

The Dome

This is a sloping reef in the middle of the southern group of islands. There is a deep ridge extending north where there is a chance to see manta rays at the cleaning stations. Large coral heads covered in glassfish are surrounded by good fish life on the current side of the reef.

T-bone Reef

At the east end of the Southern group of islands there is a long ridge creating a beautiful reef. It is also possible to see manta rays here.

Day 7 Namatote / Triton Bay

Today we will visit a display of rock art on the mainland opposite Namatote Island. It is thought that wandering Aborigines may have created the paintings. After a dive at Namatote Island to see the leopard anemones on the sea whips we will move into Triton Bay to look for any ‘bagans’, fishing platforms. It has recently been reported that whale sharks have been feeding on the nets of these platforms. If the bagans and whale sharks are around then we will arrange to do an early morning snorkel the next day to watch these giants feeding. The afternoon and night dive at Walker’s Reef is where marine biologists discovered the Triton Bay walking shark.

Day 8, 9, 10 Aiduma

The reefs in the Iris Strait between mainland West Papua and Aiduma Island are immaculate in part due to the region’s lack of significant population. There are many dive sites in this area, the highlights of which are:

Little Komodo

This is a stunning dive site with vibrant soft corals in some parts growing almost all the way up to the surface. When the surface is smooth photographers can try for reflection shots of the soft corals below and the island above. On one side of the dive site is a wall with overhangs and mini caves and on the other side there is a sandy bottom full of sand divers. Bushes of black corals and rocks covered in Tubastrea come alive with hundreds of damsels and anthias.

Bo’s Rainbow

An excellent dive site which can be dived several times it has so much to offer. Black coral bushes full of Tozeuma shrimps and yellow sea fans full of yellow Bargibanti pygmies can be found in the deeper sections. Ghost pipefish, frogfish and nudibranchs have also been seen here. Large groupers and schooling fish hang out around the boulders in the south. There is a tunnel dissecting the rock in the shallows and can easily be swum through.

3 Rocks

A beautiful wall from the north side of the middle rock has great opportunities for wide angle photos. Along the wall there are overhangs covered with soft corals and sea fans. Hiding in these sheltered spots we have seen the wriggling juvenile barramundi cod. In the shallows there is a beautiful coral garden with hard corals and big sponges covered in sea cucumbers. All around macro life has been spotted such as different ghost pipefish, flasher wrasse and nudibranchs.

Saruenus Island

This incredible and colourful ridge runs along some beautiful rocks covered with soft corals and black corals. With all this beauty come schools of batfish and colourful anthias and damselfish. This great grouping of corals and fish is because sometimes the currents here can be strong.

White Rocks and Macro Rocks

The best macro dive site in the area close to Bo’s Rainbow. It is a typical muck dive site with a gentle slope of sand and some rubble creating the perfect place for some of the most incredible critters. We have seen the amazing blue ringed octopus, ghost pipefish and one of the masters of camouflage the frog fish. At this dive site the most important thing is to go slowly and spot different critters and not try to cover big distances. In the shallows there is a bit more life with hard corals creating a great place for lobsters, crabs and shrimps to hide from the divers.

Tim Rock

An immense black coral forest grows on the north side of this rock and if the current is running it is worth hanging around and watching the clouds of glass fish being hunted by predators. Below the black corals is a rubble patch where we have seen frogfish, Tozeuma shrimp and different gobies. Turtles have also been spotted here.

Day 11 Pulau Pisang

Two more dives at the Pulau Pisang group of islands before heading north back into Raja Ampat.

Day 12 Boo / Fiabecet

South-east Misool is famous for the profusion of colourful soft corals and beautiful sea fans that smother the reefs. In fact, this Fiabecet area offers dive sites where the soft corals are truly outstanding.

Nudi Rock, Whale Rock, Batu Kecil, Fiabecet Corner and Kalig Ridge are a line of rocks, some which are connected underwater, which create dives full of colour. Expect schools of fusiliers, surgeonfish, barracuda and batfish. There is a high chance of seeing wobbegong, white tip and black tip reef sharks in this area too. Also we can dive Boo Rock and Boo Point East, where we regularly see large Napoleon Wrasse and Green Turtles. Boo Rock is best known for the ‘’windows’’ or rounded openings on the southern end of the largest rock, that completely pierce the reef from the surface down to about five meters. Although the two rocks appear separate from the surface, they are connected underwater by a magnificent reef draped in soft corals and brimming with fish.

Day 13 Sagof

Our last two dives of this cruise will be in the area of Sagof in south east Misool. Two of our favourite dive sites are located here.

Baby Rock

A small dive site packed full of fish where a resident school of batfish like to hang out at the cleaning stations in the shallows or grouped together out in the blue. The reef is covered in colourful sea fans surrounded by glass fish with hungry lionfish staking out the bushy black corals. A little ridge extends out to the west where we have often seen mobula rays passing by. Many anemones can be found on the plateau and keep your eyes open for a wobbegong sleeping under a rock.

Two Tree Island

Right next to Baby Rock is this dive site where you can dive small ridges, big overhangs and colourful walls. Turtles cruise around this reef feeding on the soft corals. Many types of nudibranchs have been found on the walls here, alongside the vibrant corals.

Day 14 Disembarkation in Sorong