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Last updated: 05/02/07
Marketing - Adventure H2o
DIVE LOG
 
:: February 04 '2007
><((º> Another successful day of discovery!

Today was another successful day of discovery!! On our return toward FakFak we ducked in behind the wind at a small group of beautiful Islands and found pristine reefs loaded with all kinds of fish and a variety of exotic "critters". Burt's best photo was a of a mating pair of good size ornately colored allied cowries. And there were twin spot gobys, many unusual nudiranchs, ghost pipe fish, multiple pygmy sea horses, cock-a-too flounder, crocodile fish and decorator crabs on the night dive.

We're all still trying to come up with an appropriate name for this is wonderful new place. That is part of the excitement of these voyages to this new region: naming the dive sites!

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: February 03 '2007
><((º> Jungle River Tour

Today began with an early morning stroll thru a picturesque coastal village where we purchased some fresh greens and other vegetables from the numerous gardens here. We got under way late afternoon in the direction back toward Raja Ampat. But not before a few more wonderful final dives in this exciting new region.

Moderate winds from the WNW suggested that our return trip might take a little longer than originally scheduled. Before we departed, we made one more "Jungle River Tour" to enjoy the awesome terrestrial landscapes created by the maze 3000+ ft cliffs.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: February 02 '2007
><((º> Harlequin Shrimp

Remember the Harlequen shrimp I told you about that Allison found on the night dive night-before-last? Well, Ali was successful in finding the critter, AGAIN on the first dive of the day today!! And Burt got some wonderful photos of the cute little red guy still eating the red star fish. This shot will for sure make the Fathoms article that will soon appear about this new region we are discovering. While Burt and a few other divers were photographing the Harlequin shrimp, our other tender & divers went exploring along the cliffs further south of our position. The place we stopped to dive was under some of the aboriginal rock art that mysteriously exist in these remote regions of Papua.

From there we went to dive the "Bat Cave" a little further along the coast. This place was teeming with nudibranchs of all shapes & sizes. While the divers were down, Adventure Komodo went searching the vicinity for a pinnacle indicated on the charts, fishing along the way, and boated 3 fine pelagic travallys in doing so. We buoyed the pinnacle and made the afternoon and night dive here. Burt finally got his shots of the famous new species of "walking shark" here and a well earned celebration followed. Also at this site we observed friendly cuttlefish, purple frog fish, stick pipe fish, crocodile fish, a sea snake, more solar powered nudibranchs, reef sharks and shoals of fish that rival Sardine Reef. And healthy/pristine hard corals on this isolated pinnacle rounded-out the experience!

After the night dive, we got underway for near-by Lobo village. The sight of full moon light on the 3000 ft cliffs above our anchorage made for a special memory of this amazing region.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: February 01 '2007
><((º> Steve's Canyons

Today we started by diving that "Bio-Mass" dive site where clouds of all kinds of fish and profusions of soft corals are the features. The dives following that one were at a spot we have dived before, but we discovered an entirely different "topography" further along the ridge that will have us returning to this site again and again. We're calling it Steve's Canyons because it was Steve Amos' discovery. Burt got some wonderful images of the numerous swim-thrus highlighted with soft corals and tons of fish.

On the night dive, a red Harliquen Shrimp eating a red star fish was found by Allison. She also came across a giant Queensland grouper that she swore was bigger than I am! At dinner, our guest were Dr. Gerry Allen and Dr. Mark Erdmann. They led the lively after diner conversations that focused on their theories as to why this incredible region produces such a vast/record number of marine species. Their well prepared "slide show" presentation on their lop tops was the perfect/effective visual aid to describe their theories! They are calling this region a "Species Factory" because they are discovering new species of fish on almost every dive!

Just as they were finishing up, David Doubilet and Jen Hayes came back over to AK for a visit before we headed off our separate ways seeking further discoveries here in the "The Bird's Head Seascape" of Papua.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: January 31 '2007
><((º> The Bull's Eye of Marine Biodiversity

Yesterday was a most eventful day with visits to AK by the leading scientist conducting cutting edge research here in this "Epicenter of Biodiversity". Dr. Mark Erdmann , Chief Advisor for Conservation International, Indonesia Marine Program + Regional Coordinator for the Bird's Head Seascape Project is here. He, along with Dr. Gerry Allen , one of the world's leading ichthyologist, came by to "swap notes" on what we are all discovering. This vast new region is being recognized in the scientific community as "The Bull's Eye of Marine Biodiversity". Also with them were David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic's leading underwater wildlife photographers. All of them are old acquaintances and it was a big reunion plus an honor & privilege go have them on board again.

And discoveries we are making, indeed! Dr. Allen is discovering new species of fish almost daily! Yesterday we found one of the "Holy Grails" of Critters! At the dive site, "Donna's One Palm Tree", an Ambon Scorpion fish was found on the night dive. And solar powered nudibranchs are common here. Also, tozeuma shrimp and allied cowries are being found and photographed here at our present anchorage. Along with all the "Bio-Mass" at the current swept sites, incredible species diversity and now "Critters" beginning to show themselves ~ this new region has something special for everyone.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: January 29 '2007
><((º> South of FakFak

With the gentle swells of a following sea we arrived at our daylight destination ahead of schedule. We awoke with the ship standing off yet another magnificent waterfall along the rugged & lush forest of Papua South of FakFak. The roar of the cascading water falling in to the Sea is a most pleasant way to start the day!

From there, we proceed further down the coast to begin the day of exploring that added more beautiful dive sites to our growing inventory in this new region. It's obvious that the fish and lobsters here have never seen or been harassed anyone. At one anchorage, we highly suspect that an underwater siphon leads to an inland lake that is marked on our chart. But we need more time here to follow-up on our suspicions.

The main highlight of the day was discovery of a lush hard coral garden along a long, narrow, shallow reef system. And further evidence that this area has not felt the negative impact of man is clear because of the abundance of giant clams in shallow water. The day was polished off in grand style with a quiet dingy ride along a dense virgin forest alive with jungle sounds & sights.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: January 28 '2007
><((º> Pisang Islands

Our stop over at the Pisang Islands yesterday were as good, if not better, than our first visit. As we continue to explore and uncover the secrets of this vast new region, the more impressed we become with all the potential that it holds. This region is poised on the thresh hold of becoming the world's most sought after dive destination! And we feel proud to be the first experienced dive operator to escort adventure seeking divers into here.

The pinnacles at Pisang were the focus of our exploration yesterday. Half moon tide changes made currents milder than usual allowing for relaxed conditions for our continuing exploratory dives here. At one particular spot, the huge manta that we encountered last time buzzed Burt Jones numerous times, enough for him to get over 25 close-up wide angle shot of him.

Other features of the day included one of the biggest crocodile fish our divers have ever seen. And a few sharks and turtles were observed here throughout the day. The night dive produced a number of lion fish, including the beautiful and rarely seen twin-spot lion fish.

During dinner, we hauled up the anchor for the 125 mile voyage with a following Sea deeper in to our destination.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: January 26 '2007
><((º> North Batanta

Just now leaving North Batanta behind as we complete this first day of AK 25/1/07. Today was "Check-Out Day" so everyone could get their weights adjusted correctly, be introduced to the way we operate the dive deck on AK and generally get prepared for the next 12 days of exciting diving here in Raja Ampat & beyond. Many of the divers have brand new dive equipment that had to be broken in today. And a few of them haven't been diving in quite some time so today was a very productive day of learning and adapting. All went extremely well!

The sites at North Batanta were perfect for all this adapting and re-introductions: smooth/current free seas and clear water with abundant marine life. A variety of big sting rays, eels and a couple of turtles were spotted. And the flasher wrasse and mandarin fish, the real features of these sites, were here as always.


Just after daybreak, no less than 50 of these mystical birds began flying from Yumm over to the Batanta highlands, a spectacle that we've observed repeatedly here in the past.

After an overnight steam toward Misool, we arrived just past sun up at Fiabacet for a day filled with underwater wonders. The features at these world class dive sites are current swept pinnacles decorated with massive sea fans and soft corals of all colors. The conditions here today were as perfect as it gets with clear water, mild currents and literally tons of fish. One of our guest, Jimmy, is a brand new diver with only recent open water check out dives in Lake Travis, Austin. Everyone is teasing him about beginning a Life of diving in the best possible place on the planet; everything else after this will be a disappointment. Today he saw his first sharks, sea turtles, moray eels and manta rays!

We finished the day's activities with a visit to the extremely remote Misool Eco Resort on Batbitiem. Here the guest enjoyed going ashore and seeing first hand a fledgling little resort sprouting up on a tropical Island. And witnessing the unbelievable hardships that the management & staff must contend with on a day to day basis. We wished them best of luck before returning to the luxuries of AK.

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o

:: January 22 '2007
><((º> Wai Island
We got underway from Friwin Island at daybreak and made the short hop to Sardine Reef just in time for the early morning slack high tide. Conditions here were perfect for enjoying this site at it's absolute best. The usual massive school of fusliers, along with the giant clams, are all still there and thriving.

From Sardine Reef, we prepared AK for the 1 1/2 hour journey to Wai Island in search of the mantas that aggregate around here at this time of year. As we passed by the East tip of the Island we started seeing their dark shadows below the surface, but not in the large numbers we were hoping for. So we continued to anchor in side the picture perfect lagoon of Wai for a "Muck" dive while the tide was changing and the currents outside were strong. After lunch Yaped, the old guy living on Wai, took us to the site of the WW II airplane wreck where we observed 2 giant graceful mantas here. And we concluded activities here at Wai by going in to the Island at sunset for a special surprise that takes place here each evening on the dark of the moon!

Larry Smith
Cruise Director - Adventure H2o ----------------------------------------------- Back to top

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