KM Blue Manta Trip Reports

May 10, 2016

Sorong to Saumlaki crossing trip


From the very first day, welcoming our guests onboard the beautiful KM Blue Manta, it was clear that anticipation levels were high amongst dive staff and guests alike! Everyone was excitied to be embarking upon a true diving trip of a life time. Diving and wish list sightings dominated every conversation as all thoughts of the real world receeded and thoughts turned only to what mysteries the blue would reveal on this special crossing trip from Sorong to Saumlaki exploring the remote and exotic 'Forgotten Islands.'

We started the trip in the beautiful coral reefs of raja ampat, with great fish life, not perfect viz but good enough to enjoy the diversity and colours of seafans and softcorals. During the third dive at Farondi caves 3 groups were lucky to enjoy the amazing sight of schooling mobula rays hunting on clouds of silversides, others had the chance to enjoy a Manta Ray on Saggof seamount.

The next day we had perfect conditions on the famous Nudi rock at slack tide, easy and so fishy, then pygmy seahorses on Yillet Kecil and a stunning dive at the unique Boo Windows dive site.

On day Three we jumped at magic mountain, as always the site was full of big fish,but unfortunately on this day there were no mantas, so we finished the day in Daram islands in a stunning Forest of Seafans.

Then, after exposing for the last 3 days the options we had to reach Saumlaki and paying close attention to the weather forecast , we opted for the route passing through Pisang-Triton bay-Kai Island-Saumlaki. Nobody objected and Many Guests were delighted to go through new places including the beautiful area of Triton bay.

On Pisang islands we did three dives, one was only so so mostly because of poor visibility but the next 2 dives were great with abundant fish life, unusual landscape with big rocks covered in very diverse softcorals. It was such a priveledge to explore these uncrowded, healthy divesites.

The next day we stopped and swam at Kiti Kiti waterfall, a unique place with a large waterfall falling straight in to the ocean out of a pristine rainforest. This place was really SO beautiful, a true paradise on Earth. We also enjoyed two dives on a seamount with four Oceanic Mantas and so much fish it was hard to know where to look! We ended the day with another dive with good macro next to the waterfall.

day six we finally reached Triton bay, and anticipation levels were high! Our first dive on OREMBAI was very nice, with an easy current, Napoleons, Sweetlips, a good 15mt viz and some pygmy seahorses for those with sharp eyes! We were also able to spot a number of large Wobegong sharks trying to camoflauge themselves amongst the corals. We then went deeper into the bay to dive the famous Little Komodo, the softcorals were there but the viz was unfortunately quite bad. Our friend, Leeza, who owns the resort at Triton Bay, gave ussome good information for the dives the next day, including the Enchanted Forest, a forest of standing softcorals and also a mobula cleaning station. We enjoyed the Mobula show but the viz was only 10mt so we did another dive outside of the bay and sailed on to the Banda sea at KAI Besar island. We had been given some information for a great divesite, called the arch, a pinnacle on a sandy slope with so many snappers and colourful corals. Then we explored the nearby river and tip of peninsula but it wasnt as good as expected so we went back to the arch and its surrounding rich reef. This night we organised a generous barbecue and birthday cake for some of our guests who were celebrating their special day.

Day 9 we reached Kai Kecil and its remote seamount, the first Seamount might be the biggest field of healthy hardcoral I've ever seen, with schooling GT hunting, hundreds of emperors, big school of bumphead parrotfish and also big tuna and spanish mackerels, a real fivestar divesite. The second seamount had a bit less big fish but clouds and waves of pyramid butterfly fish, along with loads of huge tablecorals on top with sweetlips and snappers all around in crystal clear water. The third seamount didn't have good viz but we could still enjoy big coral formations, huge giant clam, crocodilefish etc....we then did a great night dive on a whitesandy slope with octopus, cuttlefish, hairyshrimp, pipehorse, and nudis galore; a great day.

Day 10 we did our last 2 dives at Kalbur Island, 100miles north of Saumlaki and what a great place, massive Tunas patroling the deep, one team saw hammerheads coming to greet us at 20mt a few times, loads of fish and the most beautiful and pristine coral garden in the shallows with amazing visibility.

All in all everyone enjoyed a very good trip, with the visibility at Triton Bay and Kai Besar a little dissapointing, but all the other days were well worth the trip. We willl be back there to enjoy these, not for long, FORGOTTEN ISLANDS

Trip: BLCROSS 20th April
Author: Cedric