KM Raja Manta Trip Reports

Oct 8, 2012

Seven Skies Wreck, 5-7 Oct 2012


First weekend trip in October on MV White Manta was full of expectations to see the big fish that can be a feature of our trips towards the end of the season. We embarked to the ‘hotspot’ as soon as we left TMFT eager to get an early start and ‘catch the first worm’. Sadly it was not to be, luck was not on our side, the big fish didn’t make an appearance.

This weekend MV White Manta welcomed a lot of returning guests to the boat. Max Sjoman, pictured with Sherwood Yan, was returning for the fifth time this season! Other returnee’s included Eric Boissier & Diane Ceccarelli, they completed PADI Adventure Dives along with Patrick Osswald & Annette Trippe, Sebastian Osswald and Harry Hoster.

There were also, naturally, a few firsts this weekend too. First timers to the boat were Karim Cherhabil & Elnie Sumantry, Jenny Duong, Ashok Bavabhai, Cathrin Boerstinghaus and Minna Vaisanen.

Anders Schulze came along with friend and White Manta divemaster; Thomas Knudsen. They and Benjamin Leveau are pictured together as the ‘yellow perils’ (though I’m not sure how perilous they are).

It was also the first time Mike Thomas was sporting a new pair of shorts for some time. He is pictured here modelling the pair with our occasional divemaster; Hayami Uchida, whose first trip to the Seven Skies was completed this weekend.

Sadly, it was time for my first illness of the year, viral conjunctivitis according to my friend, White Manta divemaster, and eye specialist, Dr Jay Siak. He kindly gave me an appointment before his clinic began on Friday. Thankfully, I’ve recovered after just 2 days, enough to prevent me from diving this weekend but better than the 2 weeks recovery time mooted. Therefore, I finish this trip, like our guests in high spirits.

Diving this weekend began at Tokong Malangbiru; the best place to check-out in this area. We arrived early morning and all the divers enjoyed the excellent diving conditions. Visibility was good and the current was mild. Our over-weight divemasters were able to ‘lose some pounds’ during the dive. They returned from the dive looking well exercised and pleased to have kept their divers underwater for the duration.

The next 2 dives were conducted at the Seven Skies wreck. The conditions at the wreck were superb; great visibility and again very little water movement. The surface conditions were a little bit choppy, so divers had to be careful getting back onto the boat. Reports from the dives included swimming amongst the barracudas and batfish, marvelling at the schools of striped tunas, and the size and majesty of MV White Manta in comparison to the other boat diving there.

Choice for the last dive was rather split between sailing upto Damar and doing an evening dive, or sailing direct to Pulau Aur. The latter won the appeal of a relaxing weekend, despite a later night dive, since everyone enjoyed a good nights’ sleep in a calm bay, rather than sailing all night in the choppy seas. Night divers had some excellent encounters of spot-back crab, cuttlefishes and a rather nice juvenile pinnate batfish (all pictured, courtesy of Karim Cherhabil).

Sunday morning was an early wake-up call. We started diving at 7am at Pinnacle 1. There was a bit more urgency to the schedule because we anticipated sailing against the current all the way back to Singapore. The conditions at Pinnacle 1 were perfect. Once again divers enjoyed diving in very clear water and minimal current. The small yellow-tail barracudas were schooling about the rock, and some stingrays were regularly spotted, in blue, but on the sand.

Last dive, in the late morning was conducted at the favourite, Jack Rock. Visibility was not as good as enjoyed at the other divesites, but pretty good for Jack Rock. A whole host of interesting marine life was found. Christopher Oswald Adam Maria von Mitschke-Collande won the award for the largest bamboo shark sighting and the longest name! The length of the shark increased with incremental accounts of his dive, but surely his name can get no longer… Karim has shared some nice photographs of his dive, which included a dusky nembrotha pictured.

Only 3 trips more this season; thanks to everyone that joined us. See you again for our next adventure!