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Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

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Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#1  Postby reztitan » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:22 pm

My Report on Central Raja Ampat

I was there on board the Black Manta on the 1st Nov - 6th Nov.
Started my journey on the 31st Oct, taking Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Makassar, than spend a night in Makassar before catching the earliest 4am Srivijaya Air into Sorong.
Arrived in Sorong at 7pm, and was greeted immediately by Black Manta Boat Manager, Mr Cedric.
I will keep the description of Black Manta short, if you interested you can check it out here http://www.whitemanta.com/index.php?page=km-black-manta.
The crews are friendly and the DM are very experience. We were divided into 4 Teams, on average 1DM per 4 divers. I consider myself very lucky to have Cedric as my DM, his experience and ability to read the current was phenomenal. I did 20dives there and we did not once jump into any wrong water with him, often the timing and predicted landing spot was spot on, sea condition just as we were briefed.

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Now come the diving.
My 1st impression of Raja Ampat was, I was Not impressed at all. The visibility was not as good as we hope, or perhaps we were all having very high expectation. Sipadan or Layang2 have way better visibility than R4. According to our DM the visibility in R4 are usually around 15m-20m at best condition, mainly because of the high nutrient within the water, that give it a little milky color.
However when it comes to the marine life, Raja Ampat are amazing! If your wish is to see a wobbegong shark, wish no more, you can basically find a wobbegong shark almost every other dive. My 1st picture taken under water was a wobbegong shark at our check out dive! Plenty of pygmy seahorse here, school of barracudas, batfishes, devil rays, sweet lips, jacks, snappers & etc..
Some dive sites are pretty challenging, I remember our dive in Cape Kri, the current were so strong that it literally swap my buddy off together with the rock he was holding onto. Our DM was very quick to react to give him a hand. What even more interesting was towards the end of the dive, we came up through a whirlpool with a strong downward swap current. When the dinghy came to pick us up we were going round and round as we struggle up the boat.

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Forgive my photography skill, Im using G12 without strobe, need to really sneak up very close to the fish to get those shots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVIW5FDtraw&feature=share

Here is a video of the highlight of our dive, taken by our DM and put together by my dive buddy.

Overall, I think Raja Ampat is a very healthy eco system, hopefully it gets to stay that way for a very long time so more of us get to enjoy it.
I enjoyed my trip very much, meet a bunch of new dive buddies on board, the crews were friendly and keep you entertain all the time.
Will definitely re-visit R4 is I get the chance again.. Hopefully I could explore the south on my next round visit.
reztitan
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#2  Postby decimal86 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:18 pm

bro nothing to apologize for...my shots also like that.

cedric is a laugh a minute. i remem his 3D dive briefings! excellent entertainer. i went to R4 first time with Black Manta. is Anto still with them? the DM that wears the ear guard dive mask?

i have been to R4 3 times and still cannot get enough. going again next year
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#3  Postby reztitan » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:52 pm

Hi decimal,

haha yeah Cedric is fun to dive with, master seaman, great juggler, excellent dive master and entertainer too.
His ability to read the current was fantastic, the timing he planned for each dive was very accurate. We didn't drop into any wrong spot or when the current was strong, you should know about the notorious current around some R4 dive site.

For me surfacing in the middle of whirlpool at cape kri was one of the moment that I will not forget.

Hopefully I can do R4 again bro, but its quite costly to dive there. Cause me almost 10k for this trip, need a little time to recover for another trip like this.
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#4  Postby decimal86 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:14 pm

hi rez,

yes, R4 banyak mahal but if you compare to the number of times your mind goes "wow" over the places you have dived....it is truly worth every cent.

they are building 2 more mega DC--chinese owned--in the coming years, so expect to see less in the years to come. want to go better go now.

i am sure you have heard from the older forumers how Sipadan waters was dark with huge baracudas years ago? and turtles everywhere? i guess the same sad story will repeat itself at R4. already there has been an increase of LOBs over the years. 2 times infact.

there are more affordable LOBs moored at Sorong but they are not listed on the web as yet. i think Kapal Selam Dive Club may have an answer to the others not listed n the web.

but i find Black Manta and Mermaid II to be luxury enough. it was my itchy backside that i went with Dewi Nusantara the last time. but hey, i cancelled my straits times subs, taking buses and MRT, showering at the club, it is still worth it going back!!
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#5  Postby reztitan » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:05 pm

Hi decimal,

Yeah I feel it worth it. As for the "wow" factor, I feel it will depend on individual's expectation. I have not dived in many places, so for me there are still a lot of "wow" when I dived in R4.
But some fellow travelers who went on the same trip with me said they have their own preferences on other dive sites, like Komodo, Maldives or Anilao. Which many I have not visited before.
In R4, there are so many pygmy seahorse till we need to tell the DM stop showing us already. Or such abundant of fishes which after a few dives you literally start to ignore them and forget the fact that many around the world flew in just to admire these beautiful abundant of marine life.
Like my friend said, we are spoiled of choice living in South East Asia, plenty of interesting dive sites just few hours flight away.

Given a chance I would wanna go back to try South Raja Ampat, Misool that area.
Of cause like you said, I might need to start canceling my astro, wifi and maybe tell my son to drink more water rather than milk to save enough for me to do the trip again.
Hopefully before the development caught up with R4.
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#6  Postby decimal86 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:36 pm

rez

yeah we must cover all the "must dive places". well except komodo. i did not find anything outstanding there lah. except walking with the dragons..but that is a land tour.

very cold waters some more. i dont like cold waters.

hmm Ambon is another must dive place..but all macro.

hahaa yes, save money to dive. but kids must nurture to be divers. i think the preservation of the earth lies in the generations to come. it is not going to happen tomorrow. and our hobby is a good way to promote conservation.
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#7  Postby reztitan » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Most recently the Black Manta is promoting Ambon - Ring of Fire dive.
Cedric said they found new dive sites with confirm Scallop Hammerhead Shark schools and hammer cleaning station. He was teasing us while we were on board with videos.
But I don't think the water is clear though and the current is way much stronger.

I like to think we are preserving the earth with our hobby, but unfortunately our hobby actually let us witnessing the slow but surely death of our ocean.
Like you said those who had dived in Sipadan in the early days, will recall the glory of what it use to be.
One day we will tell the same story of R4 to our children.
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Re: Central Raja Ampat @ MV Black Manta

Post Number:#8  Postby decimal86 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:46 am

Ambon ? Hammerheads cleaning stations ? wow i didn't know that...

but ambon need not do a LOB lah. 2 dive centers there. one brand new.

unfortunately where ever we go we leave a little damage behind.

-- Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:09 am --

reztitan wrote:Most recently the Black Manta is promoting Ambon - Ring of Fire dive.
Cedric said they found new dive sites with confirm Scallop Hammerhead Shark schools and hammer cleaning station. He was teasing us while we were on board with videos.
But I don't think the water is clear though and the current is way much stronger.

I like to think we are preserving the earth with our hobby, but unfortunately our hobby actually let us witnessing the slow but surely death of our ocean.
Like you said those who had dived in Sipadan in the early days, will recall the glory of what it use to be.
One day we will tell the same story of R4 to our children.


after much belt tightening , making my own kopi or siew tai, and nasi putih with kicap, i went on the snakes and spices tour with WAOW.

and lo and behold...we saw Black Manta at Nildesperandum, an atoll full of hammerheads underwater. i have written a review here in International Destinations.
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