Jeroen den Burger
Dive Travel Raja Ampat | March 2020 | Pt.2
Hi Divers! Getting up at 06.00 is not my favourite routine as I am not much of a morning person. But the fact that we are in Raja Ampat and divesite Blue Magic is on the program makes it a lot more bearable. After a quick breakfast we leave at 07.00 for the first two dives, Yenbuba and Blue Magic. It is already warm, the sun is shining and with such beautiful dives on the program I cannot complain. We are especially looking forward to Blue Magic, this site is always in the top of the lists on internet.
Yenbuba After the backroll we got our camera's ready and descend, the water had a comfortable temperature of 29 degrees Celsius and within no time we were (almost) like fish in the water. It was a slope dive and we did not go deeper than 15 meters. That was not necessary because we were surrounded by fish, bumpheads, jacks, sweet lips, bat fish, barracuda's and rocks covered in golden sweepers. We also encountered a green turtle, puffers and boxfish. This was an excellent beginning of the day! Blue Magic Than, onwards to Blue Magic! We dropped at the top of the sea mountain and made our way to the side. There was some small to medium current and visibility was not very good, probably around 10 - 15 meters. We encountered lion fish, a couple of nudibranches, a large school of big eye trevally, large schools of fusiliers, sweet lips, a black crocodile fish, wobbegong and pygmy seahorses. Because of the limited visibility we could not see everything clearly what was going on a bit more outside the reef. But we saw a lot of movement and shadows. The feeling to be surrounded by so much life is a bit euphoric. What a great dive this was! After this dive we went back to the resort for a lunch and some relax time, refueled and rested we went back to the boat. At 13.30 we departed for the afternoon dives. The first one on the program was Yenkoranu, the second one was Neu Reef. Yenkoranu Also a slope dive, we saw a lot of nudibranch, big clouds of golden sweepers, clown fish, cardinals, box fish and giant clams. This dive we went a bit deeper, around 19 meter and there was no current. Which was nice because taking photo's and making video's is a lot easier without current. Neu Reef Like Blue Magic the topography of this divesite is a sea mountain. We started at the sandy bottom to watch a huge patch of garden eels, visibility was again a bit limited. But that didn't spoil the awesomeness of this dive! After we ascended to the slope of the mountain it was as if we were on the highway of fish in Raja Ampat! Large schools of surgeonfish, angelfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, fusiliers, lots of moorish idols, lots of groupers, hundreds of clingfish and a couple of black tip reef sharks. And many more, because of the amount of fish it is hard to identify them all! Oh and than halfway of the dive... the current pushed me a little bit to the top of the reef... and at that moment I saw a huge school of bluetail unicornfish. Quickly I started filming and after a couple of seconds a school of fusiliers descended upon me, looking up I saw how many fish there was around.... wow wow wow, this is......I do not have the words, watch the clip here:
Full of endorphins and a bit tired also, we returned to the resort. There we could not stop to share our enthusiasm and look back at all the footage, what a day!
The next day we have three new sites on the program, Lalosie, Batu Lima, and Andrea's Reef. The fourth (2nd dive of the morning) was again Blue Magic!
Lalosie This is a nice morning dive, though we reached 21 meters it was an easy dive without current. We saw a couple of wobbegong sharks at the beginning of the dive and luckily I managed to film one swimming! It is cool to see them lying on the coral or sand, but swimming is much more special. Of course we saw all the regulars like jacks, fusiliers, cardinals and some barracuda. The guide also found a pygmy and I found a mantis shrimp, but the little guy was quick and good in hiding before I could film it. The safety stop was on top of a large field of hard and soft corals, covered by schools of angelfish and barracuda. With the sunlight coming in it was a great scenery.
Blue Magic The dive started easy, at the slope of the sea mountain. We spotted some large angelfish, moorish idols, and a dartfish. Also some groupers, sweet lips, lion fish and a checkerboard wrasse. We found some nudi's and had fun with all the soldierfish, those guys are not shy at all! Slowly we made our way to the top of the reef, where more soldier fish await. From there we went to the other side of the reef where there was a small current. Like the 1st dive on Blue Magic, we saw a lot happenng in the blue. Than suddenly an enormous school of trevally comes our way, and of course a large school of yellow blue fusiliers is also asking attention. I was a bit further away, but that was my luck, some divers are on the other side of the school and chase it to me. I got to film the school splitting to my left and right! In the remainder of the dive a large portion of the school stays near the reef, giving us lots of opportunities to photograph and film. For the second time, Blue Magic delivered big time! After lunch Batu Lima and Andrea's Reef were scheduled in.
Batu Lima This dive was an relaxing dive, with a maximum depth of 17 meters and no current. We saw a lot of macrolife and beautiful soft corals. The surface interval was at a nice beach where some kids were playing en we enjoyed some tea and watermelon. Andrea's Reef This dive was comparable to Batu Lima, it was a nice calm dive where we found a pygmy seahorse and a anemone full with shrimps. The contrast of the shrimps with the anemone is beautiful! After another excellent day of diving we return to the Meridian Dive Resort. This evening Meridian organised a BBQ and a Traditional Papua Dance Performance. Later more about that. In two days we did 8 dives and they were all great. Blue Magic (twice) and Neu Reef were absolutely Epic! To see, to feel, to experience so much life is breathtaking, it gives an euphoric feeling which is hard to describe. But clearly, this is why we dive!!!