Jeroen den Burger
Dive Travel Raja Ampat | March 2020 | Pt.1
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
The coming week we are diving in Raja Ampat with Meridian Adventure Dive (MAD)!! Raja Ampat, one of the best area's in the world for diving. We feel so lucky!
We will be writing a blog every two days, if we can find some time between all the diving. Follow our website and socials to stay updated about our dive adventures!
The idea for this trip emerged on the BOOT fair this year where we met representatives of MAD and started talking. We were really tempted by the look and feel of the resort and divecenter. And we were also moved by their philosophy, One Planet - One Community - One Ocean. We contacted MAD after BOOT and Sarah and Auri made us a great offer. Soon after that it was decided: we would go to Raja Ampat! Unfortunately Dirck couldn't come, but Nima, Luca and Jeroen were definitely going.
Coming to Raja Ampat was not easy due to the Corona virus. And it was especially so for Luka. Though living in the Netherlands for years he was initially not permitted to enter the flight. He had to watch Nima and myself get on the plane while staying behind. But through persistence he could come one day later. So from today, monday the 16th of March, we are all together here in Raja Ampat.
Nima and myself started diving on saturday. Yes even a 36 hour journey can not stop us from going diving! We were welcomed very friendly by Nadia and after a quick dip in the pool we got on the speedboat. And we must emphasize speed because the boat is impressive both in design and speed. The boats are spacious and all aboard have their own place on the boat. Fresh water, tea, coffee and watermelon is all aboard for the inner diver. And there are towels (refreshed after a couple of dives!) for after the dive.
Putting the dive set together and getting in the dive gear is all done by the staff. Only the wet suit has to be put on by yourself. What a luxury! Furthermore, the crew is very nice and supportive, where the captain has the privilege to countdown from 3 to Dive. The moment where everybody backrolls simultaneously into the water.
During the first two days we did 6 dives where we dived the following dive sites:
Unfortunately we had bad visibility, around 10 meters, but the aquatic life didn't disappoint. Shortly after getting in we saw a wobbegong shark lying on the coral. Scorpion fish, lion fish, clown fish, tiny decorator crab and of course lots of hard and soft corals were present. Not a bad first dive.
This was a night dive, but one with current, so extra euhm exciting... It was a bit hard to stay together due to the conditions, but the dive was pretty good. We saw octopus, sepiola, walking shark, a huge decorator crab (at least I think it was), lion fish, marble eel, scorpion fish, hermit crab and a small turtle.
This site had a lot of macro, but also some big scorpion fish. We saw lots of nudibranch and a pygmee seahorse, so cute! Oh and did I mention we saw two sharks?
Well as the name says, its a garden, full of corals especially a lot of hard corals. There was quit some current, with a tricky down current, but that didn't spoil the fun. We encountered immediately after getting to the reef a black tip shark which circled around for some good pictures and video. After that we saw a turtle and wobbegong shark. Also a lot of the more regular fish.
You probably guessed it right... we saw manta's! Manta Sandy is a cleaning station where the manta's come. The rules were very clear: we do not disturb the manta's, we stay out of the cleaning station and we wait at a line before the cleaning station. We were not disappointed. The manta's were there, one or two white, one grey and one ninja manta! The largest was around 6 meters, the ninja manta was around 4 meters but the most daring one. We captured it good on video. What gracious animals they are!
This site also emphasized more on the macrolife, lots of nudibranch and of course the more common types of fish like jacks, fusiliers, clown fish, and soldier fish.
Well this was our first blog from Raja Ampat at the Meridian Resort. We hope you liked it. More to come the coming days!