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SERIOUS Raja Ampat Discussion Thread NOW SET FOR 2016


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#16 ScubaTex

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:03 AM

I seem to recall the scheduling revolving around the season and weather of Komodo, and when the weather is seasonally poor there, the boats head to RA. I looked into a trip to RA for last September, as a friend had time off then. I only found one boat, the Pearl of Papua, that was in RA. All other boats were still in Komodo. I think it is a 12 month a year destination.
I seem to recall that Deb Fugitt runs her trips on the Ondina, and has for many years. She runs a trip in October, and I seem to recall reading that it is one of the first RA trips every season. I do not know if she books the Ondina because of the boat, or the schedule. Most of the other operators start running RA trips in November I think.
Bill also mentioned that the preferred flight route was through Jakarta. I was told the same thing when I was looking into a trip. I wanted to go through Manado, and add a week of diving around Lembeh to a liveaboard in RA. I recall being told that there was a reliability issue with the flights between Manado and Sorong, and if I opted for that route, I should add at least one extra night in a hotel in Sorong in case I could not get there on the scheduled day. I definitely want to dive Raja Ampat. As it is such a difficult place to get to, as well as an expensive trip, I think a 10 day live aboard is by far the best option. It is too far to go to be limited to a few dives a day in one location. Ed

The 'south-east monsoon', high winds and seas, is what keeps the liveaboards away from RA from June thru Oct, and also closes Misool Eco Resort during the same period [difficulty getting customers and supplies from Sorong].

Deb Fugitt has run her trips for a number of years, she also reduces the number of divers to 12, from the boat capacity of 16, and hires another dive guide, increasing from 3 to 4 the number of guides. This allows more room on the dive deck, there were 16 aboard on my trip, and space was so cramped at least 2 divers had to suit up outside the dive deck. The RA MPA has strict rules governing the number of guides and crew for each liveaboard and rules for operation.

The key to getting to preferred dive sites is the route the captain takes, and the ability of the cruise director to negotiate with his counter parts on other liveaboards seeking to dive the same sites. The sites around MER are literally owned by MER with a lease agreement from the indigenous peoples. To dive within the MER MPA you must get permission from MER. There are other sites, especially Manta Sandy, which are dived by many liveaboards, but also by several land based operations, your cruise director again must take into consideration the times other liveaboards and 'day boats' maybe on the same site. The cruise director is also very important in getting permission [$$$] to dive some of the piers at night, or setting up a visit to the Allui Bay pearl farm [WW take OTW & $$$$ for pearls from the factory store!!!]. The cruise director on Ondina was excellent at making these arraignments, unfortunately as our cruise was ending he said he would be leaving the boat when it went to dry dock.

As I previous said, use Manado Safari Tours for domestic Indo flights, they know what airlines are reliable, and if flight schedules change, they will make new reservations on other carriers. 3 weeks prior to leaving on my first trip, I got an e-mail from MER telling me to contact MST, because for some reason [NSA??] MST's e-mails weren't getting thru to me. They were trying to inform me the airline I was schedule on had quit flying the route and would have to be rebooked on different airlines, with an overnite layover in a different city. Everything was taken care of with a few e-mails, and a representative met me at the airport with tickets and hotel vouchers. There are at least 5-8 airlines, which fly strictly domestic Indo routes, in a variety of different aircraft, but not all of them fly the same routes, forcing you to possibly inter-connect along your intended route. If you are required to make an overnite layover, MST also can direct you the better accommodations, than you can by trying to hunt them down, even thru Expedia, and like the airlines are going to require payment with an Indo bank issued credit card.

To book a RA trip of this nature, I think, a boat contract should be made at least a year in advance, if not 2. I started communicating with MER 10 months prior to the beginning of the trip, before construction on the resort had been completed. My last trip, I did intensive research for 2 weeks to find the resort & the boats with available space at the right price, then pulled the trigger on the entire trip 6-1/2 months in advance. I was lucky, I got one of the last spots available on the relocation cruise from Lembeh to Sorong. My feet never hit dry ground when I transferred from Mermaid I to Ondina in Sorong harbor. My Spawn had arrived on Ondina and was wondering where her dad was, I was having breakfast on the boat moored next to her!!!

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#17 WreckWench

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:58 AM

LOL!! I have my work cut out for me. I think I will officially accept your offer of help Bill... and maybe you will possibly want to join us as well!

Please keep the great insight coming. It will be hard to decide what operator(s) to use. And it seems we should consider a back to back trip if going this far...BUT we'll see. We may have to compromise and just offer a 10-12 day trip option and call it good.

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
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#18 AnemoneAmy

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 12:16 PM

Arenui looks dreamy. :) I am sure it is expensive, but I don't want to go that far for a "budget" boat. I have bad memories of a certain trip where a boat broke down. Reputable company is important.

#19 AnemoneAmy

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 12:19 PM

WW, perhaps we could consider some land based location plus a following liveaboard to handle late arrivals.

I will do some reading and consult w/ Squidly as well. I am sure he mentioned the Arenui before...

Looks like I'll have to start eating ramen for the next two years.

#20 Buzo Guero

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:07 PM

Would depend on other offerings that year. If memory serves, you're talking 2015? I have two other trips in mind for that year, personally.

Posted Image

#21 WreckWench

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:15 PM

This trip would be for 2015 or 2016 depending on what we want to do and how far they book up in advance. Chances are it will slip to 2016 as I'm sure most group contracts for good dates are already filled for 2015. But once we determine a venue or vendor or combination of vendors then I can see how far out they are booked.

Early Nov will be the time to deal which is why I want to try and be ready to book something then.

And yes we do have some other offerings but the long haul venues are getting harder and harder to get too (we are aging) and more expensive (money is always tight) and then having a fun and safe group to enjoy the experience with.

So I will be focused on ensuring we hit a few of these amazing bucket list trips sooner vs later. And if we plan farther out we can usually offer more trips ... so

YES AMY thank you for your research offer as well. :thankyou:

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD LEGACY/OLD/MANUAL Forms & Documents.... here !

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"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
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Kamala Shadduck c/o SingleDivers.com LLC
2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
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710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#22 ScubaTex

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:25 AM

There are a couple of reference books you may find useful. Prior to my last trip, I bought and studied, Diving Indonesia's Birds Head Seascape. It's a comprehensive listing/briefing of dive sites in Raja Ampat, Cendrawasih Bay & Triton Bay. I found older editions aboard both boats I was on. I left it with a dive guide, who had let me use some of her Chinese stone powder to help heal a wound received from jamming my hand into coral [anything for a picture], and who would be making her first trip to Triton Bay on the next cruise. Also, I'll mail a copy of Underwater Paradise, a book by the owner/builder of Ondina, but with fewer dives sites reviewed, to Kamala for her use. You may also want to visit Conservation International's website for some interesting information concerning work being done and the immense biodiversity of Birds Head Seascape.

Bill

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Time on earth is precious, time underwater even more so. Live life one day at a time. Dive your @$$ off!!!


#23 Buzo Guero

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:04 AM

Posted Image. If it's 2016, consider me IN.

Gracias.

#24 jesterdiver

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:31 AM

+1

Posted Image. If it's 2016, consider me IN.

Gracias.



#25 Resqdew

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:09 PM

Whatever, whoever, whenever, I would like to dive Raja Ampat! The only problem I can see is trying to wait until 2015 to make the trip.....

Susan

#26 WreckWench

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:18 PM

Whatever, whoever, whenever, I would like to dive Raja Ampat! The only problem I can see is trying to wait until 2015 to make the trip.....

Susan


Now Susan...don't sneak off early to do it without us! I PROMISE ITS TIME TO RUN A TRIP HERE!!! Its one of the few places left on my own personal bucket list.

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD LEGACY/OLD/MANUAL Forms & Documents.... here !

Click here TO PAY for Merchandise, Membership, or Travel
"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
"Imitation is proof that originality is rare." - ScubaHawk
SingleDivers.com...often imitated...never duplicated!

Kamala Shadduck c/o SingleDivers.com LLC
2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
formerly...
710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#27 ScubaTex

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:21 PM

Whatever, whoever, whenever, I would like to dive Raja Ampat! The only problem I can see is trying to wait until 2015 to make the trip.....

Susan

Maybe you can get the Walton Family Foundation, a big contributor to Conservation International, to observe some of the work CI is doing.

Bill

Edited by ScubaTex, 14 September 2013 - 12:22 PM.

Time on earth is precious, time underwater even more so. Live life one day at a time. Dive your @$$ off!!!


#28 Kimbuddha

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:56 PM

2016 would be great as I'm planning on Fiji 2015 and I'm not doing the Galapagos trip so Feb/March 2016. I also looked at the Arienu just last week, I think the "secret" is at work. They seem to be sold out for a couple of years unless you have a contract. Glad you do! I would like a two week trip. Maybe by then someone will want to trek around on land with me for a week or so. I have to see BaliAdd me to list.
If you change the way you look at things...the things you look at change.

#29 WreckWench

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:44 PM

Kim I do not have a contract with anyone yet...but I want to set one up by Nov of this year since they do fill up fast.

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD LEGACY/OLD/MANUAL Forms & Documents.... here !

Click here TO PAY for Merchandise, Membership, or Travel
"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
"Imitation is proof that originality is rare." - ScubaHawk
SingleDivers.com...often imitated...never duplicated!

Kamala Shadduck c/o SingleDivers.com LLC
2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
formerly...
710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#30 WreckWench

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:46 PM

So when is the best time of year to go? I see when you can't go...so does that mean everything else is ok? Or did I miss the best times already?

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD LEGACY/OLD/MANUAL Forms & Documents.... here !

Click here TO PAY for Merchandise, Membership, or Travel
"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
"Imitation is proof that originality is rare." - ScubaHawk
SingleDivers.com...often imitated...never duplicated!

Kamala Shadduck c/o SingleDivers.com LLC
2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
formerly...
710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906




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