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SERIOUS Raja Ampat Discussion Thread NOW SET FOR 2016


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#31 AnemoneAmy

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 02:01 PM

From others' comments, winter, Nov to March, seems to be the best season. And, it seems that folks are thinking Feb/Mar 2016 is ideal due to other big trips before then.
But, I don't have time today to read more....tiling a bathroom.

#32 ScubaTex

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:33 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?

I don't think a question of the best time to go, the liveaboards have already done that for us. I've made a quick look at 5 different boats, Indo Siren, Damai, Arenui, Aurora, & Dewi Nusantara, the earliest a pure Raja Ampat cruise is the middle of November and the latest is the middle of May. Some of these boats already show full charters for the 2015-6 season. Most of these boats relocate from/to the Komodo area, and offer a cruise which could include Ambon [muck diving] & Triton Bay [slightly different sub-species, due to flow of fresh water into the bay]. I have been to Raja Ampat the last 2 weeks of Oct. [2008] and Mar. 10-25 [2013], and have never experienced a bad dive, from a reef/critter point of view.

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#33 WreckWench

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 08:05 AM

Thank you Bill...that is great insight! Bummer on how quickly they are filling up. Any bad reviews about Siren? Hopefully they have some availability!

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#34 Sqbagal

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:08 AM

I'm IN for 2016. As far as timing, this is from the Indo Siren's website:

Indonesia is a tropical country, and the climate is fairly even all year round being roughly divided into two distinct seasons, 'wet' and 'dry'. The east monsoon, from June to September brings dry weather while the west monsoon, from December to March, brings rain. The transitional period between these two seasons alternates between gorgeous sun-filled days and occasional thunderstorms. Even in the midst of the wet season temperatures range from 21-33°C (70-90°F), except at higher altitudes which can be much cooler. The heaviest rainfalls are usually recorded in December and January. Average humidity is generally between 75% and 100%.<br style="color: rgb(71, 71, 71); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 23.796875px;">The Banda Sea has average water temperatures of 26°C (79°F) – most guests will find a 3mm shorty sufficient. For those who feel the cold easily it is advisable to bring your own 5mm suit.

There is plenty of availability in the "shoulder season" of April-May 2016, two trips in Jan-Feb 2016 and then again in Dec 2016. I don't know if it's full boat availability, but it's worth a check --- soon. They are filling up FAST!

Edited by Sqbagal, 16 September 2013 - 10:31 AM.

Instead of "SINGLE" as a marital status, I prefer "Independently Owned & Operated"

#35 WreckWench

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:03 PM

SIREN RAJA AMPAT AVAILABILITY FOR 10 DAY TRIP IN 2016:

07 Jan 2016
17 Jan 2016 $3850 Euros 16 spots = Full Boat Available

18 Jan 2016
28 Jan 2016 $3850 16 spots

29 Jan 2016
08 Feb 2016 $3850 16 spots

17 Apr 2016
27 Apr 2016 $3850 16 spots

28 Apr 2016
08 May 2016 $3850 16 spots

09 May 2016
19 May 2016 $3850 16 spots

20 May 2016
30 May 2016 $3850 16 spots

01 Dec 2016
11 Dec 2016 $4200 16 spots

The rest of 2016 dates are Komodo or Ambon and/or transfer trips

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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#36 WreckWench

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:10 PM

We have had good luck with Siren to date but can and will consider other carriers if desired. At the current exchg rates today this trip would be approx $3850 x approx $1.33 exchg = $5121 USD.

That is for the 10 day trip only and would not cover the extra days to arrive early nor the airfare.

Any input on Siren as the carrier and/or the dates they have available?

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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"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
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864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#37 ScubaTex

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:37 PM

While I have a negative view of the condition of the boat and attitude of some of the crew on the Ondina. I will say they had some great day trips. Again, these are arraigned by the cruise director and I feel the Ondina had an excellent one. For instance, the Aljui Bay is where the pearl farm is located, you can't even enter the bay without permission from the pearl farm. They have their own coast watchers & a military force, to make sure none of the oysters are stolen. The pearl farm dock is also a great night dive, or the fuel dock on the other side of the island within the same bay. We spent the whole day in the bay, admittedly on one site, but it was such a large site, it took 3 dives to cover it. Other favorite sites for night dives are docks located at island villages, all of which require permission to dive from the village elder. Or a guided trek into the jungle to watch birds of paradise court and mate at dawn [a 4:30AM wake up & 1,000ft climb, you'll earn breakfast].

IMO make sure the boat can provide access to these types sites, both for diving and day trips.

My 2 psi - Bill

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


#38 Sqbagal

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:57 PM

Ondina looks good to me, too. Heck, I'm not picky - I just wanna dive. Safe boat, good price, cool land tours and dive, dive, dive - that's the operator that wins my vote.
Instead of "SINGLE" as a marital status, I prefer "Independently Owned & Operated"

#39 ScubaTex

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:45 PM

Let me give you more to think about, dimensions. The Ondina is an Indo phinisi, similar to a Siren boat, although layouts maybe different. The Mermaid I is a steel boat, on the order of a Caribbean Explorer. The Mermaid seemed to be wider than Ondina, with a dive deck twice the size. There were a total of 15 divers aboard Mermaid. The briefings on Mermaid were made in the lounge area astern of the salon, then 2 groups of divers would gear up including bc w/tank, then step down to the stern to get into the zodiac[s-2]. Once the first 2 groups were gone, the other 2 groups could gear up and depart. Onboard Ondina, the briefing was held on the dive deck, crammed with 16 divers, again divers were divided into 4 groups, but the first 2 groups only had 1 guide, the crew would carry your bc & tank, and camera down to the zodiac on each side of the boat. You would gear up after climbing into the zodiac, requiring some contortions. The zodiacs on both boats were powered w/1-40hp outboard motor, but the ones on Ondina were in need of maintenance, and several times quit running for 5-10 minutes. I saw dive tenders for other boats, some were zodiacs, some were rigid boats, one with twin 100hp motors[!], but didn't know which boat it belonged to. Diving from the zodiacs of the boats were the same, back roll, get camera, descend. Upon surfacing, hand up camera, remove weights belt/pouch, assist w/raising kit, remove fins, & climb 2 step ladder into zodiac was the easiest method, although you could climb the ladder w/bc-tank-wts. It wasn't necessary to return with your group, air consumption differences, get separated from group taking picts, or get blown any by current [take SMB], all possible. Water temp was consistant 78-80o, 12L [100 cuft] tanks were available.

Some more to think about.

Bill

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#40 WreckWench

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:48 AM

I could never provide this type of insight myself.... thank you all. NOW you all know why I have asked for help to make this very important decision.

This type of dialog will help us find the best options...


p.s. I do think that there is no such thing as a bad trip to this area...BUT I know there will be a HUGE difference between a great trip and a so/so trip.

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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#41 Resqdew

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:48 AM

Bottom line - - let's go DIVING!

With that said, it's always more comfortable if the panga is a hard hull boat with a solid dive ladder rather than a zodiac/inflatable with lack of space & horrid dive ladders. If the gear is kept on the hard hull pangas, or gear transported by crew to the hard hull pangas, there's usually have a bit more space to gear up on these boats than the zodiacs. Other nice comforts to consider would be if the main boat (mother ship) has hot showers on the deck, a bathroom on the dive deck, do they provide towels after each dive, are there areas to be in the sun & also to escape the sun, etc. However, for a great dive trip a majority of us will adapt to almost anything.

Best deal for the best dates is the guiding force; Otherwise I'd be partial to dates in January or February to escape winter, but would consider any dates to DIVE DIVE DIVE.

Thank you Bill for the excellent information!

#42 WreckWench

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:53 AM

Does anyone know what type of pangas the various providers to this area has?

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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#43 WreckWench

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 08:51 AM

MEMBER HELP NEEDED*:

Would anyone be interested in checking to see if they can find out if the Ordina has had the revitalization she was supposed to have in the past year or so? If not then I will pass on this boat as it was in much needed refurbishment when Bill aka ScubaTex went on it.

I have asked if Bill can reach the cruise director that used to be on the boat as he was obviously a vital part of the boat's experience and see where he is at these days. So if we can also find out more about the boat's condition...we can decide if this is a viable opportunity.


* I am on the road traveling and preparing for the AZ tradeshow this coming weekend. So if anyone can do some digging on the internet for recent reviews of the Ordina or new repairs for the Ordina ...we should learn a lot. :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!!
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"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
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710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#44 WreckWench

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:24 AM

From Siren's newsletter...focusing on Indonesia... hope this helps us decide WHICH amazing place to go... Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Komodo...


FOCUS ON INDONESIA


A Season in Komodo
As the 2013 Komodo season draws to a close we look back over the last 5 months and wonder at all the superb marine life that has been seen by our guests and crew.

Komodo is one of Indonesia's most loved dive destinations; offering a mix of marine life from the microscopic "ladybugs" found around Nusa Kode, to meaty grey reef sharks that hunt in the currents of Castle Rock in Gili Lawa Laut.

No trip would feel complete without sightings of manta rays and for this season both the S/Y Indo Siren and the S/Y Phi Siren maintained a 100% sighting record!! Also seen were mobula rays and eagle rays.

There were also a few surprises along the way with a sperm whale being sighted at the surface in North Komodo, whilst in the south our Dive Master Ungke found a spectacular purple Rhinopia. No whale sharks though this season so perhaps they will return for a visit in 2014!


Discovering the Banda Sea

As the S/Y Phi Siren journeys to her new home in the Philippines, the S/Y Indo Siren will begin her long crossing over the Banda Sea ready to begin her Raja Ampat season once again.

Each year Siren Fleet offer just 2 cruises allowing our guests to discover the Banda Sea. The first runs between Sorong and Ambon in May, the second seeing the yacht transition between Flores and Sorong in late October.

Both cruises offer an element of excitement and discovery, coupled with dives at some well known sites in Banda Neira, Misool and Ambon.

Later this month the yacht will traverse the "Forgotten Islands", a chain of islands stretching from Alor to Ceram and with dives primarily at sea mounts that means one thing; pelagics!

Plenty of big fish schools are to be expected with barracuda, trevally and sweetlips but of course this being Indonesia divers anticipate seeing all the wonderful macro critters also. Rhinopias, sea snakes and frog fish to name just a few of the commonly sighted.


Return to Raja Ampat
Surely a destination on every diver's "must do" list, Raja Ampat is truly the Siren Fleet's most heavily subscribed 10-night trip. Successful marine sanctuaries and collaborative tour operators mean that the area's coral reefs are well protected and maintained despite seeing an increase in dive tourism each year.

The region's diversity is its main draw card. Nestled within the Coral Triangle the Four Kings are home to over 4,000 different fish and invertebrate species yet you may be surprised to learn that though the islands are close to each other, many species are unique to that island. Due to shifting tectonic plates some species may only be found in Waigeo and Batanta and not in Misool or Salawati.

Commonly sighted are schools of blue lined snapper, trevally, barracuda and sweetlips whilst a multitude of anthias and wrasse add to the immense colour of the reefs. Divers can delight in sightings of flasher wrasse and on the next dive watch in awe at the majestic performance of manta rays.

Not only is there diverse marine life but also a diversity of habitats from soft coral reefs to black sand slopes, mangroves and sea grass beds. So if you haven't yet had the pleasure of a dive trip to Raja Ampat - get in touch with our reservations team. There are limited spaces remaining on our 2014 season trips but the 2015 and 2016 schedules are now open for bookings!
  • Elias likes this

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 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

#45 Buzo Guero

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 02:45 PM

Like all 3.




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