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Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh May 8-20, 2009, 12nts.

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Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait - May 8-20, 2009, 12nts.

 

Our Newest Trip Sorong - Halmahera - Bitung

 

I scheduled this route for May 2008 and ran a "by invitation only" trip with a few selected

divers who had been on multiple trips with me previously.

 

Frankly, after hearing reports from others who had done this route, I was

apprehensive, but this dive trip turned out to be one of our best trips ever.

 

Consensus is that this Raja Ampat to Lembeh Strait trip produced some of the best

images and was one of the most exciting trips we've made. We were all very pleased

with the route and I'm looking forward to repeating it in 2009 with an open invitation

to any diver who is qualified. Just hearing about the trip made Norb, our previous

cruise director, jealous!

 

raja-ampat-halmahera-lembeh-trip-map.gif

 

The Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait trip will spend several days in Raja Ampat,

including Dampier Strait, with all the now-famous dive sites and including sites around

Misool. Divers who have been to Raja Ampat already will get their "fix" of the best sites

there before we move on.

 

pier-batfish-bream-DFugitt.jpg

 

Fishy reefs and mangroves, rock islands, manta, piers with

soft corals, walking sharks.... and then....

 

... working our way west, we'll visit remote, seldom dived islands with remarkable and

pristine (really) coral reefs, tiny islands and rocks that are covered in beautiful corals,

overflowing with fishes.. and crawling with tiny critters.. especially great for night dives.

Expect some unusual colors with corals abundant in shades of yellow and purple/red.

And great underwater structures for wide-angle photography.. or even better.. video !

 

 

DFugitt-Mantis-Face-350.jpg

 

See more underwater creatures at Deb's Sample Gallery

 

...continuing on we'll zip up the western side of Halmahera stopping to dive sites in the strait

between Halmahera and Pulau Bakan, including an amazing site where sharks cruised close by

to check us out and odd sky-blue sea fans made a nice background for Blue Ribbon Eels on a

pinnacle covered with huge sponges, a wide diversity of brilliantly colored soft corals and

heaps of fish. In May 2008 a muck-critter night dive near our anchorage produced scores of

nudibranchs, shrimps, gastropold molluscs, coral pipefish, etc.....

 

...after a day or so there, we arrive in the Gorachi Islands where the volcano islands of Tidore,

Ternate and Makian rise out of the sea in the distance. Diving on rocks that just peek out of

the sea, we'll be sure to repeat one where, when the current was running, was a maze of

boulders covered with a rainbow of soft corals with 100's of yellow sweetlips resting in the

valleys.

 

MikeO-fishy-DFugitt.jpg

 

Near the end of the trip we dive an extremely remote, small island where dive sites are few...

fish are many. Especially barracuda. A school of over 1000 barracuda hang around the

site in a school so gigantic you can't see all of it.. it fades off into the distance.. even in

relative good visibility. Cruising jacks, midnight snappers... giant Napoleon Wrasse, fusiliers

that buzz around us distracting us from the photography...

 

1000-barracuda-Ric-DFugitt.jpg

 

... and then we move on to end the trip in one of the best places for muck macro photograpy

in the world, Lembeh Strait. We'll end the trip with some muck diving and for those who

have time to extend drop them, their cameras & dive gear still wet from the previous day's diving

at a Lembeh resort to continue a few extra days of muck. Nudibranchs with shrimp, hairy frogfish,

Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Mimic Octopus.. the critters are legendary.

 

DFugitt-LEM03-Nudi-Shrimp2.jpg

 

For my dive/photo groups I bring in freelance divemasters and guides to insure

we have a great crew, above and beyond the liveaboard's regular crew. I

have even been selecting the cruise director for the one I believe will do the

best job for specific trips. (I'm in the process now of arranging freelance guides for

our Nov 2008 and Apr/May 2009 trips.)

 

Participation is limited to 12 guests. By limiting the number of divers, more

diving is possible and the dive deck is less crowded.

 

All divers enjoy unlimited dive time. You will have the freedom to enjoy

your trip to the fullest as we never impose arbitrary time or dive limitations

on many days we have an open deck so you can dive when you want.

 

On our trips you will get more diving than any other trip to the same areas,

plus extra dive guides and experienced tour organizers / trip leaders who will

also help you organize your travel plans and look out for your best interest.

 

As a guest photographer you will have the prime photo opportunities.

 

We have chartered the ship SMY Ondina for our last 13 dive/photo trips and work

together each trip to improve over the previous one. Our 2008 and 2009 trips are on

SMY Ondina again!

 

We love this ship, 2009 will be the 6th year in a row that we have chartered her

because most of our guests tell us that they prefer SMY Ondina to any other

liveaboard they have been on. Its not high luxury, but a comfortable ship laid out

extremely well for diving.

 

The winners of the 2004-2007 SMY Ondina Photo contest (free cruise!) have been

guests on one of our charters.

 

Deb has a Raja Ampat gallery including a short video clip from one of our May 2008 trips

(just a sample really) and details of the trips here:

 

Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait Trip Information

 

All 2009 Trip dates:

Raja Ampat: Apr. 22- May 4, 2009, 12nts. $4095

Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh: May 8 - 20, 2009, 12 nts. $4095

 

Raja Ampat Nov. 12- Nov 23, 2009, 11 nts. $3895

Raja Ampat Nov. 26- Dec 07, 2009, 11 nts. $3755

 

Wholesale air flights, assistance with travel plans available for divers from the USA.

Complete packages available including add-on diving in Bali, Lembeh, Ambon, etc.

 

Contact Deb or Tony in Texas at 817.626.0636 or

via email tours@cityseahorse.com

 

by DebF for TonyM :uwphotog:

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