Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait - Indonesia Liveaboards

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2012 Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait Trip

2012 dates:

March 31 - April 12
Sorong to Lembeh
Cost per person: full - email to get on waitlist for cancellations
 
WHAT: Liveaboard Dive Trip - mixed underwater photography & non photographer trip
WHERE: Cruise through the islands of Raja Ampat and the islands west of Halmahera. Includes Misool and Lembeh Strait.
HOW: Indonesian liveaboard "SMY Ondina" with special itinerary
WHY:

This one-way dive trip visits some of the best areas for diving in Indonesia, including Raja Ampat's Dampier Strait, the Pisang Islands, Banca and Halmahera's Gorachi islands, and Lembeh Strait.

This trip was first offered in May 2008 to a select group of divers who have dived Raja Ampat many times. Consensus is that this Raja Ampat to Lembeh trip produced some of the best images and was one of the most exciting trips we've made.

   
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Raja Ampat / Halmahera / Lembeh Liveaboard Trip
 


March 31 - April 12, 2012, 12 nights /12 days

This trip starts in Sorong and finishes in Bitung (Lembeh Strait / Manado, North Sulawesi)

Halmahera liveaboard map
Fly between Manado and Sorong, Liveaboard visits Sorong, Raja Ampat, Halmahera via Pisang Isalnds,
through Banca and Goraichi islands to Lembeh Strait.

Lembeh Strait liveaboard tripLike our Raja Ampat trips, This charter will offer extra diving and is accompanied by underwater photographer & author Daniel Selmeczi.

We completed this same route in May 16-28, 2008 and again in May 2009.  The first group was by invitation only to a selected few divers who had been on multiple trips with City Seahorse previously.  We were all very pleased with the route.

We spent about 4.5 days diving in Raja Ampat including the Dampier Straits between Waigeo and Batanta (Sardine Reef, Mike's Point, Cape Kri, etc.), then a 2 days in Misool.

Banda Sea liveaboard tripLeaving Raja Ampat we stopped for 1 full day in the Pisang Islands which are tiny islands with pristine reefs covered with hard and soft corals.  It is a beautiful spot. Excellent night dive there - one of the best I've done in years.

We worked our way up the straits on the western side of Halmahera.  Many of the reefs in Halmahera have been bombed and I'd heard from divers on other ships that Halmahera was just average diving, but we knew the good sites and they were every bit as good, pristine and covered with corals and critters as Raja Ampat (although less medium-large fish).  Masses of brilliantly colored soft corals and fans (including some in that rare sky-blue color) covered the submerged rocks, pinnacles and areas around small islands where we dived. Divers thought my video from one dive (full of sweetlips and soft corals) was from Mike's Point.

Next to last day we spent at a tiny island between Halmahera and N. Sulawesi.  There are not a lot of dive sites there, but where we dived was spectacular!.  The highlight is a massive school of more than 1000 barracuda. Some sites had few fish, but others had heaps of fish and quite a few sharks (probably due to the current or lack thereof) ... like the one where we encountered a school of over 1000 Chevron Barracuda, far too many to count, and where on each dive we were surrounded by fish from tiny orange anthias and golden chromis to Black Snappers, Jacks and Napoleon Wrasse while fusiliers bombarded us from all sides. Photographers and divemasters didn't know which way to look and were doing 360's to take it all in.

Lembeh Strait liveaboard tripMike O. and I did a number of really excellent night dives on sites with pretty corals and on others with muck, but each with a remarkable number of small critters for our macro lens or video. At the end of each day we were tired, but the night dives had been so good that we convinced each other to jump into the darkness once again each night often coming out after others in the group were already in bed.

 

On our 12 day trip, we spent about 5 days diving Raja Ampat, 6 in straits alongside Halmahera or around tiny islands en route. The last day we spent in Lembeh Strait with some muck diving with the mimic octopus, hairy frogfish, etc. finishing up about 6pm since most of the group were staying additional days at a resort to continue diving Lembeh starting the next day. The ship dropped us at the resort. No surface interval, packing or drying required!

2012

The trip will concentrate mostly on the diving in Raja Ampat and in the straits on the on the western side of Halmahera.

The trip starts in Sorong and after a few days diving around the Dampier Straits, take a different route than normal Raja Ampat trips with a day or two in the Misool area and then head out to dive the Pisang Islands.

1000 Chevron Barracuda, Halmahera liveaboard tripHalmahera - Leaving Pisang, bypass the southern end of Halmahera and then dive your way up the west coast through the Goriachi Islands for fish packed reefs, corals to rival those of Raja Ampat plus sharks and pelagics. Expect some macro/muck diving as well.

The trip will finish up in Lembeh Strait with muck diving.

As an add-on to this liveaboard trip, book some diving at Lembeh Strait.

The ship can drop you at any resort in Lembeh, so no drying, packing or surface interval for flying required! We offer add-ons to this trip at a resort on Lembeh Strait with exellent diving and guides.

If you are interested please email us about the Raja -Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait dive trip so that we can inform you of the exact details and answer any questions.

 

 

A few comments from previous Raja Ampat and Halmahera groups:

Undercurrent: Divers on trip trips created reports on Undercurrent. If you would like a copy of their comments, please send us an email so we can tell you how to find them. Review gave our trips 5 stars in all appropriate categories.

"I met Justin, and he is so happy with the Halmahera trip, makes me jealous!"
Norb, professional cruise/tour director (not on the cruise!)

"That was the best diving I've ever done. Sooooooooo good to get back in the water again. Many excellent memories. "
Dick, videographer, retired dive instructor and dive tour leader from USA

"I just wanted to thank you for a really great trip - one of the very best I have ever done and from a photographic viewpoint, the most productive ever!"  
Don, professional uw photographer from Australia

"I've been on two of Deb's trips - one to St. Vincent and one the past few weeks with her in Raja Ampat. I organize charters myself, and the reason I've gone with her (and expect to again in the future) is that she simply constructs and runs outstanding uw photo trips. She goes out of her way to think of every detail, and directs the dive operators she uses so as to maximize photo opportunities for her groups. For example, I saw far more critters in St. Vincent in a week with her than I did in more than two weeks on a private charter I did in that area with my own group. Likewise, I had far more and better photo opp's in Raja Ampat on this trip last week than on a charter of the same length there that I organized earlier this year. I realize that this makes it sound like the trips I organize are crappy, and that's really not the case; it's just that Deb's trips are really a cut above.

BTW, Deb is not only a great organizer, she has a great photographic eye and is an extremely accomplished uw photographer in her own right. Unless you are a troublemaker who doesn't play well with others (in which case Deb reserves the right to send you home), I wholeheartedly recommend her trips. You'll get more than your money's worth."
Bruce, Intermediate uw photographer from USA

"I have only good things to say about the trip you organised. The diving was even better than expected. The crew and the boat were excellent, the food was a joy. I had a lot of laughs with Ricard, David and Co. I'd go back any day. I would have liked to stay longer in Misool, maybe an extra day, but that's a personal preference, I had never seen coral like this before (even after 5 trips to the Maldives, and the Maldives is great believe me). I am very suprised we didn't see more sharks, you never said sharks was not on the menu <joke>"
Jerome, expert uw photographer from Ireland

 

Wayag photos, Raja Empat, Diving SorongAbout the Diving:

Water Temp : The water temperature will be variable. Ranging from a possible 78°F to 86°F. A 3mm suit is recommended with layering (vest) and hood suggested. 1mm can be worn by most divers in Raja Ampat.

Liveaboard Travel: Will be variable. Some islands are far apart, others very close together. Some days we will stay at anchor overnight, and a few nights will involve a long 10-14 hour cruise.

Conditions: This trip covers long distances with several overnight cruises from 4 to 10 hours. At least 2 nights will be traveling overnight in open seas. Expect some rolling unless the weather is perfect (like it was in May 2008).

Wide Angle Photography: Raja Ampat and west Halmahera will provide ample wide angle possiblities with fabulous corals and fish.

Macro Photography: This trip includes a variety of places for macro photography and concludes at Lembeh Strait, which is world-famous for its macro / muck diving.

Current: While there is a lot of current on certain sites, we do NOT want or plan to drift and try to take photos. We do NOT want guests to be struggling in strong currents.

 
About the Liveaboard:

 

SMY Ondina Indonesia LIveaboardNitrox now available on SMY Ondina

SMY Ondina is an Indonesian traditional Pinisi ship specifically designed and outfitted exclusively for diving. It was upgraded in 2007 with minor improvements every year.

(BTW the sail color is traditional.)

 

We have separate webpages with medium size photos, boat specs and amenities.. be sure to look at the photo gallery and read the captions.

SMY Ondina - Raja Ampat Liveaboard Details & Pictures

 

Cost & Prices:

 

2012: 12 night / 12 day Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Resort Liveaboard Trip

Ask about guaranteed single cabins (limited availabilty).

March 31 - April 12, 2012
The above are dates aboard the ship.

Dive cruise includes:

  • 3+ dives per day (except possibly first and last days)
  • 3 meals per day + afternoon snack, 24 hr. free snacks, tea, coffee & bottled water
  • accommodations on the ship in private cabin with ensuite bath (double occupancy)
  • transfers between the airport and ship in Sorong and Bitung (Lembeh) to Manado airport
  • ship fees and taxes
  • your choice of aluminum or steel tank, air fills, weights & weight belt

Not included:

  • air travel (Jakarta - Sorong about US$340, Manado - Sorong about US$165
  • fuel surcharge of 120 euro (about US $170) includes Raja Ampat diver tag
  • any additional fuel surcharge necessary if prices increase significantly
  • crew gratuities
  • massage
  • dive gear rental, etc.
  • alcoholic beverages & extra soft drinks other than those provided at meals

more about the Indonesia liveaboard ship

 

How to Get to Indonesia for the Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait Liveaboard trip

 

This trip travels between Sorong and Lembeh Strait.. The best choice for an International flight is into Jakarta.. Lembeh Strait (where we depart from the ship) is a 1 hour drive from Manado. Flights from Jakarta to Sorong and Manado to Jakarta are several per day.

International flights to Manado or Jakarta, Indonesia connect through Singapore, Hong Kong, and other countries. Usually an overnight in Jakarta or Manado is required before going on to Sorong to meet the ship. Two or three nights is recommended so that you are not tired for your liveaboard diving..

We will organize these flights for you, book any hotel overnights you require and arrange for you to be met at the airport in Jakarta and transferred to and from your hotel. Since people come from all over the world for these trips, we are not all traveling together but do tend to meet in Singapore, or Jakarta on the inbound trip. It is normal for single travelers to meet others, share a room or a side trip before or after the liveaboard trip.

Transfers between the airport and ship are included in the package price. Note any hotel overnights and air travel are not included in the trip price.

We are not travel agents but will assist you organize your travel which you will purchase directly from an airline wholesaler or an agent in Indonesia (through us).

You can use frequent flyer miles to Singapore or Jakarta (or other destinations) to decrease the cost of your dive trip. You should carefully check the cost of additional flights as its possible this might not be a good use of your frequent flier miles unless you can get all the way to Indonesia on them.

 

 

call us in Texas at 817-626-0636 for information or

email us about Raja Ampat - Halmahera - Lembeh Strait trips

 

Deb Fugitt

Images & Info from Many of the Areas We Will Visit:
Raja Ampat Trip Galleries
Raja Ampat Underwater Pictures, Irian Jaya Gallery 1
Raja Ampat Diving West Papau Gallery 2
Scuba Globe feature article on Raja Ampat Diving
Scuba Globe Raja Ampat Photography Portfolio
 
Indonesia Liveaboard Pictures & Info

 

 

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