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View Full Version : Trip Report Part II Raja Ampat-Papua-Sorido Resort November 15th- 23rd



Travelnsj
12-07-2009, 11:22
Raja Ampat: I had transferred the night before from Bangka to Manado and spent the night at the local Murex. The next morning I had to get up at around 4 am to be at the airport to head to Makassar to Sorong with a 1 hour layover in Makassar. As usual the Lion Air flight was 45 minutes late arriving in Makassar. After getting my luggage I ran full speed with luggage in hand to Merpati. Thank god the Papua agent was there to help as he had Merpati on the phone begging not to take off. I did manage to get on the flight and my luggage made it to Sorong. Now the fun part, sometimes the boats used to get to Sorido/Kri resorts are open aired except for the front 6’ which is where the boat driver is and it is very hot and humid in that space. This day the boat had 8 people going to Kri/Sorido plus crew and staff going to their respective resort, total of around 16 people and it had been windy and raining, 2 hours later we pull into Sorido. Most of us were drenched with rain and sea water. Thinking to myself why in the hell am I doing this? There is other great diving in Indonesia and you do not have to go through this trek. After my first dive the next day, the answer was obvious…I’ll be back next year! Of the 4 times I have gone back and fourth before weather has been perfect so once was OK.

Sorido resort/Raja Ampat-Papua: In the past couple of years I have stayed in Room #1 this year I had room #3 which is a newer room and it was perfect. In the last year Max has made some nice improvements to the resort. He now has a camera room managed by bittenbysharks.com, nice gift shop and now the meals are buffet style and a bit more continental and not as hot spicy as they were before and excellent. This is my third visit to Sorido in less than 2 years and cannot speak highly enough of the service, rooms, meals etc. and you are in the middle of nowhere. This year he had a few guests around 14, in the years past I have been here there are usually only two of three other guests. There was a family and friends from England, a couple from Switzerland, one Canadian who works at the controversial Freeport mine in Papua and a couple from Heidelberg Germany. Juergen (from Germany) had extensive experience diving around the world since the 70’s and this was one of his favorite spots in the world. We all got along great and had a blast. The last evening Nicholas (England) caught a big Tuna and we all had seared Sashimi out at the pier. I was looking forward to meeting Sorido’s new managers Leon and Claudia but they were in Singapore working on the printing of a book Max and a few others are putting together about Raja Ampat. So Max was entertaining the guests and supervising everything. They did arrive hours before my departure on Sunday and we had lunch together a great couple and look forward to seeing them next year.

Diving: 17 dives, water temps 81 to 85. When I did my first dives on Monday it was bright and sunny, water temps around 83 to 85, then the next 4 days it was overcast and breezy and water temps cooled down to 81 to 83. On Friday afternoon the sun came back out and Saturday was Sunny so Sunday diving was back up to 83 to 85 water temps. Usually no more that 4 divers on the boat with two or three Dive guides. This is the finest diving I have ever done the diversity of the corals, Marine life, reefs, walls etc is outstanding. There were a few great dives I had which is typical of most of the diving. Manta Sandy (a site for the Mantas) I did two dives there, we had up to nine of the big Pacific Mantas all black and black and white ones that showed up on both dives, some came within a couple of feet of me swimming and playing, had to dip down a couple of times to avoid being hit. Cape Kri and Sardines reef, schools of Jacks, Giant Trevally, Sweetlips, various Snappers, Wrasses, Amberjacks, Barracudas, Schools with thousands of Breams, Anthias, Cardinalfish, Fuslier’s etc. One of the most incredible sights is when you see a large school of the Lumar Fusliers with their silvery blue color is one of the most beautiful sights underwater I have seen. I also saw Pigmy seahorses, Nudibranches, Crocodile fish, many different types of Clown fish and Hawkfish, Blacktip reef sharks, Whitetip reef sharks and Wobbegone Sharks, Sting rays, Eagle rays etc etc. One thing you have to be prepared for is the currents, some of the dives can be a washing machine. For example one day I dove Mike’s point one of the finest dives I have ever done, the next day visibility was horrible and almost impossible to swim in it. The last day I was able to get two dives was as I took a late boat out. Prior to going out for the first dive I dunked my new Sony camera in the camera tub…..I think I did not latched the Camera’s underwater housing correctly…Flooded!!

I was fortunate to be able to fly in Max’s experimental ultralite as he had a patrol to do. So being a 3 time return guest (perhaps it cut me some slack) he took me up for a 30 minute flight over the reefs and Kri Island that was way Kewl! Do not expect that you will be able to do it….it is only when he is doing a patrol for the Conservation International group he flies and if he it is possible he will take you up.

Saturdays is a no dive day at Kri and Sorido so you spend your day looking at the birds, monitor lizards, walking over to Kri or you can do day trip options to see the Red Bird of Paradise. Honestly it is a great day to relax and I always get in two dives on Sunday AM before the boat departs back to Sorong.

Departing was not as bad as arriving, the water was calm and on a different boat also about 30 minutes quicker. The airport departure for Kri/Sorido guests has changed, they now take your luggage from the hotel to the airline (Lion air) and then come back to pick you up prior to the flight departing. So no longer having to sit in that wonderful Sorong lounge.

Over all with the combination of Lembeh Straits, Bangka and Raja, this was one of the best dive trips I’ve ever taken!

Arriving in Singapore from Manado for the first time (I have experienced) the passengers were escorted to a security check point. Now arriving to stay in Singapore you must go through security?..…Hmmmm. Never had that happen before but I guess it keeps us all safer. I did have time for the Crab and a Singapore sling down at the Boat Quay, cannot beat Singapore!

Singapore Airlines Rocks….on my flight from Singapore to Tokyo my movie controller did not work. I picked a movie then they manually started it from there control box. For that inconvenience they gave me a $200 shopping certificate in their duty free catalog. Great service!

I’ll start planning next years return in a few months…..Now I have a long long 2 months:smiley13: and a few days before Palau!:smiley20:

DevilDiver
12-07-2009, 11:30
When I grow up I want to be just like you........ :smiley36:

Great report!

jet126
12-07-2009, 16:43
When I grow up I want to be just like you........ :smiley36:

Great report!

Ditto what he said!

Travelnsj
12-07-2009, 16:49
Here is some pics....the tree is filled with fruit bats!

ParrotheadDiver
12-08-2009, 09:16
great report and great pics...Thanks!!!!

navyhmc
12-08-2009, 09:37
Great report! Sounds like what I would call a trip of a lifetime. I'm envious that you've done it the number of times you have. Thanks for posting...again!

samerjb
12-08-2009, 10:08
I have saved your report...I am planning to follow exactly...leaving the drenched arrival out of course :)
How can you do 17 dives in few days...What was the depth there?
Thanks for sharing...looking forward to Palau report :)

Travelnsj
12-08-2009, 19:55
I have saved your report...I am planning to follow exactly...leaving the drenched arrival out of course :)
How can you do 17 dives in few days...What was the depth there?
Thanks for sharing...looking forward to Palau report :)


Dove 6 days, 3 dives a day for 5 days and then 2 dives on Sunday. The deepest I went was about 100' at Sardines reef....had to swim like hell to get thru the current to the bottom and claw your way to the bubble. Most dives averaged 50' and I did not do Nitrox this time as the 100cc/15 liter tanks had been converted to Air and only one dive did I come within 5 minutes of Deco.