By Tom Clavelle & Wendy Saville
As I stepped off the tender boat onto the deck of the Seven Seas anchored in Sorong Harbor, I knew Wendy and I were in for a special kind of dive trip.
For 12 relaxing days, this classic Buginese schooner served as home while we cruised the waters of Raja Ampat, treating the 12 divers and 1 snorkeler to the best scuba diving I’ve experienced in my 15 years of diving! 38 unique dive sites, loaded with tons of fish, extensive gardens of colorful soft and hard corals, turtles, lobsters, octopus, walking and wobbegong sharks, and so much more. Our dive guides, Sadat and Jefri, were masters at finding us such small creatures as the pygmy seahorse, and all those colorful nudibranchs. Who even knew they existed!
But, without question, the diving highlights of the trip for me (and I think for all) were the dives where we watched in awe as Oceanic and Mobula manta rays gracefully performed their underwater magic. I think we could have stayed down there for hours if we hadn’t run out of air. A photographer’s dream, truly breathtaking! Definitely not a trip to leave your camera at home.
Above water, our friendly and extremely attentive crew of 20, led by cruise director Karl, catered to our every need: equipment setup, helping us in and out of the tender boats, pre-dive reminders to “check, double-check”, fish identification, fresh towels, clean rooms, preparing and serving our delicious and plentiful meals, even serenading us at our farewell dinner. They clearly understand the meaning of customer service.
And no dive trip would be complete without the new friendships you make. To our new friends from Australia, France, Canada, and the U.S, it was our pleasure spending the past 13 days with you! We enjoyed sharing the diving, the laughs and the conversations, hanging out on the upper deck, even the quiet times. Who knows, it’s a small world, maybe our paths will cross again.
As we fly back to our “real” world, I am struck by the numbers: 50 hours of flying, 25,000 air miles, 450 nautical miles, 38 dives, 38+ hours under water. 1 very special trip. Can’t wait to return!
Tom Clavelle & Wendy Saville
VIDEO AND PHOTO GALLERY BY NICOLAS STAINER