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July 30-Aug 9, 2012 Damai I liveabaord Raja Ampat, Manakwari, and Chendreawasih Indonesia.
Click to view more of the vessel, Damai I
In the early 90's I had the good fortune to travel to Manado, North Sulawesi Indonesia to scuba dive. I made friends with the Batuna family and found a home at Murex Dive Center. I helped out with logistics, dive briefings, dive training and their liveaboard dive boats. The contacts made enabled me to spend a lot of time in Ambon and take part in the original survey dives in the Lembeh Strait before Kungungan Bay Resort was built.
Indonesia is a very special place for scuba diving and it's time to go back. A few years ago I started hearing about this boutique liveabaord that had great food, and took small groups to wonderfully rich and remote areas like Raja Ampat, Manakwari and Chendreawasih. When I checked out the boat I knew I wanted to go on it but the problem was it was sold out 2-3 years in advance. So I had kind of given up on the idea.
A few days ago I decided to contact the owner and see if there were any last minute changes that would allow me to come and possibly bring some people. I was so excited to receive an email from Alberto that a trip had just opened up July 30-Aug 9, 2012. To my added excitement the destinations were exactly the ones I wanted to visit. The trip is called D1-Limited Edition 2.
Check it out on the Damai web site here.
Raja Ampat. There are sites that are so pristine and packed with growth, that a photographer is hard-pressed to find a spot to place a steadying finger. Exotic sea life and macro critters abound of course, and photo opportunities border on overwhelming.The incredible experience of drifting along miles of exquisite reef brimming with hues and activity the likes of which few have ever experienced.
Cendrawasih. The only place on earth where whale sharks are being hand fed!! This is the largest maritime national park in Indonesia and offers great diving. The wrecks in Manokwari are the best in the Indo-pacific. The reefs in the part are virtually untouched and teaming with life. New species are being discovered every month and it is a paradise for scientists and experienced divers.
There are different styles of cabins on the boat and the price varies from $475-$575 per person per day. This is a boutique boat and everything including Nitrox, and spa treatments are included. That's right, they have a massage person on the boat. You can book direct on their web site. www.divedamai.com
This adventure is dedicated to Photographing Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales with special host Douglas J Hoffman
9 days Ha’apai / Vava’u
Sept 21st to Sept 29th, 2012
Dave and Tris Sheen, owners of Whale Discoveries have over 180,000 miles of sailing behind them and more than 28 years whale watching and swimming experience. Their goal is to provide guests an amazing experience that helps them appreciate all life in the sea and become advocates for sustaining our environment. The boat while having all the comforts travelers require will utilize solar power, and do everything possible to minimize their footprint in the environment.
Special host Douglas J Hoffman is a seasoned diver with over 10,000 hours in the water, and has been leading photography dedicated trips specializing in Humpback whales since 2005. Douglas has become one of the most sought out professional guides by photographers at every level. In addition to his experience in the water, in January of 2012 Douglas received the Master of Photography Degree from the PPA.
This expedition is limited to a maximum of 4 guests so each person will get the most out of the experience. A small group also enables us to be flexible and move with the weather conditions as well as the marine life itself.
9 days Ha’apai / Vava’u - Sept 21st to Sept 29th, 2012
Guests will fly into the Ha’apai island group in order to meet the boat in Pangai Harbour. This expedition will sail through the myriad of islands making up the Ha’apai island group, and end in the Vava’u island group allowing participants to the best of both island groups in one trip.
For the most part our days will be spent sailing around looking for cooperative whales. At night, the captain and crew will anchor at different island locations according to whale activity & weather conditions.
The Ha’apai group consists of a series of islands and seamounts that are known to be a popular area for Humpback Whales. Seldom visited by tourist boats, the whales here are often curious about people.
The Vavau island group is the most developed in terms of tourism and has a lot of whale swimming charter boats, dive operators, fishing boats, restaurants, and sailboats. The islands and town here here are picturesque and fun to visit but not of concern in terms of competition whale swimming as we intend to go to places well out of range of most day boats.
Day 1 - 3
0900 Step aboard and meet our friendly and professional staff who will introduce you to the safety and comforts of the vessel. Afterwards will be a presentation on whale photography. The tips and techniques covered will help participants get set up for the days ahead.
As we sail from Pangai, we enter the whale playgrounds of the Ha’apai islands. Dave and Tris Keen know of some islands in this area that always seem to produce wonderful Humpback whale encounters.
Day 4 25/09/2012
This day is spent sailing north we head for the Vava’u island group. During the passage we will encounter a series of sea mounts known to have large numbers Humpback whales. Whale sharks, sunfish, and billfish are amongst the marine megafauna that have also been sighted in these waters.
Day 5- 8
From Vavau, we will sail 40-50 miles further north to Toku and Fonualei. These isolated islands are where the Blue Planet got their famous humpback whale footage. False Killer whales, Pilot whales Spinner Dolphins and Oceanic White Tip sharks are just a few of the diverse marine life that have also been spotted in these waters.
We will look for whales all day while working our way south to Vavau' for our final night.
Please note that this itinerary is subject to weather and safety conditions and may be changed accordingly. This Voyage covers some 250 nautical miles and guests must be aware that there is a possibility of encountering rough ocean conditions. In the case of sustained winds of 20-25 knots or more some anchorages may not be possible, and this will alter the schedule.
All participants should be comfortable snorkeling in deep water. Trip insurance is mandatory.
9 days $5,175 AUD. Airport or hotel pick up and drop off provided.
Clients from the United states, Canada, and Europe can book with Douglas J Hoffman & Maui Photography in Hawaii. Clients from Australia can book with Whale Discoveries. Contact Douglas for information via email, at Dhimages@maui.net, phone 808 879 0260, or skype DouglasHoffman1
Domestic flights are needed.
Once in Tonga participants will need a domestic ticket to get to Ha’apai or Vavau’.
Please visit www.chathamspacific.com
See also the Kingdom Pass: www.chathamspacific.com/kingdom-pass
Trip two you will need a domestic flight schedule that takes you from Tongatapu to Ha’apai and returns from Vavau to Tongatapu.