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Misool & Triton Bay Trip Report, April 2017

Misool & Triton Bay Trip Report, April 2017
For our trip on Amira Liveaboard from Misool to Triton Bay we were joined by guests from the UK, USA, Canada and Sweden. Our first stop on the trip would be Misool in southern Raja Ampat and for three days we dived Misool’s most revered sites, including Magic Mountain, Boo Windows, The Four Kings, Batu Barracuda, Wedding Cake and Romeo. Here we found thousands of Fusiliers, Bigeye Trevally, schooling Batfish, Bluefin Trevally, Giant Trevally, Blacktip Reef Sharks, large Camouflaged Goupers, schools of Chevron Barracuda, Bumphead Parrotfish, friendly Napoleon Wrasse, Yellow Snapper, Black Snapper, Oceanic Mantas at The Four Kings and Magic Mountain, mother and baby Dolphin at Boo Windows and Wobbegongs and Walking Sharks on night dives! One group saw five Walking Sharks on a single night dive at Romeo!

Following our amazing dives at Misool we then started our journey down the Papuan coast, leaving Raja Ampat for the less explored waters that lay ahead of us. Our first stop on route to Triton Bay would be Pulau Pisang. Here we spotted an Eagle Ray, schooling Bumphead Parrotfish, Turtles, Blacktip, Grey and Whitetip Reef Sharks, hunting Barracuda, lots of Fusiliers, Leaf Scorpionfish, fantastic soft corals, and a Wobbegong perfectly nestled on top of a large cabbage coral!

Arriving at Misool, Raja Ampat (Ben Jackson)

The next day we made our way one step closer to Triton Bay as we reached Momon Waterfall. Here as well as visiting the beautiful waterfall we would try and dive a reef shown on the charts but so far not found by Amira on previous trips. Luckily on our trip we had a guide who had exact GPS coordinates for the reef. As it turned out his coordinates were perfect and it was the chart that was wrong – maybe not surprising in seas as remote as this!

As we dropped onto Momon Reef we realised we had found something incredibly special. For before our eyes lay a large reef blessed with superb visibility and fish life like we had seen nowhere else in Indonesia. Rivers of Bigeye Trevally swarmed across the reef in numbers that were hard to comprehend. They were accompanied by Surgeonfish and every now and again one of us would be engulfed by this fish river to the point where all you could see was fish streaming past your eyes. We did three dives on this reef and could easily have spent another day on it! On each dive we were also accompanied by a school of Batfish where all the fish constantly swam on their side. We also encountered a Giant Barracuda as big as a shark, Giant Trevally, Napoleon Wrasse and an Eagle Ray.

Site of ancient rock art at Triton Bay (Ben Jackson)

The next day we arrived at Triton Bay where we would spend the next few days diving the highlight sites around Aiduma Island, including Little Komodo, Batu Orembai, Seventh Heaven (aka Larry’s Dive Heaven) and Batu Jeruk. At Triton Bay we encountered a huge number of Wobbegong Sharks in every imaginable pose and sometimes sharing a home with some unlikely friends, including a huge Giant Moray Eel and a docile Pufferfish. At Batu Orembai we also had a whole dive with an Oceanic Manta! At Little Komodo a huge school of Silversides constantly pulsates around the dive site been hunted by multiple special of Trevally and Mobula Rays and its name come from the currents that make for an exciting ride! Triton though was not all about big fish thrills, it was also home to the greatest perfusion of soft coral that I’ve ever seen and an amazing number of Pygmy Seahorses – Bargibanti, Denise and Potohi species! And then there were the amorous Banded Sea Snakes – need say no more!

Triton Bay also had one special surprise for us – a dive with Whale Sharks and Dolphins under a fisherman’s floating Bagan. These semi-permanent fishing platforms are a magnet for Whale Sharks most famously in nearby Cendrawasih Bay and it seems also in Triton Bay. During our 2 hour dive (plus 1 hour snorkel!) we had four large Whale Sharks and many Dolphins providing one of the most memorable moments of the trip! Certainly everyone had big smiles after this dive! Interestingly, whilst the Whale Sharks of Cendrawasih Bay have the odd one or two Remora with them, the Whale Sharks of Triton Bay were each festooned with hundreds of Remora writhing on their underbellies!

Whilst in Triton Bay we also did several tours in the dive tenders around the limestone islands and lagoons that were incredibly spectacular, both for their lush plantation, ancient rock art, and bird life – we saw Eagles and Hornbills flying overhead! Our trip on the Amira down the Papuan coast was a real Indonesian adventure into areas very few have ever dived and at times, for example at Momon Reef and with the Whale Sharks, you could see our highly experienced dive guides were as blown away as we were which is always amazing to see! We hope to return to the Amira soon for another amazing Indonesian adventure!