Science & Conservation

Our last trip was a charter by Conservation International with Mark Erdmann, Gerry Allen, Ronald(a local C.I. Employee), and Sarah Lewis(a Manta Ray specialist) on board. The planned itinerary was to Kri Island first then to Ayau Island via Eagles Rock. Several days were to be spent there. Sarah and Ronald were to research Manta Rays while Mark and Gerry searched for new fish species. From there it was to Kwatasori for tagging of whale sharks. 

 

We first sailed to Kri Island where a research meeting was held with Max Ammer then we started to depart for Eagles Rock only to anchor in front of Sorrido Bay. For the next 2 days our guests dove in the Kri area.  

 

From Kri we skipped plans for Eagles Rock and sailed directly to Ayau Island. During the 3 days there Sarah and Ronald managed to tag a baby Manta while Mark and Gerry discovered a couple possible new fish species. 

 

On the 4th day, we departed for Manokwari in late afternoon amid worsening weather conditions. Swells parallel to out intended direction made sailing difficult but we managed to struggle on until midnight when conditions got much worse. Fearing for our safety we turned South traveling in the same direction as the waves and headed toward the North Eastern tip of Waigeo. That eliminated the severe rolling that had developed and we began to feel more comfortable. 

 

We rounded the tip of Waigeo about four o'clock in the morning. 

 

Daylight finally arrived and weather conditions began to improve as we continued South towards “Blue Magic” dive site. From there we headed west along the Southern side of Waigeo then North West toward “Eagles Rock” and along the Western side of Kawe Island toward Wayag. All went well until we hit the open stretch between Kawe and Wayag where wave conditions forced us to retreat back to the “Eagles Rock” area where we could spend the night in a small bay.

 

As we approached the area we stopped, dispatched the divers, and headed toward the bay.

 

In the meantime, the guests dove in the bay and at “Eagles Rock”. While at “Eagles Rock” Mark was watching some Mantas then turned around to see a 3.5 meter(11 feet) Tiger shark swimming toward him. He went into a defensive position thinking that it might be attacking but coincidentally the speed boat above started its motor and the noise scared the shark away. 

 

Soon after we traveled along the Eastern side of Kawe then around the corner to the bay near “One Tree Rock” to dive and spend the night. The next morning we sailed to Wayag, weather was much better. After spending the day at Wayag we headed South toward “Dayang” on the Northern coast of Batanta Island. We arrived early morning, the guests dove there, and early the next morning we rounded the Western tip of Batanta and stopped for a dive in a bay along the South coast. From there we sailed along the Southern side to the South Eastern tip and anchored for the night. 

 

Early the next morning we sailed to Sorong and ended our trip with a sigh of relief. It is one trip I am happy is over with.  The trip was declared a productive success. A manta ray was tagged, two new fish species were definitely discovered, and there were several possibly new fish species found.


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