It was an exciting dive in the Dampier Strait!

Saonek Village has not only a jetty but a mosque and a lot of children who love to watch the divers!

On day 8 of one of the best dive trips of my life, the Arenui Liveaboard headed into the Dampier Strait of Raja Ampat. Our dive sites were Cape Kri, Blue Magic, and Saonek Jetty. Saonek Jetty brought the biggest shock of the day! The dive site is at a jetty, just as it sounds, and it was a nice, shallow dive site. During my first dive there, I saw a Titan Triggerfish. The Titan has a bad reputation for being aggressive, and I had heard the stories of broken jaws, stitches, and broken ribs. Yikes! I have always been very respectful of the Titan, it is a meaty, muscular triggerfish. On this dive, I saw a Titan diving down, and realized it was building a nest. I didn’t go close to her, but she saw me and came after me with a vengeance! Scared me to death. I had my brand new camera in my brand new Nauticam housing, and the only thing between my face and the fish was my housing. As the fish shot toward me I pushed out at it with my housing. My thought was, great, my first trip with this gear and it is going to be broken. The Titan came after me three times, and how it did not crash into my housing dome I will never know. My dive buddy swam up afterward to make sure I was okay. Okay but a bit shaken, I admit!

A Titan Triggerfish…but not the one that came after me! I didn’t get a photo of it.

Cape Kri was an absolutely beautiful dive site, one of the most visually beautiful of the trip, both above and below. A large group of Bumphead Parrotfish were in the shallows, hanging out on our safety stop. The light was decent so I was able to take good photos of them. They are so ugly, but big and fascinating to watch!

Cape Kri
Cape Kri just before going down.
Bumphead Parrots were shoaling…an incredible, awesome sight! We all wanted to stay and watch them.

Not the prettiest fish, but they are so big, and very cool!
She looks as though her head is smushed in, but they are all like that.
So beautiful with the sunlight hitting her!
Yellow Tailed Snappers on Blue Magic

Blue Magic was a gorgeous dive site, and almost an eerie dive. The fish shoals were huge, and so still, we all knew there had to be predators around. We were rewarded with Black Tip Reef Sharks, and finding a Woebeggone Shark snoozing under a ledge. We did two dives at Blue Magic, so we also saw a variety of fish, and a couple of Giant Manta Rays!

Chevron Barracuda Shoal, truly beautiful fish.

Shoal

Black Tip Reef Sharks were hanging around the shoals. It was so still and quiet!

Two Black Tips!
Looking up.
This Male Giant Manta was a shock to see, and even more shocking is the design on its belly! Lousy photo, but awesome and original ID!
Sweetlips getting a clean
How I love featherstars! Each of these “feathers” is a separate animal!
Hello!
A Woebeggone Shark is always so exciting to see! She was probably 4 or 5 feet long…hard to tell underwater sometimes.

Cool close up. The white eyes kind of look like stars, and check out the fringe around this shark’s mouth! It truly looks like a rug!

It was a beautiful day of diving!

Lovely pregnant Giant Manta flyby!

This completely awesome trip was a Ray of Hope Expedition from Marine Megafauna Foundation with Dr Andrea Marshall.

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Tam Warner

Award Winning Travel Journalist and Blogger, writing about Eclectic Travels in the Empty Nest! From scuba to luxury cruises to kayaking to expeditions, Tam is ready to go! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

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Tam Warner

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