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The Banda Sea

© 2004 by Bonnie McKenna
All Rights Reserved
Page 2

At one dive site, we were thrilled to see a Phyllodesmium longicirrum nudibranch and not a foot away was an Ardeadoris egretta nudibranch posing for us. Those of us with cameras were going nuts. Pygmy seahorses (bargibanti and denisii), pipefish, turtles, sea snakes, cuttlefish, and many, many more wonderful sights awaited us with each dive. We discovered a new dive site that I was given the honor of naming. I named it Eagle’s Nest for the large sea eagle nest atop the stony pinnacle in the lagoon. The two resident adult eagles and two fledglings must have found the area as rich as we did.

Our dive platform, the M/Y Pelagian, is a 115 foot (35 meter) steel hull world ranging motor yacht. Her appointments include 6 spacious air-conditioned cabins with toilet and shower accommodating 12 guests in comfort. Hot showers and warm towels welcome divers on return from their dives. Delicious meals are served buffet style 3 times a day with snacks provided between dives. Water, soft drinks and juices are complimentary; a moderate charge for alcoholic beverages.

The camera room is fully equipped with electrical outlets, E-6 processor, TV for viewing digital pictures and large storage areas under the workbench. As Randy and I can attest the Captain, the Dive Guides, the boat crew all take pride in giving the best service possible We were fortunate to have only a few rainy days, but no one cared, we were are going to get wet anyway. The seas, even during the rain, were calm. Water temperature was in the 80-82F range (22-24C) with occasional thermoclines of cooler water. The divers wore the range of wet suits from skins to 7mm. I wore a 1.5mm, a 3mm vest and a beanie. I was never cold.

Our next two-week trip is scheduled to depart Sorong March 21, 2005. We will be traveling along the northern coast of the western end of Papua (Irian Jaya) to dive and explore two abandoned WWII airfields (Middleburg and Sansapor), and visit the secret beaches where Loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on the full moon ( http://users.bart.nl/~edcolijn/irian.html ). We will then turn and head west to dive the northernmost islands of the Raja Empats. If you are seriously interested in this trip (currently we have only 3 more beds to fill) we would like to hear from you. Bonnie: 281-361-4492 or bonniemckenna@earthlink.net.