Raja just seems to keep serving us a buffet of incredible dives. However, it was quite clear which dive site was the favorite as the guests aboard Mermaid II kept asking for more, more, more! Airborek Jetty, it is truly a wide angle and macro paradise.
Airborek is a small inhabited island that sits smack dab in the middle of the Dampeir straight (pelagic paradise). The Airborek jetty, which is also the dive site, is not only a thoroughfare for passing mantas, but it’s also a haven for those famous benthic critters. Many unusual species like blue ring octopus, various species of frog fish and as many nudibranches as you want live just below purple soft coral encrusted pilings.
On this day in particular we felt exceptionally lucky as just after descending to the reef below, mantas started passing us. Just as one manta would dissipate into the blue water, another would emerge from where the previous manta had gone. The intervals between manta passings were occupied by scouring the reef and jetty pilings for those crazy and much sought after critters. We were exceptionally lucky as we stumbled upon multiple blue ringed octopus as well as several ghost pipe fish. If you weren’t one for the macro stuff, all you had to do was look to the jetty where a school of big-eyed jacks, adollescent batfish, and juvenile scads swirled around the jetty pilings forming glistening figure eights.
As is the dive wasn’t enough, more mantas circled Mermaid II as they fed on the plankton rich water. Not wanting to miss out on an epic snorkel with mantas, we all jumped back into the water for another thirty minutes and watched the acrobatics of the majestic rays as they syphoned up their food!
Mermaid II, Raja Ampat Dive Cruise
January 18-26, 2018