we flew with silk air from singapore to manado in north sulawesi on the 22nd. north sulawesi is in the northern most part of central indonesia. it is just south of the philippines in the north pacific ocean. a crew-member welcomed us at the airport (all bags arrived!) and after meeting all other guests we were transferred in an air-conditioned bus to the boat.
about the boat:
the ship was built in 1988 and is 107 feet long. there is space for 18 passengers who sleep in either “deluxe” staterooms with double and single berths, lavatory, hair dryer and private head and shower or in the “quad” stateroom with four single berths, hair dryer and private head and shower (it’s located on the upper deck).
the main salon is equipped with dvd players incl. some dvds, surround sound music and a digital projector (the captain and his brother show video or photo footage every evening) and also a desk top computer with satellite connection for e-mail.
the dive deck is spacious with a large camera table and plenty of charging ports for 110 or 220 volts. every guest has his individual dive locker with both air and nitrox tanks (extra charge). the hot water showers on the back deck with warm freshly laundry towels to dry of are very comfortable.
about the diving:
from the aggressor website:
the lembeh strait, and islands of bunaken, banka, and talisei are believed to offer the world’s most diverse marine biodiversity. the outer reefs are adorned with colorful soft corals and anthesis. north sulawesi is world-famous for its „muck“ dives, or critter dives, where small, colorful creatures dwell on sandy bottoms. despite the term „muck diving,“ visibility is very good.
we started at lembeh strait and to be honest we had no idea what to expect. our first dive was in front of a small village and everybody thought „what the hell…?“ but in the end it was really interesting and exciting. we saw a coconut octopus which is the funniest little guy we ever saw! watch the last 10 seconds of this video – it’s amazing!
unfortunately we stayed only one day in the bunaken national park and headed back to lembeh after only a couple of dives. actually we liked the sites in front of manado tua and bunaken best. not to forget the turtles at lekuan reef! the pity is that the sites in lembeh strait are full of dirt and waste of the villages, so be prepared for that.
i also had a little incident with a nemo… at the time of our visit, clownfish layed eggs on any flat surface close to or under the protection of their host anemones. the male parent guarded them and so they were very aggressive! i swam over an anemone, maybe one meter or so above, but this nemo obviously had a problem with that: he stared at my eyes and i stared back at his – like in a western, you know – but i decided to swim away. as i swam by he bit me in my upper arm! very brave of him but actually really unnecessary. :D
about the rest:
in total we really enjoyed our trip with the aggressor fleet but there were unfortunately some points which weren’t that amazing. we made a list of points that we think are important to mention:
- first sabrina and me got sick at the end of our week. we really had a bad ear infection. and also other passengers suffered a lot from ear problems at the end.
- our rooms were next to the engine room and the generator which are really noisy during the night. so if you’re used to quite silent surroundings, you will probably get some sleepless nights.
- the captain has a really special humor and you have to get used to it and especially not takeit serious or even personal. actually he’s – like the rest of the crew – a nice guy!
- the boat is actually old, for example the toilets and the showers (no hot water) in our rooms.
- the dive guides are very experienced.everyone has a smallblackboard with him and writes you the names of the fish immediatley. they know exactly where to find the smalllest, tiniest and most colorful creatures you can imagine.
- the food was also very good. the captain’s brother alan is chef on board and makes everyday a total different buffet. if you’re lucky he makes you the applestrudel he was taught by ilse!
- the local crew members played songs with the guitar at the bathing platform. they even had a special song: podo (who works in the kitchen) changed the lyrics from „hotel california“ into „hotel aggressor fleet“.
you can see all our other pictures from the week at the aggressor here.