Indonesia Diving, Raja Ampat Island "The incredible reef and fish"
No doubt about it, the Raja Ampat is definitely the richest place for fish, that I have ever been. Dr G.R.Allen
" I was like a five-year-old, seeing a reef for the very first time. I was awestruck, held by the incredible power of this richest reef. We must, with all available resources, preserve the beauty of Raja Ampat. This may be the last frontier. Michael Aw
"I love the people, I love the diving, It's super!! I've never been for a second time to the same dive destination but now
I'm thinking about going back for the third time!! Should I say more?" Peter van Dalen
(Taken from www.iriandive.com)
Raja Ampat Island is the most western district of the Indonesian province of Papua. Raja Ampat consists of an area surrounding four major island off the western coast of Birds Head Panisula of New Guinea Island. The western half of which is Indonesia and the eastern half, Papua New Guinea. The province was called Irian Jaya, and its a cluster of over 1500 small Islands.
Raja Ampat is the most bio-diverse location in the world more than 3000 species of fishes and over 300 species of corals have been identified here, in a single one and half hour dive you can identified more than 282 fish species and more than 400 species. Till this very day the area is virtually unexplored and unknown due to its size. This area as there are still many remnants of WW II.
The Roughest seas and decreased visibility in the Raja Ampat area are from mid-June until the end of August. During the rest of the year, the sea is mostly very smooth whit good visibility.
Dive sites in Raja Ampat Island:
- Kri Island: Kri has several sites and Cape Kri is one of the fishiest. The fish numbers and variety are truly amazing. The site is current dependent. Generally it's a steep slope with beautiful coral growth, lots of reef and schooling fishes, including the giant Queensland Grouper.
- Sardine Reef: Sardine Reef has really giant clams at 10m (33ft) but it's all about non-stop fishes here. There's a resident school of bumphead parrotfish in the shallows, colorful soft corals and plenty of critters.
- Kaboei Bay Rock Islands: The bay is a labyrinth of rock islands. Visibility isn't great but this is a great place for macro and finding odd nudibranches, mollusks and the pictured dragonet. Bat caves and skeletons are found on some of the islands.
- The Passage: This is a drift dive through a narrow channel near Waigeo. Look for archerfish among the mangroves, orange cup corals, seahorses, and percula clownfish.
- Fam Island: Several sites near Fam have stunning coral growth. Sponges and soft corals add color and fishes keep it going. Sites include walls, sloping reefs, and muddy bays.
- Misool: Misool is awash in fish life and huge sea fans. Caverns and boulders mark several sites. The schooling fishes seem endless and pygmy seahorses live in less than 10m (33ft). Some sites are current dependent.
At a Glance Irian Diving
- Reef type: Vertical walls, Lagoon channels, caves, platform reefs, etc.
- Access: By boat from base camps.
- Visibility: Very good, 20-45 meters.
- Current: Moderate, excellent for drift diving.
- Coral: Excellent " abundant & divers.
- Fish: Variety & abundance guaranteed.
- Highlights: Snorkeling with dolphins near the Wai base camp (5m); White-tip sharks under P47B wing; finding new wrecks untouched/complete.
It is easiest to fly through to Sorong via Jakarta or via Singapore. Merpati, Pelita and Lion/Wings Airlines operate daily flights from Jakarta to Sorong (with stopovers in Ujung Pandang/Makassar and/or Manado), whereas Silk Air operates regularly from Singapore to Manado. Daily flights to and from Sorong by Airlines Merpati, Lion/Wings or Pelita.
Raja Ampat Island have several accommodations whit traditional design, and there many boat you can rent for a stay. If you using dive operator they will arrange for your base came.
Raja Ampat islands have a very diverse topography with steep mountain shores and deserted white sand beaches. Explore the land on foot. Use a boat to move from one dive site to another dive site.
There are several restaurants and cafes throughout Sorong. Try their specialties: traditional irian foods!
There are many traditional souvenirs made from wood.
You can visit gorgeous waterfalls, ancient burial sites, bat caves and stunning waterways breathtaking limestone landscapes and Manta ray spotting and bird watching.
- To enter Papua itself, you need a surat jalan (Travel Permit) which is issued by the local police. Please bring: 3 Passport Photos, 3 Copies of the photo page of your passport and 3 Copies of the passport page with the Indonesian Visa.
- Guide Book : Diving Indonesia (a guide to the world's greatest diving), Periplus Action Guide, Kal Muller.