The buttons below link to details of our trip around Raja Ampat. The gallery link takes you to photos of life above and below water and 'About' includes details of how to get there as well as a reading list.

Introduction cruising diving gallery about

and here is a link to Vicky's blog

More information on the Dewi Nusantara

 

 

Coral wall

Raja Ampat is wild and remote and the diving is highly varied. Some of the sea mounts/submerged reefs have fabulous fish life including rays and barracuda but also may have strong currents. At the other extreme you can dive in inlets by the mangroves and float lazily while watching archer fish. We do a mixture of drifts, walls, coral gardens, and sea mounts. Sometimes we use reef hooks to anchor ourselves but usually you can find shelter on the reef from the worst current.

tenders

Diving is from two 7m tenders. These are a great size for up to eight divers plus guides and boatmen. Steps on the side of the boat makes access to the tenders pretty easy even in choppy water. Backwards rolls into the water and good steps to get back in the boat.

Waigeo map

A sample of dives in the Northern area (above):

Sardine Reef, Dampier Strait: a submerged reef on the north side of the Dampier Strait near Kri Island. Like most dives here we drop in up-current and drift onto the reef at 22m. Although we hit the reef where the current splits it is still pretty strong and we need to keep low to avoid being swept away. Very pretty reef with big schools of jacks, and yellow-tailed fusiliers. We switch to reef hooks and watch black tip sharks, batfish and big groupers as well as the many reef fish.

Pulau Biri, Dampier Strait: a night dive of the side of a little island. Sandy bottom with coral heads. Stingrays, hermit crabs and first sighting of the elusive epaulet 'walking' shark - a small nocturnal shark that walks on its pectoral fins and is only found in this area.

Mangrove Ridge, Gam Island: we start in the mangroves watching fishes swimming around corals before following a ridge down to around 20m and then back along the other side. Attractive hard and soft corals and a chance to spot archerfish in the shallows at the end of the dive.

Manta at Eagle RockEagle Rock, Kawe Island: another exposed dive site - this time a clump of rocks in the sea to the east of Kawe. We swim across the reef in medium strength current before settling down to watch some big reef mantas crusing around a cleaning station (right).

White Arrow, Aljui: a wall dive on the side of Aljui Bay. We drop down to 20m inspecting caves and holes in the wall. The wall itself is stunning, covered in soft coral and sea fans. Lots of small critters - pigmy seahorses, pigmy cuttlefish, the colourful Coleman shrimp on a fire sea urchin and a pigmy cuttlefish. A great dive.

My Reef, Penamu: heading south towards Misool we break the journey at Penamu, a remote cluster of islands where Sea Sanctuary have their conservation project. My Reef is a fine site, teeming with fish and very pretty hard and soft coral. We see several Wobbegong sharks under coral bommies as well as a white tip reef shark sleeping on the bottom. This site is close to Melissa's Garden, a famous dive on a reef with amazing coral. Raja Ampat pioneer Max Ammer named it after his daughter as it was so beautiful.

Misool area map

The diving in the South (above) has a different character. There is a bit less hard coral but amazingly colourful soft coral. We also have arrived with the bait fish and see big dense shoals of silversides on most dives. Here is a sample of dives from the Misool area.

Anchovy Reef, near Boo: this dive was so good we did it twice! On the surface the water was boiling from all the bait fish. We dive into the bait ball and watch six or seven devil (mobula) rays cruising through the silversides along with barracuda and big shoals of jacks. The walls and pinnacles of the reef are spectacular with soft corals and fans (along with pygmy seahorses). The top of the reef is also a mass of coral and reef fish.

Boo Windows, Boo: a famous dive site named after two windows in the reef at around 2-3m. The reef spreads out below. Stunning soft coral and sea fans. The bait fish here have attracted a shark and many barracuda. Lots of bumphead parrotfish, red coral snapper and other reef fish.

Karang Bayangan, Warakaraket: a submerged reef also known as 'magic mountain'. Reef fish in huge schools as well as really big schools of barracuda and many humphead parrotfish. We swim to the end of a ridge at around 22m and watch two oceanic mantas (one black and one white) circling just above our heads for about 10 minutes.

Three Sisters, Farondi: the last dive of the trip for us and a great one to end on. These are three connected rocks near the island of Farondi. We dive on the largest rock, well sheltered from quite strong currents. Again a very pretty wall, covered in red, pink and brown soft coral. Throughout the dive six mobula rays circle the rock and as we come up huge shoals of silverfish dart around us like heavy rain - at times they are so thick that it goes dark.

There are many other sites and none were disappointing. I did 32 dives in 10 days and could have done a few more.

Boo Window