Raja ampat diving
The area known as Raja Ampat (or the Four Kings) is an archipelago consisting of the islands of Misoool, Salawati, Batanta, and Wiageo which are surrounded by over 1,500 small islands and cays. Formerly known as Irian Jaya, this area is now part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia and is located on the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula, on the island of New Guinea.
Put simply, Raja Ampat could quite possibly be the best diving in the world. It certainly is the world’s most biodiverse marine region with more recorded fish, coral and mollusk species than anywhere else on Earth.
According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin the marine life diversity for diving in Irian Jaya is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle. The Raja Ampat area is considered home to more than 1,000 fish species, 101 of which were previously unknown in Raja Ampat and four that are new to all of Indonesia. The variety of marine life can be staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs. In Mansuar, you may encounter large groups of manta rays and turtles. From the boat and often close to shore you may get the chance to don your snorkeling gear for some unforgettable interaction with resident pods of dolphins or even some passing whales.
Other highlights include the innumerable war wrecks, both ships and planes (with new wrecks being discovered constantly). The reefs of Raja Ampat are just as varied as the marine life. There are vertical walls, reef flats, slopes, sea mounts, mucky mangroves, lagoons and pinnacles. The reefs are in pristine condition with miles of perfect hard corals and many varied colorful species of soft corals. The diving is predominantly drift dives due to the moderate prevalent currents in the area which provide nutrients for the myriad fish and coral. Currents are average to moderate and vary from none to very strong. Visibility is normally very good but can vary and is normally at its best earlier in theday so your pre-breakfast dives are not to be slept through!
The pristine beauty of the area, both above and below the water is truly unrivalled. This success of area’s staggering abundance of marine life can also be attributed to the areas incredibly low human population density. Its remote location and lack of infrastructure have inhibited the growth of tourism.
The area’s massive coral colonies along with relatively high sea surface temperatures, also suggest that its reefs may be relatively resistant to threats like coral bleaching and coral disease, which now jeopardize the survival of other coral ecosystems around the world. The Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed by humans.
The high marine diversity in Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by its position between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as coral and fish larvae are more easily shared between the two oceans. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience, and role as a source for larval dispersal make it a global priority for marine protection and hence why it is now a protected marine sanctuary.
Not many liveaboards dive the Raja Ampat area, making this adventure even more unique and special.
Sorong is the harbour town in West Papua and the departure point to dive Raja Ampat. If you are unsure of how to get to Sorong to start your trip it will depend on where your international flight into Indonesia is landing.
It is not possible for someone outside of Indonesia to purchase domestic flights in Indonesia so these can be purchased for you by me, if you would like, and added to your invoice. It will be about $600 return dependant on exchange rates, availability and where your entry airport is in Indonesia. We recommend coming through Jakarta as the quickest and easiest route to take. The cost of the domestic flights are not included in the trip price.
We recommend coming through Jakarta as it is the easiest and fastest route.
From Jakarta it is possible to reach Sorong in one day.
|Jakarta (CGK)||Sorong (SOQ)||Day of departure||01:10||07.20|
The return trip from Sorong to Jakarta
|Sorong (SOQ||Jakarta (CGK)||Day of disembarkation||10:40||12:40|
If you come from Bali to Sorong it is a 2 stage process, from Bali (DPS) to Makassar (UPG) and from Makassar (UPG) to Sorong (SOQ), there would be a night in a hotel in Makassar on the way out (Ujung Pandang and Makassar are the same place and the half way point to Sorong). We recommend the Imperial Aryaduta in Makassar- http://www.aryaduta.com/hotels_home_makassar.php
These would be your flights from Bali to Sorong.
|Bali (DPS)||Makassar (UPG)||Day before departure||18.30||19.50|
|Makassar (UPG||Sorong (SOQ)||Day of departure||10:00||13:10|
The return trip from Sorong to Denpasar (Bali) is done in one day using 2 flights - SOQ-UPG and UPG-DPS
|Sorong (SOQ||Makassar (UPG)||Day of disembarkation||11:40||12:55|
|Makassar (UPG)||Bali (DPS)||Day of disembarkation||16:30||17:50|
Domestic Air Carrier Notes:
It is generally not possible for someone outside of Indonesia to purchase domestic flights in Indonesia so these can be purchased for you by Premier Liveaboard diving and added to your invoice. It will be $600 return normally dependant on where your entry airport is in Indonesia.
Premier liveaboard diving and its local flight agent can purchase the tickets on your behalf, however, in doing so, Premier liveaboard diving is only acting as an agent for the airline and is not responsible for, and can accept no responsibility for, cancellations, delays, schedule changes, or problems caused by the air carrier.
We highly recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance.
Raja Ampat has a high season from October to May and weirdly enough it is during their rainy season due to the winds in the dry season making parts of the park inaccessable. The rainy season should not be mis-construed though. It is generally mostly a shower in the late afternoon and evening and most of the time the days are nice, wind is minimal and the skys are generally clear or slightly over cast. The seas are calmer at this time of the year as the oppposite season has winds that kick up waves and make it very difficult to dive the more exposed sites in the Southern part of Raja Ampat. The water temperature stays around the 27-30 degrees celcius mark all year round.
Recently due to the popularity of Raja Ampat a lot of boats have been running trips in the so called low season but this is also the dry season and so promotes nicer weather and better visibility but the trade of is that only the northern more sheltered part of the park is accessable but as the area is so vast and there are so many quality dive sites the reports from these northern trips have been glowing so far.