Raja Ampat Diving Sites
Dive Sites of West Papua Province
Raja Ampat in Indonesian Papua is not one of the most visited diving areas in the world which is strange since almost everyone who knows anything about the area agrees that there can surely be nowhere better on earth. Boasting the highest marine diversity on the planet, beautiful topside scenery and awesome underwater topography, diving Raja Ampat is as close as you can get to an underwater heaven.
To stand on the bow of your liveaboard boat as it cuts through the clear water towards verdant islands, inhabited by people whose lives are so different to your own, really creates that frontier diving kind of feeling.
Not many Indonesia liveaboards cover the Raja Ampat scuba diving sites around West Papua making the exploration of this fabulous area even more special. Some of the highlights include the innumerable war wrecks, both ships and planes (with new wrecks being discovered constantly), encounters with dolphins, and the simplicity of drifting effortlessly over some of the most pristine and fascinating coral scenes imaginable.
Everyone has their own special spots but no liveaboard trip would be complete without checking out Cape Kri. If you want lots of big stuff and to be enveloped by fish then roll in here and both desires will soon be sated. Meaty Queensland groupers, sharks, snappers, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, dogtooth tuna, trevallies, you name it ... They are all here and they are all here in numbers.
By contrast Misool Island, in the southern section of the Raja Ampat islands, is all about investigation through the holes and tunnels where lie all manner of macro wonders. No swirling schools here but rather soft corals galore and critters by the bucketful such as sea horses and ghost pipefish. Great by day, unbelievable by night.
Fabiacet is another dive site that you won't want to come up from. The 4 islets are home to large groupers and large schools of a variety of snapper species. You'll be dazzled by the schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish, overwhelmed by the masses of triggerfish and bannerfish, and in awe of the numerous Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, turtles and occassional great hammerhead.
The Jef Fam Group is in central region so it's quite likely that you'll visit it whether you are joining a southern or northern cruise route. It's quite a large area and worth several dives. What makes Jef Fam special is its diversity of marine encounters. At the larger sized end of the animal spectrum, this dive site is the best place to find wobbegongs. You can also see huge giant clams, Spanish mackerel, great barracuda and manta rays. At the smaller end of the scale, Jef Fam hosts pygmy seahorses, mimic octopus, crabs and shrimps of every shape and size, and spine-cheek anemonefish.
When your small group stops at a site where there are no other divers you will feel like a pioneer slipping into waters that you feel you are the first to dive. Amazing quantities of fish as well as beautiful topside topography and critters in their millions, your memories of diving in Raja Ampat will stay with you forever.
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Raja Ampat is simply superb for diving just about all year round. The term High Season is of little meaning here since there is such an expanse of sea visited by only a few liveaboards that "diver soup" is not really a danger. May to September is light rainy season, and Mid-July to mid-September sees some small surface swells, but not usually serious enough to interfere with your enjoyment.
Great for: Reef life and health, large animals, small animals, underwater photography, advanced divers
Not so great for: Non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience Level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: Unknown but >200
Distance: ~1,200 km north east of West Timor (60 hours)
Access: Liveaboard cruises from West Timor or West Papua
Recommended length of stay: 10 - 16 days
Dive The World Indonesia's Recommendations: Fabiacet, Farondi Island, Misool and Manta Ridge.
Other sites that can be visited on a liveaboard cruise through Raja Ampat:
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