The boat takes you on a 7-day journey through the Dampier Strait – the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity.
Starting and ending our adventure in Waisai, we dive into approximately 19 of the most spectacular sites Raja Ampat has to offer. On our way through the Dampier Strait, we explore the reefs around Kri, Mansuar, Arborek, the Fam Islands, and Yanggalo.
DAY 1 (1 dive): OFF TO NEW ADVENTURES
We meet up in front of the tourist information center in Waisai at 11 am where we will board the Epica. If you would like to be picked up in Sorong (VIP transfer), we meet you between 7.30 and 8.00 in the morning at the Je Meridien Hotel just next to the airport.
Once on board, we make sure all the necessary paperwork is in order, allocate your cabins, set up dive equipment, and brief you on the boat and dive safety procedures.
After lunch, we depart to our first dive site in central Raja Ampat. The check dive is usually at Friwen Bonda, a beautiful reef teeming with colorful fish.
DAY 2 (4 dives): ENCHANTED JETTIES
Raja Ampat is littered with tiny villages that feature rugged wooden jetties. Among the coral-encrusted pylons, you find a dazzling amount of sergeant majors, snappers, and sweetlips gently swaying in the clear water.
We start the day with a drift dive at Sardine or Chicken Reef. Both sites are seamounts with a shallow top that gently slopes down to about 30m. Schools of snappers, fusiliers, and surgeonfish provide a snack for pelagic predators such as barracuda, giant trevallies, or reef sharks.
As we slowly move towards Arborek Island, we explore the south side of PulauMensuar where two spectacular jetty dives wait for us at Yenbuba and Sawandarek. The latter is also a cleaning station for sea turtles.
A land visit at Arborek gives you a chance to meander through the picturesque village and watch a fiery sunset on the white sandy beach. We conclude the day with a night dive at Arborek jetty.
DAY 3 (3 dives): STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Whether you climb on top of a hill to admire the stunning view of Piaynemo or plunge into the depths of the underwater realm, it’s not just the destination, but also the journey that changes your perspective of the world.
For the first dive, we visit the well-known Manta Sandy, a cleaning station for reef mantas.
While enjoying our big breakfast, we cross over to the Piaynemo area where we dive into Melissa’s Garden, named after the pioneer Max Ammer’s daughter.
BatuRufas- dive site number three – is on the east side of Piaynemo and features a very photogenic submerged arch.
We conclude our day with a trip to the iconic viewpoint at Piaynemo. 341 steps lead to a platform where we can observe one of nature’s most artistic designs. The spectacular view is composed of the turquoise sea framed by jungle where a handful of karst islets jut dramatically out from the calm surface of the lagoon.
DAY 4 (3 dives): UNDERWATER EDEN
For day four, we stay in the neighborhood. Fam provides some awesome, fishy dives that simply cannot be missed.
We start our day at My Reef where we play with massive aggregations of schooling fishes like fusiliers, jacks, and snappers. The top of the seamount lies at 12m and is a popular chillout place for the tasseled wobbegong shark.
Moving on to Kerou Channel, we hope for current! The spectacular drift dive rushes us past a rich, coral-covered reef where huge sea fans hold on for dear life feeding on the current. But don’t worry – there are also some sheltered areas where we can search for pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, and other colorful reef critters.
On the north side of Piaynemo lies Barracuda Point, where we do our last dive of the day before crossing over to PulauYanggefo for the night.
DAY 5 (4 dives): FISH FRENZY
On our fifth day, we swim side by side with massive aggregations of fish gathering around completely submerged reefs. One of our favorite pastimes is watching them hunt.
A morning dive at Citrus Ridge is a sure way to put a smile on your face. Teeming with fish the reef is coated in yellow and orange soft coral creating a fresh and happy backdrop for large schools of barracudas, playful sharks, and hungry tunas.
We follow up with Mayhem where the name of the dive site says it all.
Heading back towards Arborek, we stop at Lalosi for dive number three.
For all those who have missed browsing through seagrass and sand looking for small creatures, welcome to our favorite night dive site. The muck dive at Saporkren is full of surprises. From seahorses to flamboyant cuttlefish, to swimming wobbegongs – a spectacular dive is almost guaranteed.
DAY 6 (3 dives): POSEIDON’S BOUNTY
This is the last full day to show off the biodiversity in Raja Ampat. We chose lush, healthy reefs in the Dampier Strait, that foster a large number of species. From pygmy seahorses to mantis shrimp to sharks – chances are we see them all.
Depending on the tide, we start our day at Sardine or Chicken Reef.
On the eastern tip of Pulau Kri lies the famous Cape Kri, the record holder for the most fish species found in one dive.
Our third and last dive of the day is at Mioskon, also called “Bat Island” because of its residential fruit bat population. At dusk, they fly to the bigger islands to snack on fruit and return at dawn to settle in the trees for the day.
The sunset can be enjoyed on the white sandy beach of Mioskon with a cold beer in your hand. If you’re lucky and weather permits – there will be a beach BBQ later on!
DAY 7 (1 dive): GENTLE GIANTS
The last day starts early. Really. But it’s worth it, trust us. We try to be the first to jump at Blue Magic, a cleaning station for oceanic mantas. The dive site can be a wee bit ‘current’. But while you cling to a rock and your jaw is locked tightly around your regs and you leave a horizontal stream of bubbles behind you, hundreds of schooling jacks, grey reef sharks, Spanish mackerel, and hopefully a few graceful mantas will make it all worthwhile.
Back on board, we gently prepare you for your departure. This includes a debriefing, delicious food, a group photo, and plenty of time to gather your items while pondering how your belongings ever fit in your backpack when you left home.
After lunch, we say our tearful goodbyes and drop you off at the harbor – hoping the goodbye is not forever!
If you are returning to Sorong the same day, you will be ready to board the ferry by 2 pm. The expected arrival in Sorong is 4 pm.