Jaya takes you on a 7-day journey through the Dampier Strait – the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity.
DAY 1 (1 dive): ONCE UPON A TIME
And thus, the tale begins.
- We’ll meet you at 08.00 in the morning at the Je Meridien Hotel in Sorong, just next to the airport. A quick car ride and a ferry ride later, we’ll have reached Waisai and are ready to board the Jaya. We meet at the tourist information center in Waisai at 11 am for guests already staying in the area.
- Once on board, we ensure 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 incl. night dive): SECRET SANCTUARY
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 submerged 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 Pulau Mansuar, where two spectacular jetty dives wait for us at Yenbuba and Sawandarek village. 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 (4 dives incl. night dive): HIDDEN TREASURES
Some creatures like to show off – some prefer to seek shelter in nooks and crannies. Today we have a chance to pursue the more elusive residents of Raja Ampat. Rare Nudis, crabs, octopus, and the elusive walking sharks gather in Aljui Bay – macro photographers’ wet dream.
- 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.
- After all the excitement, we enjoy a big breakfast and move north to the Yefmo area for our 2nd dive.
- Chanel No. 5 is as lovely as its namesake, the perfume. A stunning wall with undercuts and ledges mimicking large soft coral-covered steps descends into the deep.
- We conclude our day with a night dive under the Pearl Farm Pier.
DAY 4 (3 dives): SIREN’S CALL
Off the southeastern coast of Kawe is a gathering of rocks frequented by majestic eagles (and possibly Sirens). Exposed to strong, nutrient-rich currents, it attracts the whole food chain. Swimming side by side with massive aggregations of fish, we patiently wait for the main act – the graceful oceanic mantas.
- In the hidden depths of the little rock peeking out of the surface lies a gorgeous coral garden, teeming with schools of butterflyfish, angelfish, batfish, and barracudas. Black Rock is going to be the overture of today’s symphony.
- Eagle Rock is a vast dive site and home to a manta cleaning station, where the graceful giants have their parasites removed by eager butterflyfish and moon wrasses. But this site doesn’t need to rely on mantas; it also supports some fantastic macro life like winged pipefish, several species of dragonets, and countless rare Nudis.
- Depending on weather conditions, we take another shot at Eagle Rock. If the sea is too rough, we choose alternative further south.
DAY 5 (3 dives & Piaynemo Viewpoint): HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Whether you rush through a cloud of fish or climb a stairway to a heavenly view, shortness of breath may be a side effect of today’s activities.
- 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.
- We continue our tale at Melissa’s Garden, named after the pioneer Max Ammer’s daughter.
- 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.
- 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 6 (3 dives & Beach Visit): CLASH OF THE TITANS
Majestic and elegant mantas are our declared kings and queens of the subaquatic realm. There is never a guarantee, but we do our best to increase your chances of encountering them by visiting the most frequented dive sites. We’ll also throw a variety of sharks and other aquatic predators into the mix.
- We start the day at Mayhem, where the dive site’s name says it all.
- Heading further east, we stop for an adrenaline rush. Manta Ridge is prone to powerful currents, but it is also a cleaning station for reef mantas where you have a chance to swim eye-to-eye with one of the majestic giants.
- Next on the agenda is Blue Magic, a cleaning station for oceanic mantas. The dive site can also be a wee bit’ current’. But while you cling to a rock and your jaw is locked tightly around your regs, 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.
- Now, it’s time to catch your breath and enjoy the sunset on the white sandy beach of Mioskon with a cold beer in your hand.
DAY 7 (1 dive): HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Every story comes to an end. But wait – we’re not entirely done yet.
- Did you like Blue Magic? Good, because we are diving it again. Very early in the morning.
- 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 return to Sorong on the same day, you will be ready to board the ferry by 2 pm. The expected arrival in Sorong is 4 pm.