Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau. The Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Raja Ampat is the place where coral species reach 75% of all known species and fish nearly 1,300 species. Raja Ampat is also a paradise for bird watchers. The Raja Ampat islands are a truly natural phenomenon with enormous biological diversity.
On this trip we are cruising with a southwest course to Misool, one of the major Islands of Raja Ampat and later we will set the course north – to Fam Islands and the west coast of Waigeo.
Our way back with the southeast course leads us to the very small Island Arborek and We continue to Mansuar Island and Kri Island. After crossing the Dampier Strait, return the course to Sorong.
Your flight will arrive in Sorong, a coastal city in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua. Sorong is the gateway to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands.
If possible we offer 3-4 dives daily. When crossing only 1-2 dives a day can be scheduled.
We reserve the right to change the itinerary or specific agreed services, if force majeure, unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances require us to do so.
POSSIBLE DIVE SITE:
Sorong is a coastal city in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua. Its only land borders are with Sorong Regency. It is the gateway to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands, species-rich Coral reef islands in an area considered the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity. It also is the logistics hub for Indonesia’s thriving eastern oil and gas frontier. Sorong has experienced exponential growth since 2010.
Misool formerly spelled Mysol (Dutch: Misoöl), is one of the four major islands in the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua. The inhabitants speak the Biga language and Matbat language, as well as Indonesian.
Balbulol, Tomolol: In Tomolol, you’ll be amazed by the caves in the area, where you can see paintings of huge human palms and animals which were painted by ancient cave dwellers.
Fam Islands/Penemu: These islands are the very definition of paradise. White limestone cliffs plunge into the sea. Ultramarine blue lagoons are nestled next to monumental pinnacles and untouched beaches. There are many places that claim to be this beautiful, but this is a genuine article. Fam Island has some of the most beautiful coral gardens and walls in Raja Ampat, combined with stunning viewpoints on land.
With a little luck, we can see the walking shark here. Yes, you can read it right now. The incredible epaulette shark is not only a perfect swimmer, but it can also “walk” between coral heads at low tide, along the seafloor, and even on land when needed. For that reason, it is often called the “walking shark.”
Piaynemo is the correct local spelling of the name of the island marked on most maps of Raja Ampat as “Penemu”. Penemu is about 60km (~40 miles) west of Waisai and has a karst island seascape almost indistinguishable from that of Wayag.
Arborek Island: The island, which gets its name from a type of fruit that grows on it, is located at the western end of the Strait where it enters the Halmahera Sea.
It is a long thin island that runs east to west, with a large fringing reef and it sits right in the path of the Dampier Straits currents which split around the island at its eastern point and flow strongly around its sides.
On the northern side of the island are two quite large wooden jetties just in front of the small village, and the rich waters of the Strait swirl around them creating a mini-ecosystem on the wooden structures.
Rich patches of vibrant soft corals have grown on the vertical piles of the jetty and resident schools of jacks and batfish patrol in between.
Dampier Strait: Physically the Strait is the large passage of water between the islands of Gam & Waigeo in the north and Batanta in the south, which takes its name from the English explorer-adventurer William Dampier who first charted the area in the 17th century.
The Strait is the principal channel through which the nutrient-rich waters of the Indonesian Throughflow pass through on their way south and the deep basins of the Banda Sea.
What that physically means is that the huge volume of water that is heading south through the Strait is forced into a smaller area and when that happens there is only one possible result – the water flows much faster producing possible strong currents the Dampier Strait is known for.
Mioskon: This small island is located on the northern side of the Dampier Strait. A superb site with numerous bommies densely coated in soft corals. The island is oval-shaped and rises up from the surrounding sandy seabed plateau at 20-25m and its southeast tip faces into the predominant current that flows through the Strait. The shallow plateau reef is a good chance to spot large wobbegong sharks.
Mansuar & Kri Island: This site is where a world record fish count was made on the house reef. 284 species recorded on a single tank dive of 60 minutes, by Australian Dr. Gerry Allen.
There are numerous reefs here where not just the diversity is evident, but also the quantities are surprising. Sharks are seen on most dives, a rarity in Indonesia. Kri island in Raja Ampat is where the fishes are to be found. Diving these sites is a sensational and very rewarding experience!
On the final day of diving – our trip ends at the port of Sorong.
Check-out after breakfast or lunchtime – depends on your flight time. We say goodbye to our guests and wish them farewell. The MARI crew will organize the transfer to the Airport and assist at check-in for onward flights.
Marine Life: At least 75 percent of all coral species can be found in Raja Ampat, divers can expect a range of topography from soft corals and sea fans, to hard corals, seagrass beds, mangroves, shallow reefs, deep drop-offs, caves, black sand, and white sand. Giant manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, cuttlefish, pipefish, various seahorse species, and massive schools of reef fish are the norm, plus the delightful wobbegong sharks and epaulet sharks inhabit these waters too.
The last dive will be on the penultimate day of the trip at around 10:45 am. Divers are recommended to wait for 24 hours before flying after the last dive.