Raja Ampat Liveaboard: The Best Diving Destination in the World
What a scuba diver prefers the most for his diving destination? The answer is that he is searching for a versatile place stuffed with natural unexplored beauty. Also most importantly the thing that a scuba diver desires the most is a calm, quiet, peaceful, mind refreshing, and soul recreating Liveaboard destination; a destination that pulls you smoothly out of this hectic and stressful world into a peaceful and life refreshing world. Raja Ampat is on the top of liveaboard destinations like this. What makes Raja Ampat famous for scuba diving? What are the things that you should explore there? How to plan for your trip to Raja Ampat? What time of the year is best to visit? All of your queries will be answered in the following article. So hold your snack and start reading!
Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat:
As I have stated that what are the things that a scuba diver wants for his next dive destination. The most important of them are quietness, serenity, and calmness of the environment there. Also, a scuba diver is looking for a diverse scale of things that he/she could do while there. Raja Ampat provides a scuba diver with all of these recreational opportunities. So, things like warm waters, manta rays, sharks, macro, huge schools of fish, drift dives, and many more make Raja Ampat one of the best dive destinations in the world. It provides a diver every single opportunity that he ever wants to avail in a single location.
Best Dive Locations for Scuba lovers in Raja Ampat:
Here are given the best dive sites in Raja Ampat for scuba lovers:
- Cape Kri:
Cape Kri holds the world record for the site with the largest number of species referenced in one single dive! The crossroads of different currents at the tip of the island of Kri has created a versatile variety of fauna and flora – all kinds of sharks, hundreds of schools of fish, captivating coral diversity. In fact everything is there! Sometimes, it’s enough to just dive down, cling to a rock, and enjoy the show! You never ever return disappointed from a dive at Cape Kri!! You never want to come back from Cape Kri.
- Arborek Jetty:
Arborek Jetty is world-famous for thousands of fish that surround you with every single move! You will feel like you are in animated Disney world and some kind of magic is being performed on your skin when thousands of fish touch you. This place is really a heaven on Earth. Freediving would be more adventurous here rather than diving. The jetty itself starts at around 2m and goes down to around 10, so free diving and snorkeling actually give you a better experience. You cannot come to Raja and miss such a great place.
Mioskun is a dive site mainly designated for beginners. Currents are usually low and beginners who had the intermediate experience can easily explore the area but currents can also get high. . It is widely known for Coral Reef columns that dive down to 25 meters! These create a yellow melody for visitors. An interesting fact to notice is that if you dive down a little further you may encounter Wobbegong sharks. There are also seahorses, fusiliers, trevallies, groupers, giant clams, morays, and much more.
- Blue Magic:
Blue Magic is a dive spot that is often dived along with Mioskun. Most of the interesting things that you come across will be seen between 7 to 30 meters because of an underwater pinnacle. You can expect to find all sorts of different fish species and several cleaning stations, big schools of fish and larger predator fish, sharks and manta rays in season are also common sittings. Pygmy Seahorses are also swarming on this Central Raja Ampat dive site.
- Sardine Reef:
Sardine Reef is a very large underwater oval-shaped pinnacle, which is about 200m long, with a reef top at around 5m and gently sloping sides down to the vast sandy seabed at about 25m. Currents split into two channels over the top of the pinnacle; one coming from North and the other coming from South. You can expect to see large schools of fusiliers, sardines, damsels, bannerfish, butterflyfish, sweet lips, and snappers frequent the site, triggerfish, and predators such as barracuda, Spanish mackerel, Jacks, and giant trevallies can be seen as well. Most of the interesting and unique features of Sardine Reef are black-tipped reef sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, and even grey reef sharks.
- Melissa’s Garden:
In Mioskun you might encounter a wobbegong shark. But if you are really searching for Wobbegong sharks then Melissa’s Garden is the right place for you. This place is located in the Jet Fam Islands, a group of islets and limestone islands on the west of Batanta Island which is considered to be among the best diving spots in Raja Ampat and the place to see the peculiar and mind-blowing wobbegong as well as Manta rays, great barracuda and maroon clownfish hiding inside the anemones. Only an unlucky person would miss such a dive spot if they visit Raja Ampat.
- Keruo channel:
The Keruo channel is surrounded by towering sheer cliffs up each side. This makes a spectacular view for tourists and scuba divers there. The dive site is located along the western wall of the channel, and can be either started from the north or the south depending on which way the current is flowing. The dive site is a spectacular wall covered in colorful sponges and nudibranchs. The bottom is at 35m but stays at 25m and drifts along with the mild current as the tender follows you from above. This is another site that ends with a sheltered shallow reef. And this is a great place for photography and capturing mesmerizing beauty of Raja Ampat and capturing wonderful memories. Also, Keruo Channel is great for some reflection photos with the trickling lighting.
Liveaboard/Shore Diving, which is best?
It’s a difficult choice for divers either to Liveaboard or spent vacations as shore diving and living in a resort. So if you ask for Raja Ampat, surely Liveaboard ((a boat you live and dive on for the duration of your stay and get as many dives as possible) is the best option to enjoy your trip but it costs too much. Therefore if you are low on budget and you want to enjoy diving you can also go shore diving.
Adventures in Raja Ampat other than Diving:
Here is a list of sites that you must visit whilst your stay in Raja Ampat apart from diving:
The most popular thing to do in Raja Ampat is Pianemo lookout point. To get to Pianemo you can actually combine in one of your dive days and it is only accessible by boat – make sure you ask your dive operator to take you there.
With a population of only 197, the village of Arborek is fast rising as a pioneer among the 18 beautiful villages in West Papua that have embarked on developing local regulations for community-based marine conservation. Home to the Arborek jetty – where the locals proudly protect the fish and the jetty, you would think that is its main attraction, however, we quickly found it was the locals themselves. Walking around the village talking and taking selfies with the islanders was a blast.
How to get to Raja Ampat?
Now, this is the tough bit! It’s HARD to get to Raja Ampat and long. But, it is worth it, and it separates the real divers from the novice ones! Want to dive Raja Ampat? So how can I get there?
Wherever you fly from you have to get into Sorong, the closest Indonesian city in West Papua and the gateway to Raja Ampat.
From Sorong, you then need to get to Sorong harbor. You can take a taxi from the airport to the harbor which will take about 20 minutes and wouldn’t cost much. If you don’t have much luggage, you can try catching an ojek (Indonesian name for motorbike) for about at a very low price.
Take a ferry to Waisai:
Raja Ampat has four main islands: Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. Waigeo is the main island and the one where most of the guest houses and hotels are.
What to bring for scuba diving in Raja Ampat?
Diving in Raja Ampat isn’t always easy; there are unpredictable currents, so you must never dive without a DSMB/SMB. Other equipment to consider bringing:
- An underwater camera!!
- Torch/Flashlight for night dives.
- A reef hook for strong currents (please hook only to rocks).