Irian Jaya Diving - Raja Ampat Sites

Dive Sites of West Papua Province

Located off the northwest tip of Bird's Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, 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 and Waigeo. It is a part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya.

Schooling Black Snappers - West Papua Province

Put simply, Raja Ampat diving is the bees knees in the world of scuba. If you don't enjoy your dives here, you may as well sell your dive gear! According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin and their more recent 2006 scientific surveys, the marine life diversity for scuba diving in Irian Jaya is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the coral triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea - the cream of the cream in world diving.

Over 1,200 fish species - a world record 284 on one single dive at Kofiau Island, the benchmark figure for an excellent dive site of 200 fish species surpassed on 51% of Raja Ampat dives (another world record), 600 coral species (a remarkable 97% of all scleratinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands), 699 mollusc species - again another world high.

The term "Frontier Diving" seems to have been invented for Raja Ampat in Irian Jaya. To visit these waters is to feel at the edge of the earth. To gaze over crystalline seas at the beehive-shaped, largely uninhabited islands is to be as far away from it all as you can imagine. At most places on the sea in Asia, the night sky is lit up like Piccadilly Circus by fishing boats. At night time in Misool you can peer out at the horizon and maybe see one or two distant specks of light.

Not many Indonesia liveaboards cover the Raja Ampat scuba diving sites around Irian Jaya 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, Misool Island and the simplicity of drifting effortlessly over some of the most pristine and fascinating coral scenes imaginable.

To dive in Irian Jaya is mostly drift dives due to the moderate currents prevalent in the area, which provide nutrients for the myriad fish and coral. The variety of marine life can be staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs. In Mansuar, it's highly likely you'll encounter large groups of manta rays and turtles. From the boat and often close to shore you may get the chance to don your snorkelling gear for some unforgettable interaction with resident pods of dolphins or even some passing whales.

Due to these currents and the number of wrecks, Irian Jaya is not really considered a destination for absolute beginners, rather for divers with a few dives under their weightbelts looking to get away from the crowds. Visibility is normally very good but can vary and is normally at its best earlier in the day so your pre-breakfast dives are not to be slept through!


Diving Season

Raja Ampat diving is superb 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.

Reef Basics

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: Raja Ampat liveaboard cruises from West Timor or Irian Jaya
Recommended length of stay: 10 - 16 days

resources :

www.divetheworldindonesia.com

www.honusports.com

3 comments:

Juandy said...

WHAT A PARADISE... :)
Can't wait to dive....
Please post some more Indonesian Diving Spots

http://original-indonesian-recipe.blogspot.com
http://chinese-tales.blogspot.com
http://natural-colostrum.blogspot.com

Annie said...

I am fond of scuba diving.Really nice posting , I will keep visiting your blog for next update. Diving Indonesia

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