- Where is Raja Ampat?
- How do I joined an expedition?
- How long can I spend on an expedition?
- When can I go on an expedition?
- How much does it cost, and what is included?
- Where does the money I pay for an expedition go?
- Do I need any extra spending money?
PROJECT - FAQ's
- How do I get to the project site in Raja Ampat?
- Do I need a visa to enter Indonesia?
- What kind of insurance do I need?
- Do I need vaccinations?
- What is the weather like in Raja Ampat?
- Can I be contacted while in Raja Ampat?
- What does the science training involve?
- What tests will I have to take?
- What community work will I be doing?
- Can I leave the project site, or leave the expedition early?
- If I cancel will I lose my money?
DIVING - FAQ's
- Do I need any diving experience before joining?
- What diving equipment do I need to bring?
- Do I need diving insurance?
- How safe is the diving?
- What if I have diving qualifications other than PADI?
- What is the diving schedule?
- Can I do extra dive courses?
Where is Raja Ampat
How do I join an expedition
Simply drop us a call or email, which you can find on the "contact us" page, and one of our helpful trip adviser's will guide you through what you need to do to reserve your place on the project.
How long can I spend on an expedition
We recommend a minimum of 4-6 weeks to really get the most out of your experience. The scuba diving and science training normally takes between 2-3 weeks, so it is not until the 4th week that you really get your teeth into the survey diving and community work. However, we understand that not everyone can come for this amount of time due to work commitments or other. So we have devised a shorter program for those who are already qualified divers and only have 2-3 weeks available. These places on the project are limited, so make sure you book early. Volunteers can also extend their stay while on the project from week to week. The longer you stay the cheaper it becomes!
Due to logistical reasons the start dates for the projects are set through out the year. We provide scuba diving and science training with in the first 3 weeks, for which all long-term volunteers need to be present. However, if you would like to attend our 2-3 week special shortened program these dates are a little more flexible. Please contact one of our helpful trip advisers for more details. For all expedition dates please see our "costs & dates" page.
How much does it cost and whats included
Please see our "costs & dates" page for the exact details on how much it costs to join an expedition and what is/is not included in the expedition fee.
Where does the money I pay for the expedition go
The majority of the money you paid, will go to the day to day running of the project you are on, accommodation, food, fuel, local staff wages and so on. A proportion of it will also go to the community projects you're involved in while on the expedition. So your money may help buy new school books for the local children, building materials for the new community center or dental hygiene products for the kids dental hygiene project.
At Barefoot Conservation we are a true believer in transparency. We want you to know that your money is going directly to the people that need it and that you really are making a difference.
Do I need any extra spending money
While all necessities are provided in the price of the expedition, there are opportunities to purchase the odd luxury like a cold beer or coke to help watch the amazing sunset. The local village also has a small shop where you can buy other goodies like sweets.You may also decide you wish to undertake further scuba diving courses, such as Rescue Diver and Dive Master. Please see the "costs & dates" page for further details on these courses.
PROJECT - FAQ's
How do I get to the project site in Raja Ampat
The best way to get to Raja Ampat is from Jakarta the capital of Indonesia. Once you have taken your international flight to Jakarta, you will need to take an internal domestic flight to Sorong in West Papua. This is the closest airport to Raja Ampat and operators that fly there are: Lion Air , AirAsia, Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air and Garuda Air. (all have stopovers in either Makassar, Ambon or Manado, except Batik Air and AirAsia which are direct flight)
Volunteers MUST be in Sorong of the morning of there expedition start date, though we recommend you arrive the day before. The meeting point on the start date of your expedition is the Le Meridien Hotel opposite the airport. The ferry to Waisai the capital of Raja Ampat leaves Sorong at 9am . A Barefoot staff member or representative will collect you at 8am from the lobby of the Le Meridien hotel and take you to the ferry, with takes approx 2 hours to get to Waisai. Our boat will meet you on arrival in Waisai and take you on the final 60 minute boat ride to your home for the duration of your expedition.
Barefoot Conservation can help you with all internal flight bookings, and advise on international flights. Please do not hesitate to contact us when booking both international and domestic flights.
Yes. Most nationalities will need a Visa when entering Indonesia. Please note in most cases a Visa On Arrival (VOA) can be obtained at the airport for US$35 (approximately £25, $50 AUD) or can be purchased in your home country before departure. The VOA is for a total duration of 30 days only and can only be extended once in country, for another 30 days (approximate cost US$60 or £40). If you are joining an expedition for more than 30 days we recommend you purchase a 60 day tourist visa or 60 day social visa from the Indonesian embassy in your country. Please contact one of our helpful trip advisers before applying for this visa, as we can provide you with all necessary forms and information to process the application.
*Please note there is now a FREE 30 day visa on arrival option for most countries. This visa however can NOT be extended when in Indonesia. Please check you local Indonesian embassy to see if your country is on the list.
What kind of insurance do I need
You will need both scuba diving and travel insurance that covers you for the duration of your expedition and for scuba diving up to 30 meters. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE SCUBA DIVING INSURANCE YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE EXPEDITION.
We strongly recommend you use Divers Alert Network (DAN) for your insurance as they are by far the best and most reasonably priced. Please visit www.diversalertnetwork.org for further details.
Do I need any vaccinations
It is important that you consult with your local physician 4-8 weeks before joining the expedition. This is so you can get up to date information on vaccinations and general health concerns when travelling to East Indonesia. In general you will need to make sure the following vaccinations are up to date: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies and Tetanus-Diphtheria.
While the site does not generally have a major issue with mosquito's (due to the beach front location and cool breeze), we still recommend you take precautions against Malaria. However we do not recommend you take Lariam (mefloquine) tablets as these can have side effects that could be mistaken for Decompression Sickness.
In all cases please consult your local physician for up to date medication advice.
What is the weather like in Raja Ampat
The temperature is around 27-30°C all year round. Generally the coastal regions are hot and muggy, but the project site has a nice cool breeze on one side and is protected on the other. The most rain falls around September, however most spells are short and never for more than a few days at a time.
Can I be contacted whilst in Raja Ampat
One of the beauties of Raja Ampat and our project site is the remoteness and the feeling of getting away from it all. However there is one local mobile phone operator that does have coverage in the region. At present only Telkomsel has reception in our area, so if you really do want to be contacted it is possible to purchase Telkomsel SIM cards and use them in your mobile phones while on site.
There is 3G/4G internet access at the basecamp via smart phones. Volunteers have been able to access emails, Skype, Whatsapp, BBM, and even book flights and do online banking, through their smart phones and Waisai now has 3G/4G. Please remember how remote the island is, and that patience is needed when trying to get online.
No mobile phones are permitted during Scuba/Science lectures or while attending any community projects.
Whats does the science training involve
The science team at Barefoot Conservation has put together a detailed science program for you to undertake. You will learn key fish families/species, corals, invertebrate and plant life. Our science team will teach you how to identify these, first through classroom presentations and then through in-water spot dives. Following these presentations/dives there will be tests (both classroom and in-water) on each of the above sections.
You will also learn all about Manta Rays and how to monitor them, thanks to our Manta Ray Research Programme.
There will also be advanced science presentations on various subjects for those who wish to attend.
What tests will I have to take
We make your safety our top priority, so for these reasons you will need to pass the scuba diving tests for PADI Open Water and Advance Open Water before we let you go on survey dives.
It is also very important that the data you collect from these survey dives is accurate. This data will be used to show the health of the reef to local government, project partners and the local community. It will also be used to suggest best practices for the community and government, to maintain a healthy coral reef and ecosystem for the future. Therefore you must also pass the relevant science tests to ensure you have the knowledge and skills to collect accurate data.
There will be in-water tests as well as class room ones, on identifying fish families/species, Corals, Inverts and Plant Life.
What community work will I do
At Barefoot Conservation we put a lot of focus on working with the community and making them a big part of our work; after all we are only visitors in their home.
Our Community Manager, together with the Community Officer, will work with the local government and community to discuss, create and manage suitable community projects. These are projects where all parties feel your help and money is needed the most. These projects could range from providing clean water, renewable energy, waste management, English lessons and providing medical healthcare/treatments.
You will be involved in providing education to all local communities, about the importance of sustainable non-destructive fishing techniques.
Other major projects you will be involved in are, encouraging entrepreneurship and educating/preparing the communities for ecotourism and globalisation.
Can I leave the project site, or leave early
Due to safety and logistical reasons it is not possible for you to come and go from the site when you please. However, there may be opportunity to go to the capital Waisai on Wednesdays (60 minutes by boat) should a member of staff need to go there. We understand that, when on a remote expedition some mild cabin fever can set in. So, when possible, the expedition staff will try to arrange trips to the capital or off site to other locations.
If you decide you no longer wish to stay on the project and leave early, please refer to our cancellation policy in our terms and conditions, for more information on this.
If I cancel will I lose all my money
Barefoot Conservation asks for an up front £100 deposit which is non-refundable in all circumstances. It is also very important that you read and sign the Booking Conditions when you pay your deposit. This will guarantee you a place on the expedition. Volunteers who cancel 30 days or less before the start of the project will not be refunded at all. Volunteers who cancel before this date will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but in some circumstances it may be possible to re-book for another date/expedition. In the unlikely event that you are not able to attend an expedition and you have already paid your balance, your travel insurance company should be able to offer you a refund. Please check your policy for more details.
DIVING - FAQ's
Do I need any diving experience
No previous experience is needed. Dive courses are conducted in the first week of your expedition. You can also take additional PADI dive courses like Rescue and Divemaster whilst on the project. Please see our "costs & dates" page for more details on additional courses.
What diving equipment do I need to bring
If you are joining our expedition as a non-diver, your expedition fee will include FREE rental of a BCD and Regulator for the duration of your open water course training. Other equipment you must bring is: mask, snorkel, wetsuit, fins, dive boots, dive slate and dive computer. It is however possible to rent some of these items on site, if you do not wish to carry them while on further travels. Please see our "costs & dates" page for further details, or contact one of our helpful trip advisers.
For volunteers who are already qualified divers, we will provide tank, weights and weight belt as part of your expedition fee. You will need to provide all other equipment, however it is possible for you to rent your BCD & Regulator, plus some other items from us on site. Please see our "costs & dates" page for further details, or contact one of our helpful trip advisers.
Do I need diving insurance
YES - This is extremely important, you will not be allowed on the expedition with out adequate insurance that covers you for diving up to 30 meters and for the duration of your stay. We strongly recommend you use Divers Alert Network (DAN) for your insurance as they are by far the best and most reasonably priced. Please visit www.diversalertnetwork.org for further details.
How safe is the diving
Raja Ampat has over 80% of the world's hard corals and is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world due to currents from different oceans flowing into the region. This means that at times there may be small, mild currents on some of the dives. However, you will be fully trained on how to dive in currents and will not be expected to go out on surveys until you are totally confident and have good buoyancy skills. Experienced divers may wish to bring a reef hook, and delayed SMB (though these are also provided on site).
We have some of the best boat drivers in the area. They were born in the local villages and know the currents on dive sites very well. Their local knowledge (some of which has been passed down from generation to generation), is second to none. We also use tide apps on smart phones to determine when it is best to dive a site, to avoid strong currents ie: rising, slack or falling tides.
At Barefoot Conservation safety is our top priority. We have all state of the art medical equipment for remote diving; including oxygen, first aid kits, AED and when possible a Medical Officer on site. The local government installed a new Decompression Chamber in the capital's (Waisai) hospital in 2013. This means the nearest Decompression Chamber to our basecamp is only a 45-60 minute fast boat ride away.
What if I have diving accreditation's other than PADI
We require all divers to be qualified to a PADI Advanced Open Water level or equivalent from another organisation. Please see this "comparison table" if your qualification is from another organisation. If you are joining an expedition as a non-diver, your expedition fee includes us training you up to PADI Advanced Open Water and Emergency First Response (EFR - First Aid).
What is the diving schedule
You will typically do 2 dives a day. Both dives may be done in the morning after breakfast, or both in the afternoon after lunch. This leaves the morning/afternoon available for you to be involved in the community projects and have some downtime. Mon-Fri is reserved for survey dives, while Saturday is for fun dives (recreational), with Sunday being a no dive day (for safety reasons).
We try and do a night dive every 1-2 weeks, this also depends on the tides.
There may be times when it is not possible to do 2 dives a day for example due to extreme weather conditions out of our control. Your safety is our top priority at all times and we will never take unnecessary risks that may jeopardize your health and safety!
Can I do extra dive courses
Yes. There will be opportunities for you to do the PADI Rescue Diver and Dive Master courses while on the project.
If you are starting the expedition as a non-diver and wish to complete the dive master course we recommend you allow yourself at least a 8-12 week expedition to enjoy the full benefits and experience offered by the PADI dive master course.