Raja Ampat North & Central

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7 days 6 nights Raja Ampat Trip Itinerary

The archipelago known as Raja Ampat, or Four Kings, is made up of over 1500 small islands and cays, although only 35 of them are inhabited including the four main islands, or ‘Kings’, of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo.

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Day 1

Mioskon Island

We will first meet you at 7:45am at Je Meridien Hotel lobby in Sorong, West Papua. Leaving there at 8am we will take you to the small harbour to catch the 9am ferry to the island of Waigeo, arriving in the small town of Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat around 11am. Here you will join our boat the "Ratu Laut - Queen of the Sea" and get settled in your cabins, while we cruise to the island of Mioskon. Your first dive will be a check dive off the island of Mioskon. This is a stunning dive site and is very easy to dive. You can see everything here from Wobbegong’s, and black tip reef sharks, to the tiny pigmy seahorse, but it’s a great introduction to the dive sites of Raja Ampat. We will then travel to our next destination Piaynemo over night. (1 Dive)

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Day 2

Melissa's Garden - Piaynemo - Batu Rufus

We will wake up at the beautiful Fam Islands, commonly known as Piaynemo. These islands are known for some of the best hard coral reefs in Raja Ampat. For the first dive (current depending) we will dive the famous site Melissas Garden, this site is rich in underwater biodiversity; thousands of Anthias, damsels and chromi’s dancing up and down between the hard acropora coral, with black tip reef sharks, wobbegong sharks, pygmy seahorses, and much more. For the second dive My Reef is one of the more fishy dive sites throughout the Fam islands, with a submerged seamount, you can get schooling of fusiliers, barracudas, surgeon fish, pinjalo snappers and common hunting action from your predator fish, giant and blue fin trevally. It is also common to see large tunas and mackerels patrolling the front of the reef. The third dive of the day will be at the small island out the front of the Piaynemo view point. The dive sites name is Batu Rufus and here there is a swim through that opens into a sea-fan lined shallow fish bowl, especially spectacular when the sun is shining bright. Once down on to the main wall of the dive site, most of our divers are very excited to see the diversity of pigmy seahorses this dive site offers. A macro lens will be needed to capture a photo of these little guys and if the conditions are right we can see up to four species of pigmy seahorse on one dive. This dive site also offers beautiful bright soft corals and sea whips in the shallows of the wall, but make sure you keep an eye out for reef sharks, white tip, black tip and wobbegong’s. For the afternoon we will dry off and go to enjoy the beautiful sunset views of Piaynemo viewpoint. Here we can take a beer and spend the late afternoon watching the sunset over two different viewpoints. We can also visit the Piaynemo homestay to find some baby black tips in the mangroves. (3 dives)

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Day 3

Eagle Rock - Black Rocks - White Arrow

We will travel over night into the northern section of Raja Ampat, where we will wake up at the southern end of Kawe island. Here we will dive on the beautiful dive site of Eagle Rock. There is a collection of three small islands all relatively close, we will begin with the site on the left hand side, where the reef starts at the waterline running down to plus 40m on the northern side. This dive site has a layering of rocks dropping down into ledges, making it a very dramatic topography, and the substrate is covered in a carpet of soft, hard and black corals. Grey Reef sharks can be spotted here, along with white tip, black tip and wobbegong’s. With schooling fusiliers, snappers, sweetlips, bumped parrot fish, this site is a delight for your eyes! An interesting variation of nudibranchs can also be found here, one especially cool one is the solar paneled phyllodesmium nudibranch reaching 12 cm. From the months of September/October through to April/May this dive site also becomes home to the reef mantas where they come to get cleaned. There is several locations where they tend to clean on this site, some very special sightings can be experienced. We will then travel further north to just south of the equator and jump in for dive two at Black Rocks. Remember to lookout for dolphins at this point on the surface, pods are commonly spotted, sometimes they will jump with the Ratu Laut boat as we travel to the dive site. Black Rocks is easily identified by some harsh jagged rocks shooting up out of the surface. We will jump in, out in front of the current and enjoy the large schooling of fish life experience on this dive site. You will be surrounded by schooling fusiliers, big eyed jacks, surgeon fish, bat fish along with a beautiful coral garden especially up in the shallows of this dive site where the skinny pinnacles of rock head up to the surface, each one is covered in a layer of bright soft corals and bright orange cup corals. There is often sea turtles spotted here, both green and hawksbill, and sharks are commonly spotted. Peacock mantis shrimps often run around the rocky substrate and orangutan crabs can be seen filtering through the platonic soup catching food. At both Eagle Rock and Black Rocks it is possible to shoot both wide angle and macro subjects. We will then head back south into the dramatic landscape of Aljui Bay, with the large limestone islands shooting up out of the flat waters. We will check in the village of Selpele and then dive one of the excellent macro sites as our afternoon dive. There are many fantastic sites in Aldi bay, mostly focusing on macro, depending on the currents we will choose the most appropriate. One excellent dive site is White Arrow, a sloping reef where we can find the yellow colouration of Bargibanti pigmy seahorse and the fantastic fire urchins with the Coleman's shrimps inside. Along with pigmy cuttlefish, a large selection of nudibranchs, pipefish, whip coral shrimps, snake eels and many more. For the evening we will head out for a rewarding night dive out in front of the Pearl Farm. We will drop down on to the sandy substrate for a world class muck dive, and to be honest, you never really quite know what could turn up on this site! (4 dives)

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Day 4

Aljui Bay - Chanel 5 - Edi's Black Forest

We will wake up to the bird songs coming from the jungle close to our boat and do our first dive at a dive site found by Ratu Laut, Barracuda Lompat which in Indonesian means jumping barracuda, here we will dive along one of the slopes of Waigeo island and can be rewarded with a matrix of schooling fish life, as the name suggests we are often spending our dive with large schools of barracudas in a variation of species, large schooling of bat fish, snappers, sweetlips and even a giant grouper, this is for sure our choice for the most fish dive in Aljui Bay. We will then travel back to the entrance to Aljui bay and dive on a beautiful dive site called Chanel #5 this dive site is both a great mix of macro and wide angle with a dramatic topography, walls laden in soft corals, sea-fans and whip corals, many species of pigmy seahorse can be found here, living both in the sea grass and substrate. Wobbegong’s, and the occasional stingray can also be spotted, commonly dived as a relaxed drift dive this is an exceptionally beautiful site with the large purple sort corals draping over every rocky substrate. We will then travel to the picturesque tropical islands of Wofo, we will drop in for a wall dive on Edi’s Black forest, named by the domination of black coral trees found on the southern end of the dive site. There is also a small swim through here and the shallow gardens of this dive site with the sun out are prefect for wide angle photography. For the Afternoon/evening we will head over to the beach for a BBQ dinner, while the sun is still shining we will do a beach clean and collect any plastics that have washed up onto this uninhabited paradise island and then enjoy the fire as the chef cooks up a storm for dinner. For anyone who is interested a site close to the BBQ area has had an outbreak of crown of thorn starfish (COTS). Ayo Divers works in partnership with non-profit NGO Barefoot Conservation in controlling the population via injection kits, if people are interested they can join the cruise director for a night dive there but they will have to restrain from a beer at the beach BBQ. (3-4 dives)

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Day 5

Mayhem - Citrus Ridge - Arborek Jetty

For the morning of day 5 we will wake up in yet another beautiful location with lush jungle creeping down to the waters edge and coral reef abundant below. The area of Yangello provides some wonderful dives, the first dive we will do will be Mayhem. As the name suggests we can often have a huge abundance of scooping fish life around this site, with the right drop we will fall through a wall of fusiliers and then arrive down onto a sloping reef at the bottom. This dive site has a flat top and is a typical seamount of Raja Ampat, the shallow reef on the top is a great display of hard corals, with common sightings of wobbegong’s and black tip sharks. In the deep, grey reef sharks can be sighted, both wide-angle and macro can be shot at this site, or you can just sit back, relax and enjoy. We will drop for our second dive off the island of Gam, in the channel between Gam and Yangello. Citrus Ridge dive site is a favorite of many, with citrus coloured soft corals hanging from the rocky substrate, when the current is running you will see them in there best display. This site is home to schooling barracudas and jack fish, also home for the yellow bargibanti’s seahorses and is set very close to mangroves which provide the perfect opportunity to capture some unique photos, that typically represent Raja Ampat. From Yangello we will travel a short distance over to Arborek island a small village island located in the centre of the Dampier strait. This island from the months of September/October to April/May can be a hotspot for reef mantas. Depending on the conditions and season, there are various dive sites to choose from here and we will pick the most appropriate for the day. The dive beneath the Arborek jetty can be a wonderful option (also good for a night dive), wide angle photography here is perfect to capture the unique jetty seascape and schooling fish life. We will also head on to the Island, were we can visit non-profit NGO Barefoot Conservation's land based operation and experience the local village life of Raja Ampat. The local lady’s of Arborek village are talented crafts woman, and weaving is one of their specialties, from bags to hats, with the most spectacular being a hat weaved into the shape of a manta! In the evening we will have a presentation about Manta rays from one of the Marine Biologist working for Barefoot Conservation, so everyone can leave the trip feeling confident with the identification process between reef and oceanic mantas. (3 dives)

 

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Day 6

Cape Kri - Sardine Reef - Chicken Reef

We will wake up in the protected bay of Yenbuba between the two islands of Mansuar and Kri from there we will travel in the morning to the famous reef of Cape Kri, where we will do our first morning dive. This dive site was where the initial surveys were done by Gerald Allen, with a huge diversity of 283 different species of fish in one dive recorded back in 2001. Still now, this dive site provides a wonderful diversity and great displays of schooling fish life, the current here can be strong but will deliver a diverse display of Raja Ampat’s marine life. Good for both wide angle and macro sightings, like the small pigmy seahorse and hairy shrimp to rays and sharks. From there we will move to Chicken reef and Sardine Reef in the afternoon. Both of these sites are perfect to be dived on a falling tide from the east and provide large schooling of fish life, along with good shark sightings. Grey reef sharks can be sighted here, along with black tips, white tips and wobbegong’s. Both of these sites are best dived with current but your cruise director will provide detailed information on the entry techniques of these dive sites, as a quick drop in is ideal. For the final dive of the day we will head to a muck dive site on the Southern side of Waigeo. Here we will drop onto a sandy bottom and explore the slope for a matrix of smaller macro critters. The Thorny Seahorse is sometimes found here among the halimeda, and there can be sightings of octopus, cuttle fish and squids, plus a diverse variation of pipefish across the sensitive substrate. Nudibranchs, endless shrimps and crabs will also be found. (4 dives)

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Day 7

Blue Magic

On your final day we have an opportunity for one dive in the morning. Since this is going to be our last cruise day, you’ll have time to dry your equipment on the way back home to Waisai. Our final dive site will be Blue magic, a fabulous seamount to wrap up the 7 days of diving. This dive site is a great way to say goodbye to the schooling fish life of Raja Ampat, and there is the potential for sightings of the oceanic manta ray here during the months of November to March. We will do a final briefing after the morning dive on whats going to happen next. You will have lunch on the boat, exchanging emails, photos, and say farewells to the crew. At around 1.30pm we will take you to the ferry going back to Sorong or if you would prefer to say in Raja Ampat we can help to organise transfers. (1 dive)