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Scuba diving in West Papua

Astounding marine biodiversity awaits you at Raja Ampat in West Papua with its position in the heart of the Coral Triangle.
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Diving in West Papua

Quick facts

The best way to see Raja Ampat is on a diving liveaboard vessel. Trips usually range from 5 -10 days or more as there are so many great dive sites amongst the islands. Another option for divers is to stay on islands like Waigeo or Misool, which have a few resorts and homestay options. It is warm and sunny throughout the year and water temperature is very comfortable at 81-86°F (27-30°C). Diving season is during October to April with rain and wind picking up over May to September. That said, it is possible to dive at Raja Ampat year round as areas like Cenderawasih Bay are sheltered from rough weather.

Diving in Raja Ampat mostly consist of moderate drift dives through busy reefs and macro dives through interesting seascapes like mangrove swamps. It is suitable for new divers, but do seek the advice of your dive operator as some dive sites can be challenging.

In the north around Waigeo, coral reefs are known to be bustling with activity and you have choices of sloping reefs, pinnacles or macro dives. Sardine Reef and The Passage are excellent dive sites near Waigeo. The central area of Raja Ampat boasts swirling currents rich with nutrients and is a great place to witness manta rays at cleaning stations. Further south towards Misool, Farondi Caves are a highlight as well dive sites near mangrove swamps. Be sure to try out the night dives as well for a different perspective and to see interesting nighttime critters.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Raja Ampat will spoil divers with its amazing biodiversity. Within your first few dives, you are likely to spot the wobbegong. These strange carpet sharks are often seen curled up in cabbage corals, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Next, look out for the black manta rays of Raja Ampat. They can be seen at cleaning stations and sometimes have a white patch on their underbellies. Other large creatures to look out for are nurse sharks and whitetip sharks. Make sure to try out night dives as you might catch sight of the epaulette shark which seems to walk across the reef, or the tiny bobtail squid.

For macro lovers, Raja Ampat is heaven. It is one of the best places to see the Pontoh’s pygmy seahorse, as well as a myriad of nudibranch, frogfish, scorpionfish, blennies, gobies, pipefish, crab and shrimp. Whale shark lovers should head to Cenderawasih Bay. Whale shark sightings here are unique to anywhere in the world as these sharks have learnt to tag along with fishermen, sucking on fishnets for small bait fish left behind.


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