9 Days / 8 Nights
You must be a PADI Open Water diver or equivalent and have logged a minimum of 30 dives to join this safari.
As with all diving activities, the dive guide has the final decision regarding any divers competency to complete any particular dive.
The region of Raja Ampat, Indonesia is all about diversity - not only diversity of species, but also of dive sites. There are some areas where soft corals and sea fans dominate, others with an amazing range of hard corals, seagrass beds, mangroves, shallow reefs, drop offs, caves, black sand, white sand. Then there are the fish, lots of them, in more shapes and sizes than anywhere else in the world. Not only are there loads of fish, but all the levels of the food chain are well represented - from pygmy seahorses to top predators. In many places brightly coloured soft corals can be found close to the surface which, illuminated by natural sunlight, make these dive sites spectacularly colourful. The reefs in Raja Ampat just buzz with life! Manta Rays, Wobbegong Sharks and Epaulette Sharks can all be found in the waters that make up Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat is huge, 50,000 sq km, with hundreds of islands and an astounding diversity of habitats, which translates to wildly different diving experiences from pelagic drift dives to magic muck dives and even some habitats that are special to Raja Ampat such as clear water mangroves with corals growing right next to them! There are thousands of potential dive sites. Exploration is still continuing, and on every trip there are chances for new and amazing discoveries.
The M/V Mermaid II comfortably accommodates 18 guests in a variety of cabins, all have en-suite bathrooms, a fridge, TV and modern amenities for a comfortable journey of discovery. Eight deluxe cabins (main deck) offer panoramic sea views and feature a double bed and single bunk (max occupancy is two), en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. The budget cabin (below deck) features twin bunks, shared bathroom and air conditioning.The boat features a large dive platform at the stern, with two exit ladders and plenty of space and facilities for cameras. The restaurant offers Asian and European cuisine. Take time to relax between dives in the comfortable saloon or up on deck where there are shaded areas available.
The itinerary will vary depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites.
Misool: The most southern island in Raja Ampat is surrounded by several hundred small islands and rocks. Some of the nicest soft coral reefs in the world are located in Misool. It is impossible to describe only several dive sites since there are literally hundreds of them. Every year new dive sites are discovered around Misool. Many of the dive sites around Misool are just as fishy as the ones from the Dampier Strait, with same schools of barracudas, spadefish, pinjalo snappers, and zillions of fusiliers. But Misool is also a great macro place. It is known as the kingdom of the pygmy seahorses, as well as having small allied cowries in the gorgonian seafans, and nudibranches. Within each of the following areas, there are always several dive sites. Wagma, Farondi, Balbulol, Sagof, Daram, Yellit, Boo, Warakaraket, Fiabacet, Kalig, Wayilbatan, Wayil, Pele and Nampele (Blue Water Mangroves).
Batanta Island: The southwest coast of Batanta is known for sheltered black sand bays and critters – a stark contrast to the vibrant and dynamic reefs Raja Ampat is generally famous for. The dive sites offer some excellent opportunities for muck diving.
Dampier Strait: The best known dive sites are Cape Kri, Sardine Reef, Chicken Reef, Mioskon, Blue Magic, Mike‟s Point, Manta Sandy, Arborek Jetty, Mangrove and Citrus Ridge. All the dive sites around the Strait are known for the huge amount of schooling fish; barracudas, bigeye trevallies, oceanic triggerfish, spadefish, surgeonfish, and snappers. Apart from schooling fish, this is an area where we get to see blacktips, whitetips, and wobbegongs sharks. Some of the best manta dives are here at Manta Sandy and Blue Magic. Manta Sandy is a sandy slope with several bommies that the mantas use as a cleaning station. Blue Magic is a small pinnacle where giant mantas congregate for cleaning. Some of the best mangrove dives are also located in the Strait, around the islands of Yanggefo and Gam. The area is also well known for the bommies to found in shallow areas of the reefs. Some of these bommies are covered with beautiful soft corals and host a profusion of glassfish. Of course we can't forget the dive sites in some of the local villages, where the pillars of the jetties are covered in soft corals and small critters.
Islands of Kawe: One of Raja Ampat’s true gems, loaded with some remarkable diving. The absence of boats, land based resorts and home stays only adds to the serenity of these equatorial islands. Diving at Eagle Rock you’re likely to spot Mantas using the many cleaning stations or feeding on the surface in the channel between two of the islands. The deep end of the site is a labyrinth of gigantic boulders covered with an array of citrus colored soft coral where wobbegong sharks like to hide. Black Rock is well known for it’s profuse fish life and it’s fields of ancient black coral bushes. Chango is a small rock island/pinnacle with just a couple of grubby trees on top but what Chango lacks in it’s surface appeal, it more than makes up for with in it’s underwater attractions. Mega swarms of big-eye jacks wrap themselves around you as you explore the magnificent terrain below while schools of barracuda, batfish and penjalo snapper abound. All round the site huge boulders have piled up creating massive tunnels and swimthroughs which at times hard to locate as they tend to be full of fish!
Alyui Bay: The sea is, once again, full of life with big schools of sweetlips, and fusiliers. White tip sharks sleep under the big rocks, and pygmy seahorses can be found. If you are lucky there may be dolphins in the area so make sure to keep an eye out.