Raja Ampat - Cenderawasih Bay
You must be an Advanced Open Water diver and have logged a minimum of 50 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.
An opportunity to explore a new dive destination on the world dive map!
The trip will predominantly visit the coral reefs and black sand sites searching for critters. The diversity is incredible and all species from the small pygmies, tiger shrimp, frogfish, octopus angel and butterfly fish, to the larger species of blacktip sharks, dolphin and turtles all reside in the bay. To round things out, a few dives will also explore a few well known wrecks from WWII! The other main goal of the expedition is to try and locate the four to five whale sharks up who make regular appearances in the bay almost all year round. These sharks are supposedly residents of the bay and are very tame, allowing people to swim in close proximity while they consume fish from the bagans (local fishing boats).
Established in 1993, the national park is located in the western part of the Cenderawasih Bay. The park location on a map of Indonesia can easily be found; it occupies the northern coastal area of West Papua resembling the shape of a large bird’s neck. Its reefs look nothing like Raja’s colorful, fish-filled reefs, nor are they similar to Triton Bay’s soft coral wonderland. Pristine and vast, the bay’s reef tops comprise some of healthiest hard coral gardens to be seen. Dramatic vertical walls with prolific sponge life abound on the outlying atolls, schooling fish along the reef points and ridges. Incredible marine biodiversity and the largest marine national park in Indonesia. Cenderawasih has a few unique features in Indonesia’s pantheon of rich reefs. The steep topography of the western coastal mountains and the Wandamen and Kwatisore peninsulas to the south were created by the convergence of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. This has geologically isolated the bay from the flow of the Pacific tides and has blessed teh bay with a wide variety of endemic species. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that many normally deep-dwelling fish species are found here in relatively shallow water. This topsy-turvy reefscape, along with the presence of the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, prompted Dr. Gerald Allen to call Cenderawasih “ the Galapagos of Indonesia’s Reefs”.
The Dewi Nusantara is a three masted topsail schooner. At 57 metres long, the ‘Goddess of the archipelago’ is purposely designed to be totally independent for long periods at sea while offering unparalleled comfort and excellent customer service with a crew of 15. There are eight spacious staterooms and a Master and Commander suite, comfortably accommodating up to 18 adventurous divers. All feature modern amenities including air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Facilities on board include a huge lounge and dining area, ample space and storage on the dive deck and a well designed multimedia camera room. All diving is from a tender and guided by an incredibly experienced dive team. Equipment is available to rent, including a limited supply of underwater cameras. Standard tanks are 12L with DIN adaptable valves. 15L tanks are available to rent. Nitrox is 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.
Kwatisore Bay: Large numbers of whale sharks frequent the bay and it is one of the few places where you can go scuba diving alongside these 40 foot (12 m), 20 tons, gentle giants. A special relationship has been formed between the local fisherman and the whale sharks. All along the bay, fisherman use floating, bamboo platforms to secure their nets. In order to protect both the whale shark and their nets, fisherman have always given away a small amount of their catch. The result is a totally unique dive site, where whale sharks are at complete ease with divers (albeit a limited number at a time). In addition, it's also possible to see Mola mola, the ocean sunfish; the heaviest known bony fish in the world.
World War II wrecks: Due to its sheltered position, the bay was used by the Japanese as a harbour. WWII wrecks now lay strewn all over the bay, creating an exceptional number of dive spots. It is possible to find all sorts of WWII memorabilia including cases of grenades and ammunition, helmets, crockery, Japanese beers and wine, and even chopsticks. The locations of these wrecks have typically been recorded and charted by local fisherman, but many of them have never been dived before. Amongst the wrecks are the 390 foot (120 m) long cargo ship, the Shinwa Maru that sunk off Marsinam Island. It lies within recreational diving depths, between 50 and 110 feet (16 and 34 m), and remains largely intact. As with most wrecks here, the Shinwa Maru in now totally encrusted in soft corals, making for stunning vistas and wide angle photos. There is even a P40 Tomahawk fighter plane, where it is still possible to see the cockpit with the pilot's seat and instrumentation. These wrecks are home to many small critters, as well as large moray eels and grouper, with oceanic whitetip and blacktip reef sharks patrolling the sandy areas in between.