Raja Ampat pg 1

Fascinating Liveaboard Diving In Raja Ampat

A.  Introduction

Diving in Raja Ampat is my third diving trip to the Coral Triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The first was in 2004 when we dove in Komodo National Park and the second was in 2009 in Bunakan and Lembeh Strait.

This time the eleven scuba divers, all Malaysians, lived on board a dive boat, Putri Papua, for 10 nights which we boarded on the 4th August and disembarked on the 13th August at Sorong, West Papua. The expedition was organized by Adam Low Kok Meng.


Putri Papau operated by Grand Comodo

Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat (Four Kings) is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islets and shoals amongst the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. It encompasses more than 40,000 sq km of land and sea. With very low human population, who still use only traditional fishing techniques, and their inaccessibility, these islands have still maintained their pristine natural state.

As one of the least visited areas on this planet, Raja Ampat islands are considered by many to be the last frontier of diving in the world. According to Conservation International, the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world.




B. Diving Itinerary


Our daily dive routine would consist of four dives, two in the morning one in mid-afternoon and the last before dinner. The first dive in the morning would start at about 7.30am before breakfast while the second dive would be around 11am. The afternoon dive would start at about 3.30pm. The last dive would start about 7.30pm before dinner.


In my previous two diving expeditions, one in Pulau Weh in 2008 and the other in Bunaken and Lembeh Strait in 2009, I suffered from vision problems in my left eye. Diving in Pulau Weh had caused the dislocation of my left eye’s lens implant and after diving in Bunaken & Lembeh Strait, I discovered that my left eye’s retina had swollen. Again this time after my second dive, there was a discharge coming out of my right ear! Though I felt no pain or discomfort, I decided to take it easy and did a maximum of two dives a day.


Our scuba excursion took us mainly through Dampier Strait in Indonesian province of West Papua, the strait that separates Bird's Head Peninsula and the Raja Ampat islands of Waigeo and Batanta. The farthest we went was to the western island of Kawe at the Equator.


The dives I did were as follows:


05/08: Mioskon – near Mansuar Island

         : Fri Wen Wall in Fam Island


06/08: Manta Sandy – near Airborek Island

         : Tanjung Putus – Gam Island


07/08: Fam Channel between Fam Island and Penemu Island

         : Melisa’s Garden in Fam Channel


08/08: Batu Hitam, Kawe Island

         : Batu Delapan, Wayag Island


09/08: Batu Wayap


10/08: Yang Geld Reef, Gam Island


11/08: The Passage between Gam & Waigeo Islands

         : -ditto-


12/08: Blue Magic Sea Mount in Dampier Strait

         : Chicken Reef in Mansuar Island

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