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Category Archive: Raja Ampat Dive Sites

Raja Ampat Islands Top Dive Sites

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Cape Kri
One of the favorite dives, Cape Kri is Sordio Bay’s house reef and less than 3 minute by boat from Kri Eco Resort. This is the dive site that put Raja Ampat on the map when Dr Gerry Allen smashed his record for total number of fish species on a single tank dive: 374 different species!

The world-record holding Cape Kri, with a record count of 374 different species in one dive counted by Dr. G. Allen, is just a 1 minute boat ride from our jetty. At the Northeast point of Kri island the currents sweep into a channel between Kri and the small island of Koh. At this point beneath waters churning in the current, huge schools of big-eye trevallies, barracudas and snappers can be seen hanging over the drop off. At the base of the reef at 38 meters an ancient snagged anchor rests next to a bommie with a dense school of banded sweetlips. A large shallow coral garden crowns the reef top with blacktip reef sharks patrolling amongst the overlapping maze of hard corals with feeding hawksbill turtles. Car-sized Queensland groupers down to the diminutive ever-present pygmy seahorse can be seen on this phenomenal and always-surprising dive site! Dawn and dusk are feeding time so divers can experience this site at its awe-inspiring best.

Sardines
Only 10 mins from Kri Island, this submerged reef with reef top at 5 metres, contains a very high biomass, one of the highest in Raja Ampat.

Sardine reef is quite simply one of the best reef dives in the world, where divers witness the phenomenal diversity of Raja Ampat at full force. Where the current strikes this offshore reef and splits, a dazzling array of fish congregate, audibly swarming fusiliers spin above, pursued by huge giant trevallies , packs of bluefin jacks and huge Spanish mackerel. Batfish gather in the hundreds, while multitudes of schooling bannerfish feed in the current. Grey reef sharks, blacktips and whitetips can also be seen along with the wobbegong waiting in ambush on the sea floor. Coral bommies dot the slope covered with many colourful species of dendronephya soft corals and up to three separate species of pygmy seahorse can be found amongst them. On the current-swept reef top a resident school of thirty massive bumphead parrotfish crunch on the coral, keeping the divers company on a safety stop, who hang from their reef-hooks like kites in the wind. Upon surfacing, many divers comment that this is the best dive they have ever done!! Photographers love this dive site and have to return to change from wide angle to macro!

Blue Magic
Only 15 mins from Kri Island, this small pinnacle has almost everything.

From Wobbegong sharks to tiny 2cm Hippocampus Denise pygmy seahorses. The reef top is covered in hard coral with some big coral heads and some tabling Acropora corals well over 3 metres across. There is a resident school of Big eye Trevallies and many large Barracuda. Green Turtles can be found here as well as Black Tips, White Tips and the occasional Grey Reef Sharks. If you are very lucky even a Giant Manta Ray. The magnificent dive ends with a blue water safety stop drifting over and away from the reef.

Manta Sandy
Only 25 mins from Kri Island, this sandy slope is famous for it’s Manta Rays. It is a cleaning station where they come in to get cleaned.

If the many reefs are not enough this area also boasts some of the best manta diving in the world! Nowhere else can offer reefs of such diversity along with a year round possibility of manta diving. There are two main manta sites just half an hour away. One, Manta Sandy, is a cleaning station where up to 10 mantas can be seen vying for a position above the two rocks where wrasses clean these giants. We get enormous 4 meter wide black mantas, looking like a negative photographic image, their gills are highlighted in white, along with the other more common white-bellied variety. Another site nearby, Manta Slope, mantas circle above in the sun while divers hook onto the reef while the current arcs overhead and down the steep slope below. Divers can be caught unaware while giant demonic-looking black mantas cruise by behind them. This trip is out of our 10km range, but is offered once a week without any fuel surcharges!

The Passage
As seen in many articles, including recently by David Doubilet in the Sept 2007 National Geographic, the passage is completely unique dive site. The narrow canyon 40 minutes away between Gam and Waigeo can be described as river flowing between the two Islands, but also a marine environment, a haven of peculiar and unique microhabitats.

This is a place where experienced divers and photographers enjoy the utterly different experience of diving in this truly one-of-kind location. Above water the sheer limestone cliffs make this a place where the sightseeing above water is also excessively beautiful. Guests combine this trip visiting the labyrinthine Hidden Bay, a maze of towering islets, and Kabui Bay where literally hundreds of mushroom islands create staggering scenery. This trip is out of our 10km range, but is offered once a week without any fuel surcharges!

Melissa’s Garden
This is a tasselled wobbegong shark (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon). Sadly, due to apparent over-fishing for the shark fin trade, there are just not very many sharks to be seen in Indonesia these days. On this trip, less than a handful were spotted by our group, but we were all thrilled to have the opportunity to see two of these bottom-dwelling wobbegong sharks, on two separate sites.

Blue-Water Mangroves
An oceanographic anomaly, the mangrove systems around Misool are noteworthy for the clarity of the surrounding water — most mangroves thrive in murky, silt-ridden conditions. Inside the sunlit maze of roots, juvenile fish species find safe nurseries alongside more-exciting creatures such as saltwater crocodiles. This shallow-water adventure is one to savor, as the sight of an achingly colorful soft coral growing amid a thicket of mangrove roots is rare in any ocean. It’s a particular draw for visiting photographers, who come from all over the world to capture images of this unique environment.

Misool Island
This is one of the larger islands in the archipelago. The stunning reefs around Misool offer a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colour which offers a nice contrast to all the big stuff on other dive sites. Sloping walls are carpeted with soft corals of every colour imaginable housing all manner of critters from ghost pipefish to harlequin shrimp to pygmy seahorses.

Cross Wreck
Named after a cross marking the landing spot of the first Christian missionaries to Irian Jaya this wreck is upright on the sandy bed at 18 meters. The Japanese patrol boat is the most accessible of all Raja Ampat wrecks, depth charges and the ships lamps can still be seen. Penetration is possible to the communications room, engine room and front hold where features such as the switchboard and ammunition can be seen. Coral cover is good and plenty of reef inhabitants now call the wreck thier home, these include lionfish, huge napoleon wrasse, humphead parrotfish and all manner of critters that come our especially at night.

Critters Corner
At the end of the Cross Wreck is this delightful little area back towards the beach. In amongst the sand and rubble are a vast array of critters including frogfish, leaffish, devil scorpionfish, seahorses and mantis shrimp.

Shinwa Maru
This WWII cargo ship wreck is one of the more impressive, she lies on her port side from 16 to 34 meters. Two huge bomb damage holes on the starboard side are visible and all manner of debris including mine sweeping equipment, technical equipment, car batteries, cables ammunition and sake bottles is strewn around. Two diving helmets make a great photo opportunity. This wreck is not as densely covered in corals as the Cross Wreck, but is home to many schooling jacks and plenty of pipefish. The wooden floors of the bridge have collapsed and most of its contents are still there.

Aircraft Wrecks
There is a wrecked P40 that was shot down and now lies at 27 meters, the plane which is still largely intact was discovered in 1999.

Wai Island
This spot is famed for its visiting manta rays and a couple of WWII aircraft wrecks. However it is also popular for night diving in the secluded bay. All manner of creatures emerge to feed including octopus, stonefish, epaulette sharks, wobbegongs, squid, pipefish and many rare nudibranchs.

Mike’s Point
This rocky outcrop just off Cape Kri was bombed duing WWII. From the air it was mistaken for a Japanese ship due to its size and the wake left by speeding currents. Walls surrounding the islet drop to over 40 meters and attract huge schools of sweetlips, snappers and fusiliers. A dazling array of giant sea fans on a shelf at 27 meters can be explored for pygmy seahorses and the walls and coral crevaces home all manner of reef life. Mike’s point is named after pioneer Max Ammer’s son.