Although it is located far from the capital cities, there are many reasons to go to West Papua. One of which is to visit Raja Ampat Islands that proven to have a paradise-like beauty. Moreover, the Raja Ampat whale shark season is approaching fast from October to November. Hence, tourist will be able to witness schools of whale sharks swimming close to human. But, wouldn’t it be dangerous?
Isn’t it Dangerous to Swim with Sharks?
Usually, people that don’t know anything about shark species may be shiver in horror when they imagine about ‘swimming with the sharks’. It is not a surprise since this animal is commonly described as a large predatory animal that will devour anything swimming nearby. Moreover, there is some movie title that shows how ferocious this animal is. So, before we discuss the Raja Ampat whale shark season further, let us learn further about the types of sharks you will meet.
In Indonesia, there are dozens of species of sharks living in its waters. There are several deadly types of sharks such as white sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, cowboy sharks, and many others. They are aggressive in nature and will attack anything that makes them disturbed. Despite the reputation, not all sharks are deadly predators as depicted on television. Most of them are indeed a carnivorous animal, but they only eat small fish, shrimps, and crabs. So, how about sharks in Raja Ampat?
Raja Ampat Sharks
It is not as scary as what a lot of people believe. Sharks in Raja Ampat turned out to be very friendly to humans. There are several types of sharks in Raja Ampat Islands region such as whale shark, wobbegong shark, gurano, thresher shark, macherel shark, and many others. These sharks in Raja Ampat are protected and people are not allowed to hunt them. So does with other animals such as dolphins and manta rays. If you violate this rules, there are severe punishment waiting, you might have to pay billions of rupiah for this violation.
Raja Ampat, along with other regions such as Maladewa, Bahama, Honduras, and many others is one of the areas highly committed to protecting sharks from slaughter and hunting practice. No wonder that these animals look really calm here since they don’t feel threats or fear. Since the sharks can accept humans’ presence around them, it is certainly not a problem if divers swim together with them.
Back to the white sharks, this species you will frequently encounter has a very large physical appearance. It has black skin with white spots on its body. It has a gentle nature just like dolphins. This type of sharks is really big and can reach up to five times the size of human adults. However, this shark will not hesitate to swim with human, as if they are highly trained. According to the fishermen in Nabire, these sharks will come if you throw anchovies into the sea.
The whale sharks are not the only unique sharks inhabiting the Raja Ampat waters. Another type of sharks commonly found is wobbegong shark that has a unique shape. Its body is flat like stingrays and often disguised by attaching itself to coral or lying still on the seabed. Because of their nature that likes to attach itself to coral and sand, many people call it a carpet shark. When diving, be very careful with your surrounding so that they won’t get stepped on or trampled.
Raja Ampat Whale Shark Season
Basically, the existence of sharks in Raja Ampat is not something standard determined by seasons. However, people know that calm and shady months are considered as Raja Ampat whale shark season. In October and November, the weather will be very good so that the whale sharks around Raja Ampat will show themselves with no worries. You can swim together with them in the pristine and clear underwater.
Meanwhile, the waters in other months such as June to August are not really good due to the rain, storms and high sea waves. Keep in mind that water temperature in Raja Ampat is the key. When the temperature drops due to bad weather, diving will not be fun. Fish will hide and we will feel really cold underwater. The sharks will reluctant to appear. But even if they appear, usually they will be in a bad mood, and this condition is dangerous for divers. However, you can go to Raja Ampat in May since the weather is generally not too bad.
Where to Meet the Whale Sharks
If you already know the best time to go to Raja Ampat, now you have to know where you can meet the whale shark and wobbegong shark. Both sharks can be found in Yembuba Point, Raja Ampat. If you travel by air, once you arrive at Domine Eduard Osok, Sorong, the next route is the Sorong port. From there, you will be able to find many sea transportations to Raja Ampat. You only need to mention your destination to the port officer and they will show you the ferry that will take you to your destination.
Aside from Raja Ampat Islands, another nice location to see the whale sharks is Cendrawasih Bay, West Papua. This location is the conservation center for the whale shark. Therefore, you will be able to enjoy a more fantastic experience among these huge animals. They usually appear at fishing locations in Kwatisore since many small fish are usually thrown by the fisherman as they are considered as not suitable for sale, or simply fall down when they are picked up. However, Raja Ampat is not the only beautiful place to find whale sharks. There are several other locations where you can see them such as Gorontalo and East Kalimantan.
Prepare Yourself Before You Meet the Sharks
However, although you have prepared everything, the season is right, with adequate equipment, and enough supplies, it doesn’t always mean that the adventure of swimming with sharks will run smoothly. A lot of people who dive are actually not mentally ready to meet the big animals face to face in front of them. Just imagine, you are swimming around and suddenly there is a gigantic fish swimming right in front of you. Many people might be panicked and do dangerous things unconsciously.
If it is your first time to meet a large animal, the main key is not panic. Try to calm down, and they will keep swimming without feeling threatened. If you move suddenly, the sharks might be surprised and act aggressively. Therefore, try not to dive alone if it is your first time diving with a shark. If you can already feel the pleasure of swimming with them, you might want to experience this again and again.
Well, vacations are indeed not just about enjoying the natural scenery far from our homes. In fact, there are many exciting things you can try to fill your time. So, are you ready to swim with sharks in Raja Ampat? Go prepare your trips right now! Don’t miss the Raja Ampat whale shark season and get the opportunity to swim with this amazing creature.