Raja Ampat Islands is famously known for its truly stunning underwater beauty. The coral and marine variety, the crystal clear sea water, as well as impressive cultural and marine tourism experiences will make pamper you during your vacation in this eastern part of Indonesia. For those of you who want to focus on enjoying the sea depths, diving is the right choice. For many tourists coming to Raja Ampat Indonesia, this activity is something not to be missed. You can choose free diving or scuba diving, of course considering few things. Now the question is, between free diving vs scuba diving Raja Ampat Indonesia, which one is the best thing to do?
How to Get to Raja Ampat?
For those of you who have no idea at all about this place, then you should learn about Raja Ampat first. Find as many information as possible on Raja Ampat map, how to get to Raja Ampat, Raja Ampat resort, Raja Ampat diving, and so on. You will need all kinds of information since this place is not easy to reach and far from the mainland. Additionally, there are various unwritten policies and regulations you need to know. Therefore, you coming from far away to this exotic place will not end in disappointment.
Raja Ampat is located in the West Papua region and is an archipelago consists of more than 1800 large and small islands. Due to its remote location, one might wonder how to get to Raja Ampat. The easiest to access it by flying to Sorong first. From Domine Eduard Osok airport in Sorong, you have to go to Sorong port and find a ferry to Raja Ampat. There are several ferries available, so you can choose one headed to the island you’re headed for. Raja Ampat has one small airport in Waisai, Waigeo Island. However, the Marinda airport in Waisai can only be accessed from Sorong. Even then there are limited flights available and only operates on certain days.
For tourists coming to Raja Ampat, you also need to prepare some money for Environmental Maintenance Service Tariff (TLPL). This tariff is for the environmental maintenance costs within the Raja Ampat Area. With the high rate of tourists coming in and out, the risk of damage to nature will be even higher. Therefore, it is necessary to implement the ecosystem maintenance, nature conservation, animal breeding, and so on. The tariff charged is around IDR 500 thousand for domestic tourists and IDR 1 million for foreign tourists.
Raja Ampat Diving
People visit Raja Ampat is clearly not without reason. In addition to the beautiful panorama and the diversity of marine life in its water, there are certain specific characteristics that attract tourists. One of which is the abundant coral population. Amazingly, 75 percent of the world’s coral population can be found here. There are at least 600 hundred types of coral life and grow here. This is 10 times more than the coral species in the Carribean known as rich of underwater biota. Additionally, Raja Ampat also has at least more than 1000 types of reef fish and 700 types of mollusks. Various studies have stated that there is no waters area in the world that has an as good condition as Raja Ampat.
Speaking of the ecosystem, most of Raja Ampat region does have far more marine species than the land species. Wobbegong, manta rays, sharks, and even mermaids are some of the marine animals you meet there. Some other fish like tuna, giant trevally, snappers, and barracudas also often swimming swiftly in front of the divers. But remember, never catch the fish or pick up the corals, or you may have to face legal consequences due to this action.
Famous Dive Spots
Every dive spot in Raja Ampat Islands also has its own characteristics. There are a number of favorite locations, including Cape Kri and Blue Magic that has incredible coral views. Arborek Island with its manta ray population and many other spots are interesting to visit. You can directly come to the desired location by joining a diving package. Most Raja Ampat resort has even provided special packages and services for guests who wish to explore the ocean beauty.
Raja Ampat is the meeting spot of two continents and two oceans, making this area a crossing place for various marine animals. That is the reason why this location is rich of marine species. This diversity makes many tourists addicted to interacting with marine animals living in Raja Ampat waters. Just imagine, you can swim side by side with sharks that have been famous for is frightening reputation. You can witness how these animals live in real life. The water temperature is around 27-28 degrees Celsius with the depth around 30 meters, making not only marine biota feels comfortable, but divers can also comfortably dive here too.
Freediving vs Scuba Diving Raja Ampat Indonesia
The fundamental difference between free diving and scuba diving lie in the equipment used. Scuba divers use one scuba (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) set equipment that helps them while they are diving underwater. The apparent part of this equipment set is the oxygen tube the divers should carry during the diving. The wetsuits should also meet the standards determined. With various equipment used, divers can breathe longer underwater, help prevent increased pressure in the ear, and even avoid sinuses and other harmful effects.
Meanwhile, free diving is a more challenging activity. In free diving, the divers do not bring an oxygen tube with them; they solely rely on their ability to hold their breath. Even so, divers still use some equipment such as snorkels. masks, and fin. Without oxygen tube, divers’ duration swimming underwater is of course very limited. However, without an oxygen tube, divers can move freely and feel lighter. Additionally, free diving will not make the divers look suspicious with air bubbles coming out all the time like when you are scuba diving. Therefore, divers can approach more marine biota and explore more places without looking suspicious and making the animals scared.
However, to be able to jump and free diving, there are some special techniques you should master. You must have excellent lungs capability to survive underwater. Additionally, free diving is definitely more cost effective because you don’t need a lot of equipment as scuba diving do. But with the physical limitation, there might be many underwater regions you can’t explore. As you know, the average depth of diving spots here is around 30 meters. If you want to explore all of its beauty to its full potential, you have to dives very quickly, and you might not be able to get the experience of meeting sharks or other unique animals here. But if you’re lucky, you can approach this marine biota better than scuba diving.
So, between free diving and scuba diving Raja Ampat Indonesia, have you decided which one is more suitable for you to do?