We know the area well having had the privilege of diving here many times.
Jim Yanny shares his experience…
“The diving here truly is world class but add to that the fact that the scenery above water is just as amazing as under then this really is a ‘must see’ destination. Pristine surroundings make you feel you’re at the frontier of diving; lush forest canopies, bird song and then all that the marine life has to offer. Nature at her best.”
Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is a remote area relatively undisturbed by humankind. Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula, Papua, this archipelago comprises over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo.
The variety of marine life here is staggering with some areas boasting enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as the wobbegong. Fish and coral surveys by Conservation International report that Raja Ampat, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, contains possibly the highest marine biodiversity on the planet. This is truly an underwater photographers’ heaven (both macro and wide-angle), with huge corals in vibrant colours, high fish density and widespread macro critters.
Raja Ampat is also a birder’s paradise. Flocks of colourful parrots are a distinctive sight when you first arrive on the island. And after the first night’s deep sleep, you awake to a chorus of tropical birdsong. Eagles are a common sight, however, there is a lot more to birdwatching. The islands are home to three endemics; Wilson’s bird of paradise, Waigeo brush turkey and the famous, crimson plumed red bird of paradise. Other birding highlights include Western crowned pigeon, pheasant pigeon, palm cockatoo, great-billed parrot and Moluccan red lorry (alas no yellow lorry!).
Want to know more about Raja Ampat? Read Jim & Cary’s article for Scubaverse here.
Flights & Transfers
Fly to Sorong, in Papua Barat (West Papua) province of Indonesia. The most direct route is via Singapore and Manado on Singapore Air/SilkAir. There are three departures every day from Heathrow and one flight every day from Manchester to Singapore. Flight time is approximately 12 hours. If you take a morning flight it’s possible to connect straight through Singapore to Manado with a short transit time, on SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Air. SilkAir flies four times a week between Singapore and Manado; every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Flight time is 3.5 hours. You’ll need a night in Manado* before taking the onward flight to Sorong the next morning. (An overnight stay is also required on the way back.) The resort will meet you at Sorong Airport and take you by short car trip to the boat that will transfer you to your island. The boat transfer time is around 2.5-3 hours, depending on the sea conditions.
* Rather than just having one night in a hotel, why not stay longer in Manado and enjoy some wonderful diving in Bunaken National Park or the famous Lembeh Strait? Ask us for details.