Diving Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia
Within the world's Coral Triangle are the islands of Raja Ampat (translates to Four Kings). Located northwest of Indonesia's West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) on the Bird's Head Seascape, these 1500 scattered islands and quays are acclaimed to be the center of marine biodiversity*. Over 1500 species of fish, 600* species of reef building hard corals and 700 mollusks have been identified in the area. The scientists are still busy counting the marine biodiversity of this protected area. With so much thriving underwater life and pristine environment, it is no wonder that Raja Ampat is a sought after dive trip by scuba enthusiasts.
Putiraja Liveaboard's most popular scuba trips run through two different courses in Raja Ampat. The North Route is a seven-day scuba excursion that takes you through the northern island groups, with a chance to cross the equator underwater at Kawe. You can experience the southern island groups on the South Route's ten-day adventure, where you will explore the many little islands around Misool and dive in the world's highest fish species count site off Kofiau. Additionally, we offer trips to Triton Bay and Cendrawasih Bay. We are available for expedition & diving charters and happy to work a special itinerary for you.
The largest of Raja Ampat's main islands, Waigeo attracted Alfred Russel Wallace in 1860 in his search for the birds of paradise. A haven for some of the world's rarest birds*, the surrounding waters of Waigeo offer a variety of marine habitats teeming with all sorts of underwater life.
In The Passage between Waigeo and Gam, mangrove wetlands and the tropical forest vegetation above cast a surreal emerald green hue on the corals flourishing within the narrow waterway, creating a stunning underwater photo subject rarely found elsewhere.
Located on the equator, the island of Kawe forms an amazing coral network with its surrounding tiny islands. Spells of strong currents bring a frenzy of fishes. As you go through the impressive underwater formations of the Equator Islands west of Kawe, you can observe large pelagics* and cross the equator while underwater.
Soaring dramatically from the sea is a series of undulating limestone cliffs topped with lush vegetation that is distinctly Wayag. It's shallow turquoise blue lagoon is bestrewn with fluffy green mushroom shaped islets. Hiking up one of its cliffs will reward you with a breathtaking panorama. More beauty abound underwater. Wayag's coral ridges are full of color and life. Be on the lookout for patrolling black tip sharks.
The clump of islands in the sheltered western bay of Waigeo offers a dazzling array of macro critters, one Raja Ampat's best muck sites. Walls full of seemingly electrifying fire clams, tiny shrimps & crabs, and a colorful array of nudibranchs. The nearby jetty of a pearl farm* offers more opportunity to spot magnificent macro critters such as ghost pipefish, blue ring octopus, and bobtail squid.
The highest fish species count was taken off the coast of Kofiau, slightly beating another record elsewhere in Raja Ampat. Here you can find precious little muck critters such as the mandarin fish, wonderpus octopus and ghost pipefish. Around one corner, stronger current attracts large schools of fish including sweetlips and wrasse. On the other side, nutrient-rich water makes this another destination for manta sightings.
Beneath Misool's satellite isles are a wealth of marine habitats to explore. It takes a few days to really begin to see what Misool has to offer. To the southeast, limestone towers plunge deep into the water and are proliferated with corals. Shaped by the moving water over the years, you'll delight in gliding under overhangs and diving through caverns inhabited by snappers. Sea fans and whips sway as millions of fish dart all around. A leisurely boat ride through Tomolol Cave to glance through ancient petroglyphs and skull cairns is an otherworldly venture you wouldn't want to miss.
On the opposite side of Misool is the famed Blue Water Mangroves. Ocean tides sweep through the channels between the mangrove wetlands, blessing it with a visibility not often found in mangrove waters.