Divers meet a barracudas bench at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Divers meet a barracudas bench at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)

Diving (again) in Komodo and Raja Ampat

  Indonesia : Komodo + Raja Ampat - July 2016

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

"So, you went diving again?", I've been asked since my return... Yes! I even realized a dream, combining in one trip two famous spots: Komodo and Raja Ampat.

Magic Blue

Of all the spectacles that nature has to offer, underwater life is the one that fascinates me the most. Diving, discovering what is hidden under the surface always gives me the exhilarating feeling of exploring another world... Immersing oneself in the blue is magical! The proof...

Above, one of the sequences I brought back from the aptly named Blue Magic site, in Raja Ampat (some of you have already seen it, since I first posted it as an appetizer, on the Facebook page).

Below, another magical moment during a dive in Komodo: the moving face to face encounter between a snorkeler and a manta ray, at Karang Makassar.

In Karang Makassar, the "manta point" of Komodo, which should rather be renamed "Manta Express" because of the large number of these majestic rays (Indonesia, July 2016.)
Fascinating meeting in Karang Makassar, the "manta point" of Komodo. A site that should rather be renamed "Manta Highway" as these large majestic rays are numerous to parade (Indonesia, July 2016.)

It is for these moments, so exciting, that I multiply the diving trips, preferably where there are clear, warm and rather fishy waters...

So in this month of July 2016, I flew to Indonesia (again). This huge archipelago, between Indian and Pacific Oceans, is a fantastic destination for underwater photography! And I decided to hit hard, combining in one trip the two most beautiful diving spots I know in this part of the world: Komodo and then Raja Ampat.

Komodo AND Raja Ampat

KomodoI had already been there in 2011. As for Raja AmpatThis is my 5th visit there since my first stay in 2012!

See also → All my trips

I've quickly made a little Google Map below so you can see at a glance what it looks like, in terms of travel in Indonesia. In red, the airports of JakartaBali, Labuan Bajo, Makassar and Sorong through which I passed. In blue, the archipelagos of Komodo (in the Small Islands of Sunda, near Flores) and Raja Ampat (in West Papua, in the far east).

Read more → Raja Ampat: practical information to organize your trip

The good thing about diving is that you can stay and explore the same sites during the same trip, or come back to them from one year to the next, without ever getting bored. Each new dive is different, because the conditions are constantly changing (weather, tides, moon phases, time of day), the underwater encounters are full of surprises and the coral landscapes vary endlessly.

Some pictures are better than a long speech...

Swarms of anthias wriggle over the coral at Batu Bolong (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Swarms of anthias wriggle over the coral at Batu Bolong (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
School of snappers at the Mioskon site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
School of snappers at the Mioskon site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
The'exuberance of coral in Raja Ampat is always spectacular. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
The exuberance of the coral at Raja Ampat is always spectacular. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
A school of squirrelfish in the shadow of a coral spud, Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
A school of squirrelfish in the shade of a coral spud, Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Hello, turtle! (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Hello, turtle! (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Clownfish in their closed anemone, which reveals the bright pink color of its corolla. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Clown fishes in their closed anemone, which reveals the mauve shades of its corolla. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
The spots on the belly-mantas are unique for each individual, much like our fingerprints. It is their "identity card", which allows marine biologists to follow and recognize them. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
The spots on the belly of manta rays are unique to each individual, much like our fingerprints. It is their "identity card" of sorts, allowing marine biologists to recognize them (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Divers meet a barracudas bench at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Divers encountering a school of barracuda at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)

I'm sorting out my pictures and it's taking a little while. This time I brought back more than 6,000 images (land and underwater)... 😯 But I'll be back very soon in a future post to tell you the details of this new Indonesian escapade! On the menu: bubbles (champagne) in the air(air) bubbles underwater, a new princess boat, Balinese rice fields, a blue hole in the middle of the coral (with the pontoon that goes well) and above all lots of very fresh and wriggling fish...

  Indonesia : Komodo + Raja Ampat - July 2016

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  1. It's been 6 years since I went back to these places, and I must say that by reading your article ....
    In short, we must act.


  2. I just came back from Bali and I'm pleased to find in your post the beautiful Indonesian corals and Manta princesses 🙂
    Keep us dreaming.

    1. @Karl: yes, I have dived a little elsewhere than in the Indo-Pacific area, notably in Mexico on the Caribbean Sea side, in the Maldives, in Polynesia, in the Red Sea... Nowhere else is the coral as beautiful, as exuberant, as rich and varied as in Indonesia. Really... 🙂

  3. I hesitated. "Amazing" or "Haaaan!" or just "Thank you"?
    Can I suggest all three?
    Because these images are incredible.
    That I desperately want to go back to Indonesia and one day try diving for real and thank you because it is always a pleasure to read your blog.

    1. @Fanny: and thanks to you for this nice word ! That's the problem with Indonesia: when we liked it, we only want to go back... Try to learn how to dive to see, during a next trip. You never know, you might catch the virus too... 😉

  4. Always so exciting articles. I can not wait to see more pictures, before going back to plunge my fins very soon!

  5. Hello Corinne,
    We discovered your blog a few days ago while preparing our (second) trip to Indonesia. I must say that all your precious information helped us to decide for Raja Ampat. The plane ticket to Jakarta is taken since yesterday, the one to Sorong should quickly follow... for a departure in only 15 days! No cruise for this time but we will choose a small diving hotel and hope to try the kayak adventure for a few days.
    These new pictures motivate us more!
    Congratulations for this beautiful blog where it is good to walk ...

    1. @Olivier : Very happy to have been the inspiration for a getaway to Raja Ampat... 🙂 Glad you enjoy strolling through my blog. Have a great trip and good bubbles!

  6. Always addicted to your posts, I only know Bali and Alor but the desire to put the head under water there is always present ..... before leaving there I would like to try the Philippines ....... to see thank you again.

    1. @Philippe: ah, I am really glad to have encouraged so many readers to go and discover Indonesia underwater! People have a hard time realizing, from a distance, the fabulous underwater wealth of the Indonesian archipelago... That's why I go back there so often. When you do underwater photography, it's a really fantastic "playground". Your blog post captures what you can expect in Komodo, between the currents and the profusion of life. I add it here, it could interest a lot of people:
      -> Komodo, le plaisir à l’état pur (par Philippe Jourdren)

    2. @Corinne : Indeed, it's interesting. Thanks for this blog that I didn't know 🙂

  7. Thank you for these beautiful pictures! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog! Continue to make us dream! We really need it right now!

  8. Hello Corinne,

    A big thank you for this blog, for sharing your emotions, for the beauty of your photos and of course for the precise and useful information that you offer us. Thank you a thousand times over.
    After Flores and Sulawesi, I am very tempted by Lombock and Raja Ampat, it's a good thing, you talk about it...! but I can only leave in July and from what you can write Raja Ampat in July is very windy, few cruises at this period. I see that you went there in July, what was it?

    1. @Leclerc: I think I prefer the season in July... Better visibility underwater and less people. It is indeed necessary to be based on land, not too far from the sites, it is better.

      It happens some days that we can't go to the sites a bit far away because the sea is a bit rough, but it doesn't prevent us from diving, we fall back on the closest sites. For this stay of July 2016, I had a magnificent weather with calm sea the first week, but more mitigated and more windy the second week... And almost all the time a fantastic visi underwater!!!

      All information to organize your stay in Raja Ampat are compiled in this article:

    2. Thank you Corinne for these informations and following your message, I think that it is gone, we are going to make a pretty trip to Raja Ampat, we will wait from now on July, 2017, it is far, but the dream, the waiting, the preparation, are part of the trip.
      Bigbizh. Thierry

  9. Hello Corinne,
    Like you this year, we went back to dive on KOMODO at the end of July but with the Divine Diving club. It is always a wonder with magnificent landscapes and breathtaking underwater bottoms (but a little less visibility than the other years).
    And like you, we came back to Europe with an upgrade to Business class but on Emirates. Like you, we have frequent flyer cards from all the airlines, and like you, we checked in online. What a pleasure to enjoy this return to luxury and moreover we were a family of 4. Why this upgrade? to retain customers? to encourage us to advertise? In the end we didn't care and we enjoyed it...
    Make us dream again, we follow your blog and we try to make the same sites as you.
    If you pass by Bali again, you can try to rest at "la casa meena" on Sanur. You won't be disappointed with the place or your hosts (see on Facebook)
    We may meet one another

    1. @Patrick: Thank you for taking the time to leave a little note! Very happy to inspire you for your dive sites... Top the upgrade!!! Not easy to guess what is worth such a favor from the airlines... But it's always very pleasing!!!

  10. Hello Corinne,

    I wanted to thank you for your blog. I discovered it two years ago and it made me discover fabulous places. I was largely inspired by your adventures to organize my honeymoon...we just came back from 3 weeks of vacations in Sorido as well as in Komodo it was fabulous....thank you for this inspiration and I wish you many more trips to continue to give us the desire to discover the world 🙂 To finish I'm a little jealous of your photos/videos...mine don't look AT ALL the same... :s do you use a lighting also for your videos? See you soon 😉

    1. @Benjamin: how happy I am for you! Really, it makes me sincerely happy to inspire other dive travelers. I too was at the Sorido Bay Resort for this new trip in July 2016, I'll talk about it in future posts... This is my 4th stay there! I can't get enough of it...

      For details on my camera equipment, it's here :

      And for the videos, no, I don't use lighting, but I try to get the white balance just about right before I start shooting. Often I shoot the sand or sometimes a white plastic bag that I have in the pocket of my stab to make it...

      Thanks for leaving a note, see you soon! (I'm trying to publish a new article, about Komodo, very soon...)

  11. Hello Corinne,

    For us, these are 2 dream destinations! We leave with our family with 3 one-way tickets to Bali on March 5th, we hope to have the opportunity to go there!
    Thank you for these beautiful pictures .. and for all others!

    Good continuation 🙂

  12. Hello
    Beautiful early!
    I have to make a choice between komodo and raja ampat at the end of June, what would be the spot that you would recommend between these 2?
    Thank you

    1. @Nicola: If you have the time and the budget, I would advise Raja Ampat... As I write somewhere above in the article, I place Raja Ampat at the top of my personal top of diving spots in Asia, before Komodo and Sipadan !

  13. Hello Corinne,
    First of all a big thank you for your great blog so passionate, exciting and generous! With my family, we took a ticket to Kuala Lumpur this summer in August. We are not divers, but confirmed snorkelers and you made us want to go and test your favorite spots. We have 3 weeks. I know you are not a travel agency, but what would you advise us between Raja Ampat and Komodo as snorkelers? If you have other ideas, don't hesitate... Thanks in advance

    1. @ Helen: Sorry for the delay in answering... You should be able to find what you are looking for in Raja Ampat as well as in Komodo. (You are now well advanced!) Both allow you to mix swimming and land discoveries.

      The Komodo archipelago is best visited by mini-cruise because the sites are a bit far from Labuan Bajo, but there are also more and more people who want to do day trips anyway (especially to go swimming with the mantas). And then, there is not only Komodo, there is also the island of Flores to discover...

      Raja Ampat requires a bigger budget, I think, but the landscapes and the underwater world are exceptional. I think that there must be a lot of spots well adapted to snorkeling (I don't realize it, because I am rarely wearing snorkels).

      In both cases, you will have fun ...

      Otherwise, you can also aim for North Sulawesi, which has a lot to offer ... Good preparations!

      PS. From Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) where you land, it is quite easy to go to Indonesia, where the spots you are interested in are located. But Malaysia is also worth a visit...