Beautiful "soft corals" or alcyonarias color the top of Mioskon Reef. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Beautiful "soft corals" or alcyonarias color the top of Mioskon Reef. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Raja Ampat, the wild archipelago

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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: 


Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. I'm there!!! A real end of the world, still virgin, wild and beautiful, on land and under water.

Diving cruise in Raja Ampat

Sailing from island to island, in the archipelago of Raja Ampat... A dream that I had for a long time, finally became reality in this month of March 2012.

I am stunned by the beauty of this end of the world, still virgin, sown with green islands covered with real jungle, at the end of Indonesia.

In the Dampier Strait. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
In the Dampier Strait. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Jungle-covered karst islands, plunging into jade green water... Iconic landscape of Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Jungle-covered karst islets, plunging into jade green water... Iconic landscape of Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A splendid and wild archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A splendid and wild archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Here, the word "biodiversity" takes on its full meaning. Nature is exuberant, on land and under water. We walk in the footsteps of the British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) who explored the Malay Archipelago and the East Indies in the XIXe century, and discovered many unknown species...

More modestly, two centuries later, with a small group of other diving tourists, I embarked at Sorong, on the Black Mantafor a short but fantastic five-day cruise (update : the White Manta company that owned this boat sold it to another operator).

The Black Manta is a boat designed for scuba diving, which can embark up to 16 people, in addition to the crew. This kind of "cruise" (or "liveaboard" in English) has obviously nothing to do with the liner-buildings which sometimes run aground on the Italian coasts...

Black Manta. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Black Manta. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Incredibly rich seabed

I knew that Raja Ampat was an exceptional destination for scuba diving. But seeing it with your own eyes is something else...

Red Lionfish and schools of glass fish above the coral reef. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Red Lionfish and schools of glass fish above the coral reef. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

What is striking, during the first dives, is the profusion. The usual tropical underwater fauna is there, of course, but the abundance and variety of species, as much for fish as for coral, is truly amazing.

Yes, really, the sites are exceptional! Very, very high level, in terms of quality of diving. Raja Ampat is far away, but it is worth it.

A picture is worth a thousand words... So I'm posting a few pictures, as an appetizer, and I'll be back to tell you about these extraordinary dives very soon, in more detail! 😍

Beautiful "soft corals" or alcyonarias color the top of Mioskon Reef. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Beautiful "soft corals" or alcyonarias color the top of the Mioskon reef (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A huge "soft coral" called an alcyonary-mushroom, belonging to the genus Sarcophyton. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A huge "soft coral" called alcyonary-mushroom, belonging to the genus Sarcophyton (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A manta ray comes to have its portrait taken... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A manta ray comes to have its portrait taken... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A school of yellowtail snapper flees at my approach (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A school of yellowtail snappers flees as I approach (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012).
We regularly come across hawksbill turtles, also known as hawksbill turtles, on our dives. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
We regularly come across hawksbill turtles, also known as hawksbill turtles, on our dives. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

👌

See all my articles on Raja Ampat

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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  1. We wait for the continuation. Just a caveat, the Italian cruise ships, I imagine them well with 3000 divers aboard! I absolutely want to be part of the first palanquée !!!

    1. Thank you !!!! Yes, I'm lucky to be here. I'm well aware of it. I'm still enjoying it, from the mainland this time, in a resort in the heart of the best sites!!! 😀

    2. I leave Bali to Rajat early April, I have more compressor on board. Do you think I can rent one on the spot?
      Otherwise, for the good tips tjs takers. Then we will go to Palau.

    3. In my opinion, it's going to be rather complicated to find a compressor. Even petrol here is a hassle to get hold of... Ask around at the local diving resorts.

  2. Welcome back! Thanks for sharing, and my mouth is watering from the first photos .... See you soon Corinne

    1. Oh, but I have not come back at all. I'm still in Raja Ampat, but based on dry land, this time, in a resort where there is wifi ... Yes, I know, I'm a little lucky ...
      😀

    2. Hello,

      I have been traveling for a very long time in Southeast Asia.
      We've done bunaken, micronesia and lots of other good memories in the Philippines and Indonesia. But we've got Raja Ampat planned for September this time.
      By cons I am looking for a base on the ground because I am (unfortunately) sick boat.
      A nice spot on an island or beach, from which you can dive, like almost anywhere in the Philippines, even taking a boat but just for a short distance.
      Do you have addresses and emails to provide me?
      Thank you for the photos and enjoy we imagine pretty well.

    3. Do as I did: try a little Google search and you'll find... 😉

      On the other hand, prices are not like in the Philippines, here. Everything is very dear to Raja Ampat. Right now, I'm at Sorido Bay Resort, which is at the heart of the best dive sites. There is the Kri Eco Resort, which is more rustic. The infos are on http://www.papua-diving.com/

      Otherwise, there are plenty of other resorts in the area. But I'll leave you to look, it's not that complicated...

  3. hello corinne,
    I dream of returning to rajah ampat, this time for the northern route, whose landscapes are as beautiful as those of the south. underwater, I ask neither more nor less than what I saw: mantas (3 dives), woobegongs, bump parrots ... if it interess, I post some photos on flickr (rajah ampat 2011)
    Congratulations for your blog, I found, I have the same concept as you travel and have dive almost to the same places you mentioned.
    By the way, I'm no more of a trekker than you are, but climbing the rinjanni in lombok left me with an unforgettable memory. the kelimutu, I've been thinking about it for a long time and your blog makes me want it even more.

    1. Yes, Raja Ampat is truly an exceptional place. I intend to return to it. Same as you: mantas on several dives, and not just the mantas site, woobegong sharks very often, blackheads, humpback parrots, barracudas, turtles, and piles of usual tropical fauna in shambles ...

      I note for the Rinjani. As for Kelimutu, I highly recommend you !!! Short walk spectacular and very easy.
      🙂

  4. Hello Corinne,

    I discovered your blog recently and now enjoy reading it and looking at your beautiful photos. I love Southeast Asia too, having been there several times.

    I've never been diving but your photos allow me to appreciate the beauties of the underwater world. Wonderful!!! 🙂
    Mario

    1. Thanks Mario!!! Maybe one day you'll get the chance to try scuba diving? If you get the taste for it, you'll see, afterwards you'll be hooked!!!!
      8)

    1. Glad you like it!!! 🙂 I've been spending most of my days underwater lately, more than on the computer... I'll post the rest in a few days, when I'll have some time to sort out my photos.

      Raja Ampat is an amazing place for diving. Now N ° 1 in my little personal top sites in Asia!
      🙂

  5. Hello Corinne,

    What I'm about to say is easy to say after the fact, but I've been reading you for some time now, and I was surprised to see that despite all the diving sites you've done in Asia, I couldn't find anything about Raja Ampat, which for me is a must. I'd already wanted to ask you if you knew about this place, while telling myself that if you didn't mention it, it must be because you had good reasons (not yet had the time, the opportunity, the means, etc, etc....) for not having been there yet. So yes, I'm glad you've fallen under the spell of this place, personally I've been going there for 3 years, I didn't wait for the last Koh Lanta to discover it, I'm going back next September, I'm particularly fond of Manta Point on Mansuar Island. Enjoy your stay in this idyllic place. 🙄

    1. Yes, absolutely, Raja Ampat was missing from my underwater adventures... 😉 I'd been dreaming about it for a long time!!!! I hadn't yet completed the trip, a question of means, indeed... But I finally decided on a big piggy bank break, and I don't regret it. It's now a must for me too. It's now No. 1 in my little personal top of sites in Asia... I just want to go back!!!!
      😀

  6. Corinne....Always marvelous to share with us, I'm nostalgic for my last dives....dur dur...c'est presque de la torture! 😉
    Your blog is pure pleasure, I immerse myself in reading it whenever I have a little time, your photos are always so captivating ... I always dream of changing "gear", replace my compact + housing by 1 SLR num + housing + flash + ... + ...
    Good luck dear Corinne ... burst out !! Continue to enchant us ...
    Passionately diving,
    Corinne

    1. Thank you Corinne!!! 😉 It's true that switching to an SLR, for sub photography, changes everything... Delighted to succeed in enchanting you through the screen of my Little Bubbles!!!!

    1. Thank you, Marie-Julie! I must say I had some beautiful underwater subjects in Raja Ampat...

      I'd have liked to post more "live" stuff, but the internet connections weren't up to scratch. I'll wait until I'm back in France to put more images (photos and videos) online. I'm flying back tonight... 🙁

  7. Lots of underwater flora - I love it! And where there's coral, there's fish, of course. Are the seabeds similar to those in Komodo, with the same richness or better? What do you think?

    1. Ah, yes, Marie-Ange, I think you would like (love) a lot !!! The richness and variety of the underwater world, fauna and flora, is amazing, really.

      In my humble opinion, it's superior to Komodo... And perhaps also more pleasant to dive (there are violent currents in Raja Ampat too, but I found it more manageable than in Komodo). And then, on the surface, the beauty of the archipelago is, in my opinion (I love the jungle, the exuberant vegetation), more pleasant than the desiccated landscapes of the Komodo islands.

      I divided my stay into two parts: a diving cruise, then a resort strategically located in the heart of the best sites. In the end, I preferred to be on dry land. Having good conditions of comfort, while being in the heart of nature, was extraordinary, really. I'll be back to tell you all about it very soon!

      🙄

  8. It reminds me of the week on Mermaid II in 2010, my eyes are still shining.
    Same type of boat, same environment, same number of divers, unforgettable moments !!!!!

    Thank you for those dreams.

    1. I divided my stay in Raja Ampat into two parts: cruising, then resort. I preferred to be on land, though. To discover only the northern sites, the cruise is not essential, I think...

      In any case, each dive was truly unforgettable, extraordinary. All I want to do is go back!
      🙂

  9. @Corinne: "Right now, I'm at Sorido Bay Resort, which is at the heart of the best dive sites. There is right next to the Kri Eco Resort, more rustic "
    ➡ No, then I do not know what to say anymore. Everything fights the camp in this world!
    For me, Pbda.fr was "How to travel and dive cheaply with backpacker Corinne". We had information on the best guest houses and restaurants for 2 rupees. We did see a few changes with Komodo and the Princess boat, but we were still within reason, but with this stay at Raja4, we've reached the ultimate!
    Not only do we pay for a cruise on the Black Manta, which I will disregard the price for decency vis-à-vis the needy classes who frequent this blog, but in addition we go down to the Sorido with its air-conditioned bungalows on the beach (hello summary carbon !!) instead of going right next to Kri (half price and same owner) that we find a little bit "more rustic" with its huts on the water in coir.
    If it continues Dame Corinne will become the ambassador of the chain Relay and Castles and advertise for a CB in platinum by dancing an asynchronous jitter in the company of our friend Matt !!
    ...
    Workers, workers, we spoliate you, we lie to you
    The rich have more than before
    Mélenchon president !!

    1. 😆 😆 😆 Yes, it's all gone !!!! R4 is overpriced, that's for sure.

      But now the Troll breaks me all my suspense of princess varnished ...

      The Black Manta, I agree, isn't cheap. But when you find a promotion with free domestic flights and free Nitrox, well, you're tempted to break the piggy bank...

      And then, when you've also broken the piggy bank for a reservation at the Kri Eco Resort, and you learn between two dives and two SMS exchanges that the Kri is undergoing maintenance and that you're going to be upgraded to the very comfortable Sorido Bay Resort next door for not a penny more, well, you don't sulk your pleasure, and you tell yourself that you really are a princess... Especially when you're the only diver in the resort... With her guide all to herself...

      😀

    2. No, I don't believe it 😯
      Did you have the Sorido resort all to yourself?
      You're not going to tell us that there were also 20 mantas at the Mansuar cleaning station and 500 barracudas at Cape Kri?

    3. Yes, the Sorido almost for me alone!!!! 😀 8) 😀
      And in the evening, around the table, we had the right to the incredible stories of Max, master of the place ... Sacred character.

      In fact, the other guests (also upgraded free of charge from the Kri) were just a family of Dutch snorkelers, missionaries of sorts as I understand it, who came here for a few days' vacation. The rest of the time, they run a small school on another island in Papua...

      And, yes, there were more than 20 mantas at the cleaning station ...

      I'm a princess. 😛

  10. What I don't like about luxury resorts - I've been there, especially after spending a few days as a basic backpacker in Perenthian in '89 (no electricity, shower with water drawn from a well containing tetards....) - are the self-important, snobbish people (most of the time, they're not adventurous, and don't go to lost places like R4). I don't think that's the case with Corinne. So, if she can afford dream trips, why shouldn't she treat herself and us at the same time? There's nothing incompatible about having the means, or rather giving yourself the means, and getting off the beaten track.

    1. I didn't come across any unpleasant characters at my super resort! Just a friendly Dutch family. And what's more, I was the only diver... Another stroke of luck! I was upgraded from Kri Eco Resort, which was under maintenance, to Sorido Bay Resort... 8)
      I've treated myself to an exceptional trip, it's true. Because Raja Ampat is a really expensive destination, compared to the rest of Indonesia. But it was worth breaking the piggy bank and I'm ready to do it all over again!!!!
      😀

  11. Bravo Corinne pour ce magnifique blog !!! It finally convinced me that we absolutely must drag our flippers to this magnificent region. We're used to cruising the Maldives and coming across a wide variety of species, including mantas and whale sharks. As underwater and outdoor photography enthusiasts, I think it's a dream location! Have you ever been to the Maldives? How does it compare? If you have time, I've taken some pictures there, especially of mantas at night...
    https://vimeo.com/35087027
    Thanks again for these stories and pictures.
    Yves

    1. Guénot: thank you Yves! Yes, Raja Ampat, it's fantastic !!! I can't compare with the Maldives I don't know (yet), but it will come... 😉

      I had already spotted your video of the night mantas that I even "liked" a few days ago (I corrected the link you gave in your comment, which referred to clownfish). It's really spectacular !! 😮

  12. Bonjour, je suis convaincu par ton reportage, je suis en train de regarder les avions pour décembre janvier, c,est tout un bazard à partir de Jakarta pour arriver à Manokwari?? Where do I have to go? If you can help me it would be great...Thanks
    Yves

    1. @Guenot: you're not the first to ask, I need to write a "practical" paper on Raja Ampat. I've already talked about it in this post, in response to comments :
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/raja-ampat-kri-island-sorido-bay-resort-20120419/

      If you're aiming for Raja Ampat, you'll need to fly to Sorong. The flights I know of to Sorong take off either from Manado (North Sulawesi) or Makassar (also called Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi). You then have to fly to either city, from Denpasar (Bali) or Jakarta or Singapore, or another Asian hub.

      In general, local resorts or cruise ships can help you book domestic flights (the most frequently recommended airline is Express Air). At the end of this link, you'll find a lot of useful information:
      http://flights.indonesiamatters.com/3726-express-sorong-raja-ampat-flights/
      🙄

  13. Hello, I've been looking for reviews of diving in Raja Ampat, and what a joy to have found this link! We are going there in January 2013 and have been diving for the last 2 years on the Similan with Black Manta and White Manta. Each cruise was a pleasure. They are really very professional and very nice 🙂 and after reading such good comments by someone who has been there, I'm looking forward to it even more. it's going to be quite a trip but apparently it's worth it ❗ I'm going to bookmark this site and look forward to.............the photos 😉 See you soon!

    1. @Elaine: you won't be disappointed by Raja Ampat... It's my big crush. I went there in March 2012 and returned in July 2012.

      I've started to tell the story at the end of these links, where you'll already find quite a few photos (but I'm way behind in my stories, more posts to come) :
      March 2012 (already several posts) -> http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-raja-ampat-bali-indonesie-2012
      July 2012 (in progress) -> http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-alor-raja-ampat-indonesie-2012/

  14. I've just come back and I'll be going back!!!! How lucky I was to be able to dive and sail in this beautiful little paradise on the other side of the world...

    Rich and wild both on land and underwater ...

    Unforgettable encounters with Wobbegong and black manta rays ...

    I was on the Aurora magnificent pinisi that I highly recommend!!!!

    The archipelago of the four kings is engraved in my heart forever ...

  15. hi j pars for indonesia, qqun can give me a good pipe question price housing and diving raja ampat (email, site, ...) thank you

  16. Your underwater photos are superb (the others too), it is necessary at all costs that I show your blog to my friend who starts as a diving instructor, he will love and hallucinate!

    1. @Manon: I have to admit that Raja Ampat is an exceptional region, the beauty and richness of the underwater world surpass anything I've seen elsewhere...
      🙄

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