Many scuba divers and snorkelers alike place Raja Ampat at the very top of their bucket list due to the truly psychedelic nature of the marine life dwelling there. Pygmy seahorses, pipefishes, frogfish, tiny blue-ringed octopuses, glowing mollusks, massive bright blue whale sharks, white tip and black tip reef sharks, manta rays, parrot fish--the list of vividly colored and fascinating species goes on and on. If you can’t wait to strap on your tanks, or even if you opt for fins and a snorkel, you’ve got to get to this place!
Crystal blue waters flow in and around the four main islands, Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and Salawati from which Raja Ampat, “the four kings” in Indonesian, gets its name. Located in the northwest corner of Indonesia's West Papua province, many additional islands are included in the archipelago combining to include over 40,000 square kilometers of land. With emerald green mangrove forests, flowering rhododendrons, and hundreds of other plant species, many of which live only in Raja Ampat, the view above the water is also spectacular!
But what makes Raja Ampat so unbelievably biodiverse?
High sea temperatures throughout the year contribute to making Raja Ampat possibly the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world. Lack of human visitors also helps keep this region pristine and thriving. Yet what plays the biggest role in its diversity is its location.
Sitting in the middle of the Coral Triangle right at the confluence of the Indian and Pacific oceans creates a powerful “throughflow” pushing water from the Pacific with great force through the islands. This flow creates some of the strongest currents on earth carrying larvae and millions of eggs through the region for many species to thrive on. Trenches also protect marine life from sudden temperature increases.
If you’re like me and the thought of getting underwater to see some of the most outrageous colors and textures on earth gets you all weak in the knees, it’s time to take advantage of one of Wild Nectar’s very special voyages to this region.
The classic expedition vessel, Heritage Adventurer carrying 140 passengers, will take you way off the tourist routes for 19 days, and will have you exploring misty tropical montane rainforests, visiting bagans (handmade floating platforms) of local fishermen, as well as snorkeling the incredible diversity of these islands. This program includes Komodo National Park and Papua New Guinea too.
And then there's the lovely, 30 passenger yacht, Aqua Blu, offering three outstanding Indonesian itineraries including one that focuses entirely on Raja Ampat. This ship has its own dive master ready to show scuba divers the Raja Ampat they’ve been dreaming of. Snorkelers are not left behind either, and enjoy a snorkeling excursion almost every day. Visit a local pearl farm, witness traditional dancing at the Papuan village of Yensawai, plus snorkel and dive to your heart’s content on this unforgettable voyage. This ship also travels to Ambon & the Spice Islands plus from Bali to Komodo National Park where the komodo dragons live. Save 20% when you book early on the Aqua Blu!
I hope I’ve convinced you that you simply must see Raja Ampat. There’s no place on earth harboring this much diversity of species and these magnificent colors. Whether you snorkel, dive or just want to get far away from it all, Raja Ampat is waiting for you. Contact us and we’ll help you get there.