In West Papua lies the 1,500 islands that comprise the Raja Ampat archipelago. The four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo have been found to house astonishing levels of marine life - with 75% of the world’s total hard coral species!
West Papua diving offers pristine coral reefs, captivating swim-throughs, cavern, and tunnels as well as the chance to drift effortlessly among pinnacles and walls in the ocean’s strength. Sight sharks at Mansuar Island, large groups of manta rays or hunt with eagle eyes for macro critters - pygmy seahorse, frogfish and bobtail squid are all residents.
At Misool, the southern-most island of Raja Ampat, venture out under the light of the moon where you may discover the epaulette shark which has ingeniously crafted its fins into foot-like appendages so it can walk across the sandy seabed hunting for prey. While scuba diving in West Papua visitors can also stop at Indonesia’s largest national marine park, Cenderawasih Bay. Here, divers can spot whale sharks with ease as the resident colony feeds on the offcasts of local fishermen.
The dive resorts in West Papua are ever-increasing yet, they tend to be based in northern Raja Ampat. Misool, further south, has only one dive resort and if you intend to experience the whole of Raja Ampat and possibly Cenderawasih, visiting liveaboards are definitely a great option for you. With strong currents in the area, it’s suggested to have completed beginner dive courses before visiting this beautiful part of the world.