Sorong Diving

Departing from Sorong via liveaboard will find you immersed among 1,300 fish, 600 coral and 699 mollusc species in the incredibly diverse area of Raja Ampat or surrounded by majestic whale shark in the bay of Cenderawasih. Designate your time to discovering the Four Kings 1,500 islands or combine it with Cenderawasih to encounter dugongs, turtles, and dolphins!

Diving in Sorong

Sorong is the largest city of West Papua, well known as the access point for the incredible scuba diving found at Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. 

Sorong diving connects tourists to Raja Ampat’s remote, pristine reefs and marine diversity which has been found to be considerably greater than other diving locations across the world. Divers can also travel by liveaboard to Canderawasih Bay, which is famous for whale shark sightings, four species of sea turtle as well as dolphins and dugongs.

There is no scuba diving directly from Sorong, yet, the port city is the common access point to the aquamarine waters of Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay. Liveaboards, which allow divers to see a wider range of dive sites, will pick you up from Sorong’s port and dive resorts offer transfers. Raja Ampat dive resorts do not often access the south of Raja and hence visiting liveaboards are the best way to visit the south as well as Cenderawasih Bay.

Best time to dive

The Papua provinces have two rainy seasons, from November to December and again in July through to August. From July to September, strong winds and rains can cause rough seas, yet, it is possible to enjoy scuba diving in West Papua all-year-round since several boats will pick divers up from Sorong and head along the north coast of Papua to Cenderawasih Bay sheltered from the rough seas. 

Most Indonesian liveaboards visit Raja Ampat during October until the end of July and Cenderawasih Bay from June to October, so scuba diving in Sorong is possible throughout the year. From October to April at Raja Ampat, plankton blooms reduce visibility but bring droves of manta rays.

Types of diving

While scuba diving in Raja Ampat, divers can find themselves hunting for macro critters in bays and along multi-hued coral-encompassed walls or effortlessly drifting among thousands of fish at the likes of Cape Kri. At Goa Besar located from the small isle of Farondi, walls give way to overhanging ledges with tunnels carved into the incredible limestone rocks while at Verena’s Garden, you can delve into caverns. There are even wrecks from World War II, at Cross Wreck, and pinnacles with strong currents.

As most Raja Ampat sites experience current, it’s not suitable for novice divers but it’s definitely worth enrolling in a dive course at your local dive centre to witness Raja’s awe-inspiring beauty. If you head to Cenderawasih Bay, you can expect whale shark dives, World War II wrecks as well as muck dives in black volcanic sand.

What to see

With over 1,500 fish species, scuba diving from Sorong at Raja Ampat is a pure kaleidoscope of colour. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as the rare wobbegong while at Mansuar Island, and you are likely to encounter large groups of manta rays and turtles. Lucky divers may even have some interaction with the resident pods of dolphin or migratory whales!

Raja Ampat has 75% of the coral species known to the world and among them hide nudibranch and scorpionfish as the fascinating iridescent bobtail squid and lethal blue-ringed octopus dwell in sandy patches. At Cenderawasih, macro critters are also prominent, from pygmy seahorse, frogfish, tiger prawn and various sea snakes.

Cenderawasih Bay also houses the green sea turtle, hawksbill, Pacific ridley, and leatherback - where you can see all in one location! Whale sharks can be seen all-year-round feeding on the small fish that slip from fishermen's nets while dolphins and dugongs are also known to the area.

Best places to dive

At Raja Ampat’s southern region, delve into Boo Windows with two swim-through holes in the surface of the rock. Take incredible underwater shots while witnessing everything from the smallest of critters to passing pelagics. Also located in the southern Misool region is Magic Mountain, an impressive seamount and ridge swarming with fish. Numerous manta rays visit the site, which acts as a cleaning station, and barracuda, reef sharks, and Napoleon wrasse are all known visitors.

In Northern Raja, lies Cape Kri, known for having an extensive number of fish species - 374 species were counted on just one single dive! Divers will find themselves immersed in a fantastic coral garden with black and whitetip reef sharks passing through and turtles resting on bommies. It’s pure marine magic.

Cenderawasih is known for whale sharks and rightly so, divers have the opportunity to be surrounded by whale sharks in clear water as they feed on the discarded fish from local fishing platforms at Kwatisore Bay. It’s an experience that isn’t likely to be forgotten. At Shinwa Maru, descend down onto a wreck littered with treasures, from dishes, beer bottles, and sake bottles. Lying between 16 and 34-metres this wreck is in recreational limits.