Meridian Aventure Dive Brings you Raja Ampat 7 of the Best
While the Last Paradise is an incredible tropical destination with many white beaches lined with coconut trees and blue waters. It is underwater where Raja Ampat really comes to life.
Known as the most diverse marine eco system in the world these warm tropical waters offer the best diving experience for divers of all levels.
The nutrient rich waters of the Dampier straits that separate the islands of Waigeo and Bantana are where you will find over 100 of the world’s best dive sites. From gentle slope dives, incredible walls, and unique Jetty dives Raja Ampat has it all. These colourful dive sites are home to at least 75% of the worlds known coral species where over one thousand species of fish and seven hundred species of molluscs make their home in these nutrient rich waters and dense coral formations.
From the incredibly rare and small Pigmy Seahorse that can be spotted by the eager eyed and patient to the majestic Oceanic Manta Rays that dance glide over the shallow reefs in the Summer months divers who visit are treated to a diving experience that is unrivalled.
TOP DIVE SITES
Raja Ampat is known for its incredibly diverse marine life and the large number of dive sites the area has to offer. While every dive site has unique attractions and worth the visit, we have compiled a list of our favourites.
Table of Contents
Near the Fam Islands in the West of Raja Ampat. Three inconspicuous islands give no indication that below is one of the most biodiverse dive sites in the world. Melissa’s Garden is a shallow large pinnacle with gentle slopes that stretch between the above islands. The fields of coral that grow on the reef are hugely impressive.
A sea of colours as far as the eye can see. With groups of the same colour growing together it is easy to think that these corals were planted. Among the colourful hard coral growth thousands of fish swim. Divers often comment that when diving Melissa’s Garden there is too much to see and take in. This site is all that makes Raja Ampat the best diving destination in the world.
Sauwandarek Jetty is an utterly unique dive site. From the large schools of fish that are found under the jetty to the massive turtles that make their homes in the sloping reef. Sauwandarek Jetty is an easy dive site to navigate and boasts some of the most impressive coral growth and marine life that makes your jaw drop. This dive site is part of a coral regrowth programme and many wire structures including an airplane can be seen near the jetty sporting new corals. This is the perfect dive site for divers and snorkellers to experience masses of fish on the colourful shallow reefs.
A single uninhabited island marks this incredible dive site, that is found in the centre of the Dampier Strait. This pinnacle has a unique topography found on a dive site. One side of this pinnacle is home to a wall that stretches into the depths and is lined with overhangs, small caverns, and large boulders where large groups of groupers and sweet lips can be found. On the other side the reef gently slopes where fields of colourful coral are home to smaller schooling fish a macro marine life. This is a dive site that cannot be described in words but rather needs to be experienced.
A relatively undived reef. Neu reef lies in a massive reef system with many different dive sites. What sets Neu Reef apart from the rest is the incredible diversity that can be found on this slope dive. When dived in stronger currents the reef is home to thousands of schooling fish.
From fusiliers, snappers and barracudas that can be seen hovering above the soft coral growth. While on the slack tides the reef is perfect to hunt for countless macro creatures, from the tiny pigmy seahorse to the blue ring octopus. One totally unique sighting that divers can look forward to are the garden eels that are found int the sandy patches between the slopes of Neu Reef.
Do not let the name fool you. The dive itself is an easy pinnacle dive the mayhem is in the masses of marine life that converge on this dive site. Mayhem is home to masses of reef sharks and the occasional manta sighting. Mayhem is the perfect dive site to just. Relax and look at all the life around you.
Tucked away in the Yangelo area Citrus Ridge is found in the channel that runs through the islands of the region. The stronger currents that flow through this cut brings masses of fish that group together between the citrus-coloured soft coral growth that is found on the pinnacles that gives the site its name. As you make your way between these pinnacles you can expect to see barracuda, wobbegong sharks and many reef sharks. End of the dive in the shallows in the clear waters of the mangrove forests that line the coastline of this area.
Cape Kri might be one of the most famous dive sites in Raja Ampat. This slope dive is found by. The island of Kri and the reef stretches for hundreds of meters. The deep waters off the slope and the location of the island are the perfect combination for large game fish sightings. The stronger currents that flow around this dive site attracts large numbers of tuna, giant trevally, and reef sharks. For those who prefer pelagic life. This is the dive for you.
The most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. On your visit to Raja Ampat keep an eye out for some of the most unique and rare in the world
Manta Rays can be seen in numerous diving destinations, but Raja Ampat is the only place in the world were the Oceanic and Reef Mantas can be seen interacting on the same reefs. These mantas can be found during the Summer months on popular dive sites like Blue Magic and Manta Sandy.
Raja Ampat is home to hundreds of macro marine creatures. One of the rarest is the Pigmy Seahorse. These tiny seahorses come in many colours and sizes with most not being much larger than the size of your pinkie nail. These seahorses will spend their entire lives on the same patch of coral but are still incredibly elusive.
Of the seven species of sea turtles four of which can be found in Raja Ampat. Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Oilive Ridleys all call the region their home. These turtles can be found on many dive sites in the area and often more than one will be seen on the same dive. Some are also known to make nests on certain dive sites and have grown to very impressive sizes.
The Epaulette Shark also known as the walking shark is part of the carpet shark family and a unique sight to see. These small sharks are found on shallow reefs in the area where the hide from predators while feeding on smaller fish and molluscs in the tidal pool. Once the water level drops these sharks are found walking on land. These unique sharks can survive on land for a few hours on end and make use of their long tails and pectoral fins to move around.
This tiny and highly toxic octopus is found in the shallow reefs of Raja Ampat. This octopus has distinct vivid blue rings that decorate their bodies. But do not be fooled by their impressive looks. These tiny creatures are highly toxic, and their venom can kill 26 human adults in minutes. While this octopus is incredible to observe to keep your distance when you spot one.
While not a common sighting Raja Ampat is home to a unique marine mammal. The dugong can be found in the shallow seagrass areas found in many bays in Raja Ampat. The mammals are related to the more common and well know manatees. The dugong has been given the nickname of mermaids by the local community. These incredibly shy animals can grow up to 2m and 300kg in size but are gentle when encountered.
With the incredible marine diversity and dive sites that cater to all levels of divers, Raja Ampat must be a visit destination for all those who want to be truly surrounded by the underwater world.
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.
The sweeping spine of Indonesia’s archipelago is an underwater treasure trove, and the Raja Ampat Islands are often overlooked. Raja Ampat is one of Indonesia’s most captivating diving grounds and is truly a paradise on earth.
Visit our online platforms:
Written By Jean-Pierre Nathrass
Photo Credit: Brandon Celine
For more from Meridian Adventure Dive try: Homestay Experiences in Raja Ampat