For our latest back-to-back trips to Raja Ampat aboard the awesome Dewi Nusantara we decided to focus each of the trips of a particular area of Raja Ampat. The second trip focused primarily on the southern region of Misool. The first trip spent its time in the north, heading up to Wayag, the equator islands, and the Dampier Strait. Conditions were excellent and so were the photo ops!
Northern Raja Ampat
Up north we were greeted at Wai island by manta trains! We had previously, during our time with Kararu, spent a lot of time diving the Wai area where Max Ammer had his first resort. Well known for its WWII airplane wrecks it was also a good spot for mantas.
Heading further north into the Dampier Strait we came across a Wobbegong shark party at Saonek jetty. Burt and I, deciding to shoot some wide angle at the Jetty headed away from he group and managed to come across six individuals, with some sharing the same cover.
Citrus Ridge was displaying its citrus colors in rare form! With a rather stiff current the soft corals were wide open and hanging on for dear life!
Yeben. What a terrible place. No one should dive there…ever. Except us 😉 What an amazing dive spot – sharks, baitfish, soft corals. Yeben has it all!
For this trip we headed over into the equator islands diving a rare spot known as Canggo. This exposed pinnacle has several swim throughs and it covered in fish.
As always,a stop at Aerborek is absolutely necessary. Although the school of scad had moved off the soft corals and batfish were still present.
Another special treat, the Passage. Described by Sir Alfred Russell Wallace in great detail in the Malay Archipelago it has most likely changed very little since then. Appearing to be a river it is actually a salt water passage between the island of Waigeo and the its smaller neighbor Gam. The eddies are rich with macro life and large fans and soft corals growing right up to the surface with mangroves and overhanging trees visible through snell’s window.
Caverns with tunicate colonies and colorful leaf detritus are a highlight.
Melissa’s Garden at Penemu was on fire! The hard corals were alive with Anthias and Damsels pulsing in the current. The large plateau is one of the best examples of healthy hard croals in Raja Ampat.
At nearby SSS our secret “Split Shot Site” we got the Dewi’s kayaks down and had a sunset split shot session.
Rounding out the awesome north we headed by Batanta on the way in to do some awesome much diving. Nudi madness ensued…
Southern Raja Ampat
For the second trip it was time for soft corals and fish down south in Misool. The colors, biodiversity and biomass in Misool are staggering and definitely one of the greatest dive destinations on the planet.
Around some of the smaller karst islands we had schools of orbicular batfish hanging out in the swell creating interesting backdrops.
Schooling barracuda at sunset and a large school of long fin batfish made appearances as well.
As Wayil there were still some baitfish schools hanging around flying over the shallow reefs.
Bubbles trapped under the karst at high tide made for interesting texture photos.
We always like to try new things. We’ve been hearing about the marine lakes of Raja Ampat for years and finally got word of an easily accessible one that also had stingless jellyfish. We loved Palau and were ready to see what we had right here in our own back yard. The result, awesome!
After a few hours snorkeling with the jellyfish we took the tender boats back into the karst island maze to find one of the larger caves and snorkeled some more!
Outside the caves are also burial caverns (you can’t bury someone in Karst so they just put the remains in caverns).
Two more great Raja Ampat trips in our memories and our Lightroom catalogs. Big thanks to the awesome crew of the Dewi Nusantara and our super-fun guests!