Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat or ‘Four Kings’, is a bucket list destination for many scuba divers. The name Four Kings comes from a local myth. The myth is about a woman who found seven eggs. Four of the eggs hatched and become kings which occupy the four major islands in the Raja Ampat Archipelago. The other three which didn’t hatch become a ghost, a woman, and a stone. Raja Ampat itself is made up of a large number of islands and is located in the middle of the Coral Triangle and is known to have the richest coral reef ecosystem in the entire world. There are several different itineraries from this Aggressor vessel. They include Raja Ampat itself, Banda Sea, and Triton Bay and new in 2017 is the Derawan Islands. Within the Coral Triangle you will find over 600 different types of coral, over 1500 species of fish and over 600 different types of mollusks.
Why Visit Raja Ampat
When you speak about Raja Ampat, it is never if you should go, but if you are able. For serious divers, this location is among the best in the world. With unrivaled marine life in terms of diversity, quality, and quantity. There are species in Raja Ampat which you will not find anywhere else. It truly is paradise for scuba divers. The climate is also very hard to beat. The air temperature hovers between 77 to 80 degrees and the water temperature ranges between 82 and 86 degrees year round.
When To Visit
The diving in Raja Ampat is fantastic year round, however, you will find that some liveaboard operators visit other areas during the months of June, July, August, and early September. During these seasons the seas can be a bit rougher than normal and the visibility a bit less. If you visit between October and April you will have a good chance of witnessing a coral bloom, which does reduce visibility a bit, but brings large congregations of fish and the ever popular manta ray out in large numbers.
The water temperatures at Raja Ampat are quite warm year round. With temperatures sitting between 82 and 86 degrees for most of the year. The diving does tend to have some currents which make it not an ideal destination for completely new divers. Much of the diving done here is essentially drift diving.
The visibility is quite good in Raja Ampat with most days sitting around 80 to 100 feet. When there are large coral blooms, the visibility can drop to around 30 to 40 feet.
Price Of Diving Raja Ampat
The liveaboard trips to Raja Ampat are mostly in the 10 day range. With pricing starting around $4500 per person for the 10 days. There are 3-4 dives offered each day with the 4th being a night dive and available based upon conditions. For divers who are serious enough to travel to Raja Ampat, the price is certainly significant, but shouldn’t be a deterrent to some of the best diving in the world!
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