Raja Ampat is the most impressive group of islands of Papua New Guinea. Raja Ampat consists of over 15.000 islands, and is known as one of the most impressive seascapes in the world. Deserted beaches and high mountain ranges dominate the landscape. Raja Ampat is also known as ‘The pearl of Papua’. Underneath the surface of the crystal clear waters lie its true treasures. The coral reefs here are the most spectacular in the world. Due to the strong currents that bring with them a multitude of nutrients, a great many species of marine live thrive in these waters.The reefs are home to ten times as much hard corals as in the Caribbean sea. Over 1000 species of tropical fish live here. Because of the isolated location of the islands of Papua, many rare species flourish. Raja Ampat is so remote it offers a glimpse of how the earth once was. Untouched by human hand nature will flourish and show us its natural splendour.
The origin of Papua New Guinea
New Guinea lies on the eastern border of the Indonesian Archipelago. This area was formed by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and over a period of 300 million years New Guinea was attached to Australia. Due to the rising of sea levels, New Guinea was detached and a new island was formed. New Guinea is located right between two tectonic plates that collided, forming a mountain range that covers the island like a giant spine. Nowadays this tropical island boasts one of the highest mountain ranges on earth and this is where we find one of the few remaining wildernesses on earth.
The Indonesian province of Papua covers the western half of New Guinea. Papua is a impenetrable island and therefor a very mystical place for those who wish to explore. The island offers a surprising variety of scenery from lush rainforests and thick mangrove to thousands of miles of deserted beaches surrounded by the most beautiful coral reefs. These ecosystems are full of life and host an abundance of colourful vegetation, hidden far into the jungle.
The area is well conserved by the setup of many marine protection areas with aims of sustainable tourism to empower the local populous. Scientists have announced that this area of the coral triangle has the most diverse marine life on the planet due to adjoining currents from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Home to many endemic fish the waters are also bursting with colour from truly breathtakingly healthy coral reefs that you can only witness here, not to mention manta ray congregations.
Travelling Raja Ampat by boat is by far the best way to discover the beauty of both land and sea life. Yacht Charter Raja Ampat takes you to the most remote places on earth. These charter yachts have been sailing these remote, mysterious waters for years. Sailing around the islands one discovers unequalled natural beauty, both above and below sea level where you can dive the reefs of Raja Ampat.
Not only will you find a spectacular underwater world around these islands, on land many hidden treasures are there to be discovered. Orchids in dazzling colours blossom here on these islands. Many species of colourful birds live here, and mangrove grow all around the coastline. Many creatures live and breed in these dense mangrove. There is no other place on earth that inhabits more species of crabs than these islands. They appear only at low tide and it is fascinating to see these small creatures scurry on the shores in search of food. During high tide both fish and birds are on the lookout for food. Birds of prey wait patiently, high up in the branches, to wait for the right moment to plunge down and catch fish.
The north-western coast of Papua lies directly in the flow of the Indonesian current, here the sea level is higher and as this warmer water gets pushed alongside the island, the current gets stronger and brings with it an abundance of marine life. On the soft and hard coral of the reefs live many colourful and rare creatures. One of these is the pygmee seahorse which only grows up to 4 inches, it is perfectly camouflaged with its pink coral colour and soft texture. Many experienced divers come here to admire this rare and beautiful creature. As the waters of Raja Ampat hold an abundance of food for sharks, many species can be found here, for example the black tip reef shark. These notorious hunters thrive in the shallow waters alongside the coast, and their presence marks the healthy condition of the reefs. To dive Raja Ampat will be an experience of a lifetime. Raja Ampat and its coral triangle hosts the highest number of fish species anywhere to be found, and will show you the most divers underwater world on earth.
Raja Ampat’s extraordinary wildlife Encounter some incredible species. Raja Ampat is part of the hidden world of Papua. Because of it’s isolated location, unique evolution took place. Here we find a species that belongs tot he most rare and endangered bird species on earth. The magnificent red bird of paradise exists on only 4 small islets in this area. Each morning, at daybreak, it performs a tempting dance on the branches showing off it’s brightly coloured feathers in order to attract the females. Early morning, before sunrise a local guide taks us on a hike to observe this breathtaking spectacle.
In the caves throughout the islands of Papua live one of the biggest population of flying foxes. Already 3o species have been discovered in these caves and undoubtedly there are more to be discovered. Most of these flying foxes only exist here. They have an important part in the circle of life here on these islands. They live on a diet of fruits that grow on the islands and spread the seeds so trees can reproduce.The flying foxes maintain the forests so they can thrive, their role is crucial for the preservation of the rainforests.
The major parts of the islands is covered in dense rainforests, whereas the coastline offers space and feed for many see creatures. There are miles of pristine beaches that attract for instance the endangered leatherback turtle. This breed of turtle is the biggest one on earth and can measure up to 4 feet(2 meters) long and can weigh over 2000 pound. It is here that she lays her eggs. This remote area is the only place on earth where the leatherback turtle still exists.
Wayang is Raja Ampat’s famous mushroom shaped island. On a tour climbing the highest point of te island we reach a breathtaking panoramic point of view. White sandy beaches mark the coastline and crystal clear turquoise waters surround the atolls. Rough coves and bright green atolls as far as the eye can see. This stunning view will surely be a dream come true for nature lovers as well as divers. The underwater world around the islands will never cease to amaze you. The boats in Raja Ampat will take you to the most spectacular diving spots in these waters.
In these waters the world record for number of fish species in one dive was reported. In, and around these abundant reefs you will encounter large school of predator fish such, as trevally, barracuda and tuna. The rare wobbegong shark is often spotted here. After diving there are miles of sandy beaches to enjoy and relax.
One of the closest islands to the Equator in Raja Ampat, Kawe Island offers spectacular white sand beaches and beautiful scenery including a lovely waterfall on the western side of the island. There are fantastic opportunities for diving and snorkeling here too where you will find impressive coral formations teeming with schools of fish. You may even be lucky enough to swim with manta rays.
Diving in Kawe
Kawe’s advantageous geographical position and varied habitats translate into world-class sites that attract marine life like powerful magnets. Some of The 4 Kings richest fish life, especially when the currents run through the off shore coral labyrinths. An outstanding site where reefs are vibrant with multicolour sea fans that are home to several kind of pygmy seahorse, massive bommies where shy blennies hide among encrusting sponges, with thick black coral bushes surrounded by glassfish dashing above, wobbegong sharks, manta rays and schooling barracudas as well as the occasional reef shark checking out the area. Kawe sites are perfect for both wide and macro scenery.
If you want to encounter giant manta rays, this is the place to find them. Manta rays come to these waters to get cleaned and to feed. The current brings plankton on which the manta feeds. Here you will find the best opportunity to observe these graceful giants.
One of the best macro sites around the northern part of The 4 Kings, the bay’s sheltered waters provide good habitat for many kinds of critters. The jetties have become overgrown with encrusting marine life over time and attract a nice mix of critters. Aljui bay will fill out your critter list; blue ring octopus, bobtail squid, ghost pipefish, ribbon eel, toadfish or wobbegong shark and especially on night dives this is one of the places that you would not want to miss…the best!
A labyrinth of thousands of small mushroom like islands form tiny dots of lagoons with sparking white sand surrounded by extensive formations that make the Misool area one of the most wonderful places on earth. Not only will the land scenery take your breath away but the underwater scenery is even better and holds some of the richest species in the world! Massive seamounts, rocky outcrops, lime stone arches with windows that are overgrown by fountains of life; clouds of glassfish dancing away from tuna and golden jacks, a ground for mobula rays drifting by with the sweeping of currents. It’s really hard to take it all in, with so much action happening at once.
Beneath Penemu’s surface, submerged ridges extend in all directions, schooling fish whipped into feeding frenzies by the gusting current that count as some of the strongest currents in the Dampier Strait. With the decent water flow, massive schools of fusiliers swarm over the divers, while underneath the reef becomes a diffusion with huge patches of pastel colours, anthias, turtle, and napoleon wrasse. Bumphead parrotfish and giant trevallies join in the frenzy as well as rainbow runners and barracudas that gather in the blue near by. Fam’s delicate hard coral gardens, are full of life in the shallows and make it a wonderful snorkelling spot during your surface interval or you can just explore the picturesque white sandy beaches surrounded by clear turquoise blue water.
The best time of year to travel Raja Ampat is from October to April. Most yachts sailing in Raja Ampat are anchored here during the season. The best conditions are in, and around this period. We recommend to have at least a Padi Advanced Open Water certificate. This will give you the opportunity to enjoy your diving experience tot he max! Because of the strong currents and challenging divesites some experience will be to your advantage. There are Padi certified and experienced dive guides and teachers on every yacht sailing Raja Ampat. They will safely guide you through the dive sites and take you to the highlights and hidden under water treasures of Raja Ampat Diving. Luxury charters in Raja Ampat will offer you the possibility to organise your personal favourite activities and offer you a made to measure itinerary. Get ready for a dream holiday experience with Yacht Charter Indonesia.
Please contact us for any questions about Raja Ampat.