The islands of Raja Ampat are the most spectacular natural phenomena in Asia. It’s certainly true when it comes to the bizarre magnificence of the limestone karst islands, and on the marine bio front, well, science deemed Raja Ampat the winner years ago.
Without roads or ferries, the only way to see Asia’s great natural wonder is by boat.
What you will see is the most diverse oceanic life on earth, set amongst a sculptured island landscape that is otherworldly.
The choice we offer is a much bigger experience than just diving, as the real ‘wow’ of Raja Ampat is where the reef meets the rainforest. This means beaches, karst cruising, villages, snorkelling, kayaking, beach dinner parties, and a ‘see it all’ agenda.
The waters of Raja Ampat are the richest on earth. With reefs dying all over the planet, humanity is lucky that Raja Ampat’s magnificent marine life is still in such pristine condition. Just grab a snorkel and mask, and go see for yourself…you do not need to go far from a boat to be amazed. Your kids may never see reef so good.
The real out-of-this-world splendour of Raja Ampat is the limestone karst islets, bays and canyons, which are unmatched worldwide. You may have seen one of the drone shots showing bays of aqua waters dotted with towering cone spires or mushroom isles, carpeted in a Jurassic biomass. Indeed it is unbelievably beautiful in parts. To see it all, we offer a different itinerary to a dive boat, aiming to take in all the best karst country, the hidden bays, jungle passages and Melanesian villages.
SORONG – WAISAI – KABUI BAY
Pick up from the airport or hotel.
9am fast ferry departure from Sorong to Waisai.
Welcome drink and introduction of the boat, cruise and team. Lunch on board while heading to a beach inside Kabui bay for a swim. There are some pretty spectacular beaches along the dense jungle coast of Kabui bay. Kabui Bay’s corner is dotted with limestone karst islands that burst out of the water, making for quite an extra-terrestrial excursion, and a disused jetty in the middle of this sculptured madness, makes for a curious, first night overnight stopover.
Takes down a river-like passage between Gam and Waigeo, where it’s fun to don a mask and glide with the current along the 1km ‘Disneyland’ river cruise. Along the way, psychedelic coral vies for attention, peacefully set under the overhanging jungle branches. It’s a rare experience.
A couple of picture perfect islands greet us, about 18 nautical miles further on, offering us choice of our first village jetty stop over at maybe Mutus, where the bait fish under the jetty part their waters as though we are Moses, and the local kids show off their best back flips. Wind direction dictates the choice of stopover here.
The poster child islands of Raja Ampat are known as Wayag, and everyone wants to see this phenomena, yet few are able to get there. At 37nm, this is a long run, so we start early, and once there, the magnificence and beauty of Wayag is overwhelming. Karst cone shaped islands fill this lagoon. Here Bigkanu backs itself onto its own circular sand spit beach, to set up dining tables ashore for a two night stay. We simply step off the stern of the boat to a beach dinner party under the trees, stars aglow, and nature’s most beautiful restaurant scene will unfolds.
From this private Wayag beach, we mount mini expeditions by tender. There is great snorkelling off the ranger’s station, or wading amongst the baby reef sharks. Another tidal joy ride, awaits the amateur snorkeler in Wayag’s inner azure passages, this time accompanied by gruff, bump head parrot fish. Most everyone wants to climb the Wayag karst pinnacle and get that amazing pan shot photo, in a sea of islets. This location is surely a finalist for the world’s most beautiful natural anchorage. Two nights here is almost life changing, and few want to leave.
And it’s off to Wayag’s little cousin Penemu, and while most dive boats sit outside the lagoon, we squeeze between the cliff walls to tie up between two karst islets, climbing the stairs to the lookout, usually all to ourselves. Once again, we are surrounded by tortured limestone sculptures. It’s like parking in a giant sculpture by the sea.
DAMPIER STRAIGHT – ARBOREK
Takes us through the Dampier Straights to Arborek and onto to the island village of Friwen, with Manta cleaning stations along the way. This area is the most visitor active. The island home of Friwen is a sort of semi orderly, German Protestant missionary village, blessed with a little beach of great charm, with an inviting swing rope hanging out of the azure drop off.
Day 7 :
We wake alongside the Friwen village jetty after a final dinner party on the wharf the night before, and it’s off in the tenders to explore the canyon where Alfred Wallace made his camp, or a swim along the coral gardens of Friwen. BirdO’s can take the guided option of a hike to see the dawn shimmy of the Bird of Paradise on the mainland here (extre guide cost). The 1400 Waisai ferry gets those of us needing to return to Sorong, back near 5pm, and anyone wanting to stay a few more days at a quiet island homestay has a big range of choice on, or near Friwen Island.