12 Days / 11 Nights
Approximately 36 dives in total
Open Water – 40 minimum logged dives required
Day 1 – Sorong to Waisai
Day 1 starts with your pickup from either your hotel or the airport. If we are picking you up from your hotel, it is generally around 07:30 – 08:00, if you are arriving on the day of departure, it is important that your arrival time is before 07:30. We will then head directly to the Ferry Port, where you will be met by a member of staff who will accompany you to Waisai. The ferry crossing is around two hours. Upon your arrival in Waisai, it is only a short walk to transfer to La Galigo. Once onboard you will be met by the Cruise Director and a welcome drink.
After you have been shown to your rooms and unpacked your luggage, it’s time for a welcome briefing before we have some lunch, then you have some time to relax and soak up the amazing surroundings en route to our first dive of the day. Our ‘welcome dive’ is usually conducted at the nearby island of Saonek Kecil. The waters are generally calm, and is a perfect spot to get the diving going. After the sun sets over the eastern Indonesian sky, we will go looking for unusual critters in Saonek Besar, where you might also make your very first encounter with the iconic Tasselled Wobbegong Shark.
Day 2 – Dampier Strait
Whilst in the central Dampier Strait we will conduct 4 dives. The top dive sites in this area are Blue Magic, home to majestic Oceanic Manta Rays, and other large pelagics such as Spanish Mackerel and Bigeye Trevally. Next up is one of the Dampier Strait’s highlights, Sardine Reef (or simply Sardine), where armies of various fish species take the coral reef by storm on a falling tide.
After a hearty lunch, we will head to the nearby island of Mioskon, to dive its spectacularly colourful reef with an assortment of large bommies encrusted with hard and soft corals. In the evening we may get a chance to see nocturnal flying foxes leave Mioskon in large numbers as they begin their day, after which we will dive Mioskon once the sun has set, to look for the nocturnal Raja Ampat walking shark!
Day 3 – Dampier Strait
Cape Kri, arguably the top house reef in the world, was made famous by Raja Ampat pioneer Max Ammer, and is next on the itinerary. Sawandarek Jetty, further down the southern coast of Kri island, is where you will probably feel like you’re in an aquarium – only the fish are incredibly numerous, wild and free. After a hearty lunch, we will take you for another afternoon dive on Kri’s south coast, in Yenbuba Village’s Jetty.
And just to top off this (fish) action packed day, we will look for nocturnal marine critters on a night dive under Yenbuba Village’s Jetty after you soak in the stunning sunset views with the islands of Waigeo and Gam in the distant, fiery horizon.
Day 4 – Gam
Our morning kicks off at a thrilling dive site named Manta Ridge, for an opportunity to dive with the Manta Ray population often located here. We then head to Gam Island. There are some great dive sites around this area with vibrant fish covered reefs and plenty of stunning macro subjects. Two sites we regularly visit in Gam are Citrus Ridge and Mayhem.
In the late afternoon, we will take a land tour onto the peaceful Arborek Island. The village itself is tranquil and surrounded by beautiful beaches. Arborek is also home to what we consider to be a fantastic night dive, Arborek Jetty*, where we have a chance to find Walking Sharks, Blue- ringed octopus, and many other critters. As you enjoy a great night’s sleep, we will set sail for the northern islands of Raja Ampat…
Day 5 – Wayag
Awake bright and early to witness sunrise on the equator, cruising between the limestone formations that make up the island of Wayag, in preparation for the morning’s hike. These limestone islands and pinnacles have become synonymous with Raja Ampat, and the bay is also home to a Manta breeding station. The best time to hike this hill is early morning before temperatures rise, the rewards for climbing are well worth it. The beaches here are also pristine, with fine white sand and turquoise waters surrounding the limestone cliffs of the islands.
After trekking, we will endeavour to dive Figure 8 Rock, a submerged pinnacle home to large pelagic fish, and the occasional passing Manta. While you have lunch, the boat will cruise to the eastern side of Wayag. Here is where we plan to dive the legendary dive site, Cathedral, which is renowned for its spectacular topography and swim-throughs. Following the dive, we take a short trip to the Wayag Ranger station, which is also a Black Tip Reef Shark breeding area. Here we will get the chance to do some snorkelling with these baby sharks under the ranger jetty, and also conduct a night dive on the same stretch of reef.
Day 6 – Kawe + Aljuy Bay
Kawe is an island located exactly on the equator, and is one of our favourite islands to dive in the north of Raja Ampat. Dive sites visited here are very heavily dependent on day-to-day unpredictable conditions such as swell, but one of our favourite sites in the area is a very colourful coral reef (somewhat ironically) known as Black Rock. Eagle Rock (which comprises 3 separate dive sites) is well known for its Pygmy Seahorse as well as their Manta populations, and we will dive these sites late morning and early afternoon.
Around 4 pm, La Galigo will move into Aljui Bay, one of the world’s most spectacular bays to watch the sunset, and also do some great muck diving at arguably the best night dive site in all of Raja Ampat, the Cendana Pearl Farm Jetty.
Day 7 – Pianemo (a.k.a Penemu)
The iconic limestone pinnacles have become synonymous with the Raja Ampat experience, and Pianemo Lagoon is just one of many such stunning formations. The best time to hike this hill is early morning, before temperatures rise, the rewards for climbing are well worth it. Melissa’s Garden is undoubtedly the top dive in this area, with a staggering number of coral and fish species packed into this small piece of marine real estate. Its beauty needs to be seen to be believed.
We will then head to a lesser-known corner of Raja Ampat, an area known as Dayang, at the western end of Batanta island. Simply known as Dayang, this dive takes place over a shallow, sandy reef which is actually a magnet for Manta Rays, which come to this area to feed as well as conduct routine visits to their “cleaning stations” or “manta spa” (ask our Cruise Director to tell you about this fascinating aspect of their behaviour). As you relax and later enjoy a great night’s sleep, we will set sail for the southern islands of Raja Ampat…
Day 8 – Goa Farondi – Misool
We begin the diving in Misool at No Contest, a ridge that is home to an abundance of marine life, soft corals and overhangs. The second dive can be done at many sites located in the vicinity, including Pet Rock, Plateau, and Love Potion. For the third dive we will visit a popular site named Goa Farondi, where there is a chance to do some swim-throughs and meet the Bumphead parrotfish population.
Misool is a huge island, with an overwhelming multitude of smaller, satellite island clusters. There are in fact numerous “regions” within this area itself. If being surrounded by limestone pinnacles does not instil in you a sense of awe, doing a night dive amongst these towering peaks surely will!
Day 9 – Wayil – Misool
Next up we will show you the dive sites around Wayil, where you will undoubtedly experience the feeling of being far, far away from the rest of civilization … An outstanding selection of dive sites are located fairly close to each other in Wayil, and we will start with the blockbuster – Four Kings, a group of towering pinnacles which are almost too large to circumnavigate in a single dive, which also happens to attract giant Oceanic Manta Rays. Giant Trevally, Napoleon Wrasse, and large Snapper are all often found here. The oddly shaped Wedding Cake is up next (you will see why it’s called as such), which is home to some of Misool’s Pygmy Seahorse community.
Finally we will dive into Barracuda Rock, a pinnacle with an unusual underwater cavern, which is also home to a patrolling tribe of schooling Barracuda. In the afternoon we will visit the famous “Love Lagoon”, a calm, isolated body of water which has been incredibly shaped by the hands of Mother Nature into the form of a heart.
Day 10 – Fiabacet/Boo – Misool
The diving in this part of Misool is filled with the pristine coral life in the heart of Misool and Giant Manta Rays, close to the Eco Resort. Whale rock, Tank Rock and Nudi Rock are both abundant in beautiful soft coral and schools of fish, and conditions and logistics with Misool Eco Resort will decide which of the sites are dived.
The afternoon dive is at the dive site Boo West. Unique in topography, the reef is not to be missed, with excellent sea fan growth and stunning sloping reefs to explore while you anticipate the arrival of Oceanic Manta Rays. Yilliet Kecil is the night dive around here that is not to be missed, with excellent sea fan growth and stunning bommies to explore, where you will have a chance to meet the much-talked-about endemic species, the Raja Ampat walking shark! There are also hidden beaches in this area if you fancy an evening beachwalk all by yourself…
Day 11 – Warakaraket – Misool
On the penultimate day of the trip, we will dive Shadow Reef (a.k.a. Karang Bayangan/Magic Mountain), undoubtedly the blockbuster dive site in this remote corner of Raja Ampat, located in the unprotected southern waters of Misool. You can often find huge Manta Rays gliding across this incredibly ‘hard to beat’ dive site. The late morning dive is at the iconic dive site Boo Window. Unique in topography, the reef has window-like swim-throughs, and a great chance for some wide-angle photos. Secret: the sea fans here often conceal Pygmy Seahorses!
Our journey to Sorong may take around 18 hours depending on currents and prevailing weather conditions. But after an incredible trip, our crew will make sure you’re comfortable while they prepare a night of food, song and dance to party the night away with you while we set sail for Sorong.
Day 12 – Disembark in Sorong
La Galigo will be anchored in the morning around 05:00am in Sorong, in preparation for you to catch your flight, or check-in to your hotel. Guests are welcome to stay onboard until 11:00am, and our staff will assist you with transportation to your desired location. After breakfast, guests may also take the time to exchange photos and swap contact details to keep in touch with new friends and dive buddies!