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Is Raja Ampat the best diving in the world?

Raja Ampat Dive site Shadow reef review

Are you one of those divers who has dived all over the world and always looking for best reefs, the most fishes or the smallest nudis?

Then you are at the right place for here we have a list of the mesmerising Raja Ampat dives sites which are a must-see in Indonesia.

I have dived all over the world, and Raja Ampat might be one of the best places I have ever dived.

I did a two-weeks cruise onto the Ilike Liveaboard and got to experience some of the most famous Raja Ampat Dive sites.

So, let’s dive right into their details without further ado.

 

1) Raja Ampat dive sites: Melissa Garden.

Melissa Garden is more of a dreamy place with the wealthiest blue waters surrounding the three lovely seamounts which are there right in the middle. The coral bed surrounding it is full of vibrant colours which are a significant attraction for the crowds of blue fusiliers swimming there.

Raja Ampat Dive sites: Melissa garden

Raja Ampat Dive sites: Melissa garden

2) Raja Ampat dive sites: My Reef.

If you are a marine life junkie, then you will love My Reef for it has so many fish and shark species that you can explore.

This reef is more of a large pinnacle extending 30 meters beyond the island and has some super strong water currents sometimes.

Heed to the current warning once you are there and sometimes you might have to do a negative entry and swim hard to get to the reef. But once you arrive there, the schools of big barracudas and snappers will greet you, and you will be at a loss at where to look and where not to.

So Many sharks patrol this reef that we quickly stop counting them.

We also saw an oceanic Manta towards the end of the dive. Don’t miss this dive site!

Raja Ampat diving: my reef

Raja Ampat diving: my reef

Raja Ampat diving: my reef

Raja Ampat diving: my reef

Raja Ampat diving: my reef

3) Raja Ampat dive sites: Three Sisters.

Three Sisters is a unique diving site at Misool which has three limestone projections embedded in water.

They even look a bit like the Australians’ three sisters but underwater.

The three rocks are further beautified by the walls that follow them and the blurriness caused by nutrient-rich water.

The various species of marine life like sponges, turtles, Manti shrimps, seahorses, and crabs there further enhance the appeal of the Three Sisters.

There is a lot of black corals ( which is actually red, yellow or purple) You can even climb up the slope to get a better view of fusiliers and other hypnotic sea creatures and fall in love with nature more.

Raja Ampat dive sites: Three sisters

Raja Ampat dive sites: Three sisters

4) Raja Ampat dive sites: Edi’s Cave.

Edi’s Cave opens 2 to 8 meters deep and has exotic sea views to feast the visitors’ eyes.

This wall dive has numerous nudibranchs which keep you company throughout your dive around the cave.

The mysterious aura of Edi’s Cave makes its tunnel-like dive so much more exciting and rewarding.

Dive sites rajat ampat: edy's cave

5) Raja Ampat dive sites: Farondi’s Cave.

Farondi’s Cave is a lovely and aesthetically rich dive site at Raja Ampat which you will not be able to get enough of. The exit of this dive is some 20 meters deep and has a lifetime's worth of experience with beautiful sea creatures.

The nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses swarming the waters of this dive are so appealing to the eye that you can hardly even think of getting bored of the view, no matter how long you look at them. A family of blue parrots was patrolling the area.

Raja Ampat Dive site

6) Raja Ampat dive sites: Shadow Reef.

Diving in Raja Ampat is at its best in the beautiful blue waters of Shadow Reef in Misool.

The geographical aspects of this dive site are quite pleasant to look at, so are the schools of fishes swimming there. From small fish species to massive sharks and mantas, there is so much of the marine life to come across and interact with.

The encounter with each marine animal is of its own worth as it has so many things associated with it. Shadow Reef has a beautiful underwater pinnacle whose top runs from east to west for starting at about 5 meters.

This dive site is a hub of corals which include potato corals, soft corals, and brown leather corals. White and grey reefs are predominant there along with fusiliers, baby sharks, and jacks. If you dive this site close to sunset, you have a higher chance of seeing them hunting. In addition to these, parrot fish, oceanic triggerfish, octopus, and batfishes are all present there in abundance.

If you are particularly lucky on your diving day, you might even come across whales, dolphins, wobbegong sharks or whale sharks. We also saw over 15 manta’s (both reefs and oceanic mantas), and they stayed with us for the whole 60 minutes dive.

 

Raja Ampat Dive site: Shadow reef

Raja Ampat Dive site: Shadow reef

Raja Ampat Dive site: Shadow reef

Raja Ampat Dive site: Shadow mountain

7) Raja Ampat dive sites: Boo Ridge.

Boo Ridge beside Boo Island is an impressive dive site which has a steep slope.

The diving ridge is more of a continuation of the island where a lot of marine life varieties are present.

If you want to see some cool long nose emperor fish that change their colour like a chameleon, then this dive is totally your place to be at.

Triggerfish, moray eels, turtles, white tips sharks, barracudas, sea fans and seahorses are some of the lovely sea creatures that you can hope to come across at Boo Ridge dive.

On the top, some parts are very colourful corals, but the waves have damaged some others. We also swam with two mantas which we were told is unusual for this site.

Raja Ampat Dive site: boo ridge

Raja Ampat Dive site: boo ridge

8) Raja Ampat dive sites: Boo Window.

Boo Window is a dive site which connects the Boos Island with Jamur Island.

The loveliness of this underwater beauty is further magnified by the soft corals which cover the rocks there.

The slope is steep, and there are corals on the surface of the slope. The name for Boo Window comes from a hole in the rock which is there at 5 meters into the slope. There, you can see so many turtles, fusiliers, wobbegongs, and jacks.

The corals are further beautified by the schools of fishes swimming over them and giving them a new life.

We again saw three mantas and a few large grey tips sharks.

Raja Ampat Dive site: boo Window

Raja Ampat Dive site: boo Window

9) Raja Ampat dive sites: Jackpot.

This is a secret dive site that not many people have dived. We felt lucky to be on Ilike liveaboard who knew about the place and get the opportunity. We were with a group of relatively advanced divers.

We got the chance to go and explore the deep pinnacles. It takes a while to get down there as the pinnacle only starts at 23 meters.

There are many many fishes of all sorts. Schools of butterflyfishes give a wonderland feeling. We saw two grey sharks. Most amazingly for Raja Ampat, we also saw two leopards sharks which was a novel experience. One was swimming at 35 meters; the other one was sleeping.

There is also a manta cleaning station at about 25 meters where we saw two small oceanic mantas. What an amazing dive!

Raja Ampat Dive site: Jackpot secret dive site

Raja Ampat Dive site: Jackpot secret dive site

10) Raja Ampat dive sites: Four Kings.

This beautiful dive is named after the four pinnacles which are present there at the site. It is hard to dive through all four of them so you may need to go for more than one dive.

There you get to see some white sponges since the light from the sun does not go all the way down for them to develop any colour. In between the last two pinnacles, there is a dramatic canyon that drops to below 45 meters.

Barracudas often hang out in the canyon. There are a lot of batfishes, fusiliers.

We also witnessed fishes in their mating dance. in the corals above, there are nudibranchs and pipefish There is a great diversity of marine life down there which is worth exploring. What a fantastic dive four Kings was.

There were millions of anchovies and tons of bigger fish trying to feed on them. Talk about an action-packed dive. this dive site was so amazing that we did it one more time on the next day.

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

Raja Ampat Dive site: Four kings

11) Raja Ampat dive sites: Anti-chovy.

This is a unique and impressive dive site in Raja Ampat which has a large pinnacle.

The first pinnacle starts at 7-10 meters deep. The second pinnacle begins at 18 meters and goes down to 40 meters.

The dive there is more enjoyable due to the company of anchovies, wobbegong sharks and bumphead parrot fish.

Sometimes, Mola molas come and eat those anchovies, but we were not lucky enough to witness that. We did see a wobbegong shark sleeping in corals and a huge bumphead parrotfish sleeping at the end of a crack.

Raja Ampat Dive site: Anti Anchovy

Conclusions

Raja Ampat has some of the most impressive dives sites in the world. It is not easy to get to. See my article about Sorong which is the gateway to Raja Ampat.

The best way to dive Raja Ampat is with a liveaboard. I was on Ilike liveaboard, and it was a great experience. You can read my review here.

If you go all the way to Raja Ampat, you might also want to check diving at  Triton Bay and Kaimana

If you prefer to stay on land, I recommend the Misool eco-resort as the most beautiful dive sites are located in the Misool area. Don’t wait too long to go. Raja Ampat is getting increasingly popular so go there quickly while it is still relatively quiet.

Happy Diving

 

Raja Ampat Diving

Raja Ampat Diving

Raja Ampat Diving

Raja Ampat Diving

Raja Ampat Diving

Raja Ampat diving

Raja Ampat diving

Raja Ampat diving

 

Underwater macro pictures by Marc Van den Broeck who was also on the Ilike trip in Raja Ampat

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I’m Julie and Icurrently spent about half of my time in Bali and the other half traveling to fantastic destinations around the world. I LOVE traveling, Yoga, and Scuba diving. I am sharing extraordinary places and adventures with you. This is not a backpacker type site. If you are a busy business executive who want to maximize your holidays and have amazing experiences, this site if for you! I want to give you practical tips on how to enjoy amazing vacations in the most comfortable way possible. From long luxury week-ends to diving trips or 2 weeks adventures to very remote places.

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