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RAJA AMPAT DIVING FACTS

raja ampat divingIf you have not yet heard much about the Raja Ampat island group then chances are you soon will. The region has very recently received a lot of media attention for its phenomenal biodiversity but yet still remains virtually untouched by tourism. In joining our cruises you can be one of the first to experience this pristine environment. Unlike many "should've been here ten years ago" destinations our trips will take you to genuinely untouched environments both above and below the water. The time to see Raja Ampat is definitely now!

Whether you prefer macro photography or action packed big fish diving this area is for you. The big fish you can expect to see include giant mantas, Mobula rays(often in large numbers), massive schools of surgeons and Barracuda along with Wobbegang sharks, giant tawny sharks and variety of others. Macro enthusiasts can see blue ringed octopus, numerous types of pygmy seahorse, ghost pipefish, frogfish, mandarin fish and a huge variety of strange and wonderful crustaceans.

A recent Rapid assessment project (RAP) by Conservation International (an American based conservation group), suggests that "due to it's location near the heart of the coral triangle coupled with an amazing diversity of marine habitats, the area is potentially the worlds richest in terms of marine biodiversity" - Mc Kenna, Allen and Suryadi (April 2002) Some notable results of the survey include, "456 species of hard corals were recorded, which is more than half the worlds total. No other area of comparable size has this many species." (J. Veron 2002) Including previous studies and 9 "new" species this brings the total in the Raja Empat area to 565!

828 species of reef fishes were recorded in the assessment, raising the known total in the Islands to 970. An extrapolation technique using 6 key indicator families reveals that at least 1,084 species can be expected to
occur in the area. (G. Allen 2002) Gerald Allen also broke his personal record and identified 283 different species of fish on one single dive!

The diversity of Molluscs was also high with 699 species, surpassing previous studies in PNG and the Philippines. (S. Suryadi 2002) A similar survey was also conducted by another established conservation group. The Nature Conservancy which concluded that the area had the highest diversity of fish and coral species anywhere on Earth.

The diving visibility is normally very good in the Raja Ampat Islands, ranging from 20-40m+ varying in the different areas. The north generally has excellent visibility as the water is deep and the islands are small with very little run off. The larger islands to the south where there are some mangrove areas, obviously the visibility is less, but they provide the perfect environment for some excellent muck dives.

Aside from amazing diving, the Raja Ampat islands offer some of the most beautiful and dramatic island scenery to be found anywhere. Our itineraries offer a chance to see completely untouched rainforest and mangrove environments as well as dramatic karst limestone island groups. These islands are similar in appearance and topography to the rock islands of palau but without any people or restrictions!

This is one of the most remote and unexplored regions on earth and provides a very different holiday experience free from any sign of development or tourism. What could be more satisfying than to cruise this stunning natural environment on a classic and comfortable wooden yacht whilst diving the worlds most bio-diverse reefs!

Most dives are drift dives due to strong currents in the area. The currents provide nutrients for the outstanding quantity and variety of fish life and corals in the area. A fabulous variety of colorful soft corals and plenty of reef fish are found at most sites. Large schools of fish are known to populate some areas, pelagics such as sharks, Manta and Mobula Rays, dolphin, whales and turtles are frequent sights.

For detail information about Raja Ampat Diving (Irian Jaya Diving) please contact us

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