Diving in Raja Ampat is fantastic. It’s diver’s heaven and we don’t say that because we work here. It’s because we mean it. There is a big variety of dive spots with drop-offs, walls, corners, coral gardens, caves or underwater islands with deep and shallow top reefs. Come with us for a dive.
We live and work on the island Pef in Raja Ampat for eight months already. The region is by all means spectacular and we haven’t seen anything like this before. Pulau Pef is very remote and civilisation is far away. Mass tourism is not present and the reefs are very healthy. Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat is an unforgettable experience.
Today we show you two very special dive and snorkel spots, the Hidden Bay and the Passage. Both spots are completely different to any others in Raja Ampat.
Diving in Raja Ampat: The Hidden Bay
The name tells it all and couldn’t be more accurate.
The Hidden Bay is a 15-minute boat ride from our island. So it’s practically around the corner. On the way we’re passing the pearl farm and then we are riding along a long stretch of mangroves. Suddenly we spot a narrow opening in the mangroves and the captain makes a right turn. That must be the entrance to the Hidden Bay. Our boat glides through shallow water and it feels like we’re cruising on a narrow river with mangroves to our left and right.
Then the landscape is changing again and we’re in the middle of a huge bay surrounded by the typical karst islands of Raja Ampat. Steep cliffs and rocky islands covered in lush vegetation are sticking out of the sea like mushrooms. It’s a huge labyrinth of waterways through this phantastic landscape. We’re amazed by Mother Nature.
The water is not deep in the Hidden Bay. We can easily see the seabed from the boat. The water is clear and we can observe fishes, soft- and hard corals from the boat.
We cruise around the rocks, stop at different caves, listen to the birds and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. It’s sooooooo relaxing. The best of all, that’s a working day.
Diving and snorkelling at the Hidden Bay entrance
It’s not a typical dive spot like others here in Raja Ampat. The seabed is sandy and shallow. Depending on the current we start either inside the bay or at the entrance. We prefer to dive it with ingoing current because of the visibility.
We are lucky and the current is ingoing, therefore we jump at the entrance. The seabed is approximately 12 meters deep and there are a few coral blocks at the beginning of the dive. The underwater landscape is dominated by sea fans, whip corals and gorgonians. The further we dive into the Hidden Bay the shallower it gets.
Finally we reach the mangroves where we spend the last few minutes of the dive. We can observe the archer fish and the mystical atmosphere. The spot is great for snorkelling too.
A trip to the Hidden Bay is all about the landscape – above and underwater.
The Passage – Diving in Raja Ampat is very diverse?
Do you like currents? Do you like action? For divers and snorkelers the passage is lots of fun if there is a bit of current. We recommend to dive the passage only if you are an experienced diver. Strong currents are cool and fun but for beginners it can be quite stressful. This is one of the most unusual experiences while diving in Raja Ampat.
The passage is a strait and when we’re going through it feels like we’re on a river. The strait separates two islands from each other, one is Waigeo the other one is Gam.
Diving in the passage is similar to a river dive. The maximum depth is approximately 15 metres with some obstacles in the riverbed. There are also two caves to explore. One is open on the top and divers can ascend to the surface. It’s a great feeling to ascent in the middle of the jungle.
Also snorkelers can go into the cave. The second cave is home to a group of small bats.
After we exit the cave the current is quite strong and we have to kick a bit to get away from the rocks. We let go and drift along the reef. There are lots of yellow and orange soft corals and gorgonians. If you are lucky you can also see a group of barracudas or a turtle.
Scattered along the passage there are some rocks covered with corals. We can use them as shelter against the current and slow down for a few minutes. Here we are protected and finally we have time to look for smaller things like nudibranches, flatworms or crabs.
After an hour we have to ascend and we are sad that we have to go back to the boat.
Wild, romantic and pristine
The Hidden Bay and the Passage are far away from civilisation. Therefore the area is still pristine und unspoilt. We hope that stays like this in the future.
Well, diving in Raja Ampat is getting more and more popular. That’s fine but we do hope that the area does not become a mass tourism destination. It’s a special place and in our opinion one of the last paradise on earth.
Quick facts for diving in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is located in West Papua, the most eastern part of Indonesia. The majority of visitors are divers and snorkelers who want to explore the extraordinary reefs. It’s a long trip from Europe (calculate 3 days of travel time for a return trip) but well worth it for the spectacular and diverse marine life and its natural beauty under and above water.
Currently Raja Ampat tourism counts around 15’000 foreign visitors annually.
What place or which area is in your opinion the last paradise on earth? Would you like to go diving in Raja Ampat? Would you like to know how to travel to Raja Ampat on a budget? Thanks for sharing your thoughts in our comments.