Raja Ampat diving is an unforgettable adventure around the tropical archipelago nestled deep in the heart of the Coral Triangle. Our Calico Jack liveaboard is the perfect vessel to explore some most remote regions on the planet. Raja Ampat steep & densely forested islands, hidden lagoons and luminous, turquoise waters fringed by white, sandy beaches comprise the landscape. Located in the Northwest corner of Indonesian West Papua, at the meeting points of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, pristine coral reefs (home to 75% of all known corals) teem with such an array of marine life that scientists describe it as a ‘species factory’.
This spectacular variety of marine life (over 1,300 species of fish, 600 mollusc species) combines with some of the natural world’s most exotic birds including distincts Birds of Paradise. This is Raja Ampat: the undisputed epicentre of marine biodiversity and one of the richest marine ecosystems in the World.
The Raja Ampat archipelago (which when translated to English, means ‘Four Kings’) encompasses 40,000 square km's of land and sea, consisting of over 1,500 islets which surround the 4 main islands of Misool, Batanta, Salawati & Waigeo. The first comprehensive scientific study of the area was conducted as recently as 2001, and a record-breaking census found nearly 1,000 previously unknown tropical fish species. With the unearthing of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity still in progress, international conservation groups, in partnership with local communities and government, established 7 ecologically connected marine protected areas (MPA) in 2007, and another 5 across the Birds Head Peninsula have been added since.
The relative remoteness of Raja Ampat has been the region’s greatest defence against overuse and exploitation, resulting in a pristine ecosystem unfettered by the maelstroms of industrialisation with ecological wealth unsurpassed anywhere else on the planet.
Calico Jack‘s crew have a distinct passion and reverence for the natural world. They explored these regions avidly; plotting out a journey that would reveal Raja Ampat’s finest topographical and under water wonders to share with like-minded individuals. Her crew have worked tirelessly to create all-encompassing trips that would allow explorers ranging from the most avid scuba diver and experienced twitcher, to leisure-seekers or those looking to enhance their inter-cultural and ecological understanding, the opportunity to have the most memorable and life-affirming experience.
The sample Raja Ampat Liveaboard itinerary below highlights what you can expect on one of our cruises to Raja Ampat. Each cruise is unique; navigation and dive sites may vary slightly due to weather conditions and visibility.
DAY 1 | Embarkation in Sorong
We will pick you up either at your hotel or Sorong airport and take you to the harbour where our crew will welcome you onboard Calico Jack. Following refreshments and a short tour of the ship, you will be briefed on safety, the diving operations, and life onboard. We will set sail at approximately 11am (or when the last guest has boarded) and cruise through Sele Strait to reach the East of Misool, a navigation of approximately 12 hours. This will allow time for you to get acquainted with the ship, set up your dive gear & cameras and to meet and socialise with the other guests and friendly crew.
DAY 2-6 | Southern Raja Ampat/Misool (16-18 Dives)
Misool is located South of Raja Ampat and is famous for its steep rocks with vertical walls, profusion of soft, colourful corals, sea fans draped brilliantly over the reefs and plenty of fish. The islands around East Misool are grouped by areas. These are the areas you can expect to visit (weather permitting) and the most popular dive sites we frequent:
(No Contest, Dangerous Kayak, Love Potion, Number 9, Pet Rock)
Schools of platax, snapper and bump head parrot fish can be found at these dive sites, including barracudas and jacks surrounding the pinnacles. You will spend the night in the hidden lagoon; a very special anchorage inside a narrow bay enclosed by towering rocks. We will take the dinghies to explore another lagoon located further into the rocks and as night falls, you will see and hear the magnicent Palm Cockatoos roosting along the rainforest edges.
(Candy Store, Warna Berwana, Andiamo)
Andiamo is a large, stunning reef with a submerged pinnacle covered in sea fans and surrounded by schools of fusiliers and bat fish. Black tip reef sharks and napoleon wrasse can also be found here. Candy Store, named so as the rst divers to explore this reef felt like kids in a candy store, is covered in huge sponges, beautiful soft corals and sea fans. In the valleys, schools of fusiliers, butter y sh and barracuda gather.
3) Warokaraket/Boo Island
(Shadow Reef, Jamur Boo, Yellit Kecil or Besar) + Night Dive
Shadow Reef, also known as Magic Mountain is one of the top rated diving sites in Raja Ampat. An o shore pinnacle with a long and narrow ridge, shoals of banner fish, pyramid butterfly and yellow snappers can be seen cavorting on top of the ridge, persistently stalked by giant trevallies, orange-spotted jacks & longnose emperors. The ridge goes progressively down, with yellowtail barracudas patrolling the upper sector and white tip and grey reef sharks found nestled under the large coral tables. At the end of the peninsular is a cleaning station where oceanic manta rays come to be cleaned from parasites by wrasse and other reef fish.
Boo Rock or Jamur Boo is known for the “windows” or rounded openings on the end of the largest rock that completely pierce the reef from the surface down to ve meters deep. Although the two rocks appear separate from the surface, they are in fact connected underwater by a magnificent reef draped in soft corals and brimming with fish. Reef sharks, parrot fish, surgeon fish, schooling bat fish, fusiliers, snappers and moray eels are all found here, as well as a wide variety of nudibranchs, unicorn fish, octopus and green turtles. Yellit Kecil’s (whilst sharing all of the attributes of its neighbouring sites) main characteristic is the large number of nembrotha nudibranchs that can be observed on the ridge.
(Dunia Kecil, Barracuda Rock, Four Kings, Wedding Cake) + Night Dive)
The Wayilbatan area offers impressive dive sites with a remarkable range of marine diversity as well as topography. At Wedding Cake, schools of bat fish, trevallies, barracuda and pygmy seahorses congregate. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to take in the scenic landscapes with some kayaking and paddle boarding amongst the most spectacular hidden lagoons in the region. Four Kings dive site is made up of four underwater pinnacles covered in soft coral and colourful tunicates. You vcan swim from one rock to the next, enjoying the soft corals, psychedelic colours and abundant sh life. Be sure to look out for turtles here.
(No Contest, Dangerous Kayak, Love Potion, Number 9, Pet Rock)
In the early morning, we will take a short navigation to dive the Fiabacet area where colourful soft corals and beautiful sea fans smother the reefs. A deep underwater ridge connects the islands of Boo in the East, to Kalig in the West. In certain areas, the ridge moves up shallower to form the most unforgettable dive sites of the park. These include Batu Kecil (also known as Tank Rock), Nudi Rock and Whale Rock. Here you will nd one of the most extensive reef systems in all of Raja Ampat; offering an amazing range of marine diversity. You can expect to see abundant and healthy fish life, a galore of pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, colourful anemones and reef sharks.
(3 Rocks, Goa Farondi)
Located 20 km’s from Misool Island, this island of Farondi is a favoured dive site in Raja Ampat due to its unique and distinctive landscape which consists of tunnels, caverns, boulders and colourful walls. The western face of Farondi Island has two large caves with a shallow reef, and a dramatic cli north of the headland. Here, a shallow garden of stony corals gradually becomes a sandy slope which is home to large gorgonian fans and barbiganti pygmy seahorses.
Goa Besar, situated south of Farondi, consists of super cial shelved gardens of yellow-coloured soft corals, wall tops blanketed with plate corals, leather corals, yellow and purple sea squirts, and rounded hollows filled with coral shrubberies, sponges and red ornamental ghost pipe fish. Tunnels in the caves collide with green soft coral trees and sponges, and house night-time snapper and sweetlips. Late in the afternoon after your third dive, we will depart North and set sail for an overnight cruise to Penemu Island; a navigation of approximately 12 hours.
DAY 7 | Penemu (3 Dives)
Early in the morning, we will arrive at Penemu’s My Reef dive site where you will enjoy one of the largest populations of sh in the area. This site is very impressive, particularly when the current is strong. After breakfast, you will dive Melissa’s Garden; the most well known site in the region, famous for its extensive and healthy hard coral reefs as well as Galaxy; a large reef with abundant marine life. In the afternoon after your third dive, you will take a short boat tour to Penemu and walk up to the famous viewpoint above Penemu’s star-shaped lagoons. Here, you will have time to kayak and paddleboard amongst the incredible karst limestone landscape before sunset and dinner onboard.
DAY 8 | Wofo (4 Dives)
We start the day with an early navigation to the Wofo Island area, the most northern point of our cruise. Here, in the morning you will dive at Wofo’s Black Forest, a stunning dive traversing the deep black fan landscape rising to a beautiful and pristine shallow reef. The second dive is at Wofo Tembok (a wall dive) and nally Teman Wofo. The evening will be passed on the beach experiencing one of Calico Jack’s famous beach BBQ parties, where the crew will entertain and socialise with you as you relax on our giant bean bags under a pagoda, explore the beach and meet the local hermit crabs.
DAY 9 | Gam (3 Dives)
An early morning’s navigation brings us to the stunning Mangrove Anchorage in the passage of Gam and Yange o. Here you will nd some of the most stunning dive sites in West Waigeo: Citrus Ridge, Mayhem and Way Pretty Shallow. In the right conditions you can expect some of the highest voltage diving in Raja Ampat, with currents bringing massive schools of barracudas, three species of fusiliers, trevallies, bat sh, bump head parrot sh, wobbegongs, as well as black and white tip reef sharks.
DAY 10 | Arborek (4 dives)
After awaking within the mangroves, we will make the short journey to dive at Lalosi, a hard coral sea-mount with an extremely diverse range of sea life when the currents are strong. From here we dive at one of the most reliable Manta ray congregation spots in all of Raja Ampat, the famous cleaning station, Manta Sandy. It is easy to spend a whole day observing these majestic creatures as they somersault through the water, feeding on plankton and being cleaned by several species of wrasse and butter y sh. In the afternoon we’ll make our way to Arborek in Dampier Strait, where you will visit the local village and see the traditional way of life for these island people, before enjoying a night dive at the Arborek Pier. In the shallows, the posts at Arborek Pier are covered in soft corals, with pipe sh and cuttle sh dwelling deeper below. On the reef, giant clams nestle among soft corals, which also provide shelter for hermit crabs, atworms and skeleton shrimp.
DAY 11 | Dampier Straight (2 Dive)
The final dive will be in the morning at Cape Kri where you will discover some of the largest concentrations of big sh in Raja Ampat. Large schools of trevallies, barracudas, banner fish, sweetlips, tuna and snappers congregate on these sites. Large grey reef sharks can also be seen. In the afternoon, we have time to relax on one of Kri’s stunning secluded beaches before sailing back to Sorong where you will arrive later in the evening.
DAY 12 | Disembarkation in Sorong
After breakfast and the last exchange of photos and memories, the crew and Calico Jack will say our fondest farewell’s and transport you either to your hotel or airport.
We are look forward to having you on board!
The Calico Jack Team
Raja Ampat Flights landing at Sorong Airport. Liveaboards leave from Sorong, and take guests around Raja Ampat. Sorong is a capital with a Domestic Airport of West Papua, Indonesia. It is one of the largest and busiest airports on the Bird's Head Peninsula.
Flight info presented here is aimed at international travellers seeking the quickest route to Raja Ampat from outside Indonesia and so ignores flights to Sorong from airports not serviced by international flights (Ambon, Jayapura etc). Some of the main airlines operation on this destination are: Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Nam Air, Sriwijaya Air and Wings Air.
- Sorong’s airport is Domine Eduard Osok (IATA code: SOQ)
- There are no international flights into Sorong
There are no direct (non-stop) flights from Bali to Sorong
From outside Indonesia:
- Lots of airlines fly from Southeast Asian hubs to Jakarta.
- Silk Air flies from Singapore to Makassar (flights codeshared with Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia)
- Air Asia offers direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Makassar
- Silk Air flies Singapore to Manado (flights codeshared with Singapore Airlines)
Note that these are merely the most convenient entry points for international travellers bound for Sorong.
You will experience first-rate diving on our cruises. Our professional and experienced instructors and guides provide you with thorough briefing of the dive site before each dive as well as supervision on every dive. Our diving platform allows for easy embarkation and our two outboards (including 1 Yamaha speedboat affectionately named Ferrari, the other Lamborghini) take you directly to the open sea dive sites. With 2 compressors on board, you can expect to complete 3 to 4 dives per day, with alternating night dives. We also have full sets of high quality diving equipment available for rental. There is a hot shower on deck to rinse off easily before and/or after each excursion. Snorkelers are encouraged to join our trips as we make sure to offer a variety of explorative options for all of our guests. The abundance and diversity of coral species and the healthy of reef life ensure some of the most unparalleled diving and snorkelling in the world.
Species you will meet
Barracudas, Surgeonfishes, Bumphead parrot fishes, Trevallies and giant trevallies, spafefishes. Napoleon wrasse, Wobbegon, Tunas, Bonitos, Waow, Manta rays, Mobulas, Seahorse, frogfish, leaf fish, Scorpion fish. Black corals forests, Gorgonian fields, Soft corals.
Currents are consistent on a number of dives while some others are really quiet. Some dives on reefs or pinnacles have to be done on the current exposed side in order to enjoy the best fish life and can therefore be slightly “sporty”. Our dive guides always check the current conditions before the dive and will inform you of the conditions. A reef hook is recommended.
Number of dives
In the course of our diving cruises you will enjoy 3 dives/day with alternating night dives.
The average visibility is 15-20 meters but may be lower in some specific areas or for short periods.
Diving experience required
Advanced level PADI/CMAS Level 2 or higher, with a minimum of 50 logged dives in the sea.
Water temperature is 28-29 °C in the all area.