A. Brief Information

People commonly know Papua for its unique culture, unique outfit (such as koteka), and abundant natural resources. However, for divers and undersea lovers, Papua is a diving paradise which is rich with undersea species. One of the most well known diving area in Papua is Raja Ampat Islands. This area is also known as Coral Reef Paradise among divers around the world. It is located exactly on the top of “the bird’s head” of the Papua island, in West Papua province.

Raja Ampat, approximately 4.6 million hectare, is a young regency established after the enfoldment of Sorong regency. About 85% of the area is sea, and the rest consist of isles and atolls of about 610 isles; only 35 of which are inhabited.

Raja Ampat, approximately 4.6 million hectare, is a young regency established after the enfoldment of Sorong regency. About 85% of the area is sea, and the rest consist of isles and atolls of about 610 isles; only 35 of which are inhabited.

The name Raja Ampat comes from a folktale about the kings once ruled the four largest isles in the area: Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. The folktale tells that once upon a time, there was a woman found seven eggs, four of which hatched and transformed to be princes. Every prince became a king in every of those largest isles. Thus, the area is called “Raja Ampat” (four kings).

Raja Ampat Waters is not only considered as the largest undersea conservation, but also the richest one. The diver who first discovered the fabulous undersea panorama in Raja Ampat is a Dutch namely Max Ammer. It is cited on http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com that his first visit to Raja Ampat in 1990 was initialized by his willingness to trace the wrecked ships and airplanes in the area during the World War II. His first diving was so remarkable that in 1998 he invited Gerry Allen, an ichthyologist from Australia, to conduct a survey in Raja Ampat. The Australian was so surprised with the richness of the variety of undersea resources and its great amount. He then invited Conservation International (CI) to conduct a survey about the under seas resources in Raja Ampat which was held in 2001 and 2002. The result of the survey proves that Raja Ampat Waters is the largest coral reef area which has the richest undersea resources in the whole world. As cited from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com, Raja Ampat Waters has approximately 1300 fish species, 600 varieties of coral, and 700 varieties of sea shells, plus many varieties of sea turtles, algae and seaweeds, and jellyfish.

B. Distinctive Features

In the note on undersea photography of Raja Ampat Waters by Imam Brotoseno (as cited from http://dunialaut.com), it is mentioned that Raja Ampat has the richest undersea resources among the world’s coral triangle: Philiphine-Indonesia-Papua New Guinea. The coral triangle is the heart of world’s coral wealth and is protected under the International Natural Conservartion. Raja Ampat has 75% of about 600 coral varieties in the world.

The vast area of Raja Ampat Waters allows the divers to choose different diving spots. You can dive around Kri isle to enjoy the beautiful coral and many kinds of attractive fishes such as the famous Queensland grouper, kuwe fish, scout fish, groupers, coral shark, tuna, napoleon wrasse, barracuda, and giant trevally. Gerry Allen himself has proved the richness of fish varieties in the area of Kri isle. Once, in only one diving, he noted 283 fish varieties; a very surprising number.

Another promising diving spot is in Sardine Reef (about 10 meters deep). This place also has many fish varieties including the colorful parrotfish. You can also enjoy the sensation of diving in coral tunnel in Kaboei Bay Rock isles. The isles have a cove with a coral tunnel under it. Kaboei Bay Rock also has some coral caves inhabitedby bats. Remains of human’s skeleton even had been found in some places.

There are many more diving spot that are worth trying such as in The Passage, Fam isle, and Misool isle. In addition to the natural undersea resources, you can also enjoy observing closely the remains of the ships and airplanes from the World War II wrecked in the waters. It is incomplete coming to Raja Ampat if you only enjoy the undersea and miss another magnificent panorama this area offers: the land. Most isles in Raja Ampat are relatively virgin, by means of natural, and challenging. There are lagoons, coves, sand spreading out along the beaches, and refreshing blue sea water waiting for you to enjoy.

C. Location

Raja Ampat undersea tourism is located in Raja Ampat regency, West Papua province, Indonesia.

D. Access

If you want to visit Raja Ampat, you can depart from Jakarta or other big cities to Domine Eduard Osok Airport, Sorong, West Papua. The flight from Jakarta to Sorong usually transits in Makassar or Manado.
From Domine Eduard Osok Airport, you can reach Raja Ampat by fast boat which has a capacity of 10 people. The fast boat costs IDR 3.2 million for one way voyage and takes 3-4 hours to reach Raja Ampat Waters.

E. Ticketing

Entering the Raja Ampat Waters is free. However, you should prepare for much for the motor boat, diving equipment, and diving instructor. Tourists usually dive in more than one spot to wholly enjoy the undersea in the area and it need more cost. Therefore, it is recommended to dive in groups to retrench the cost.

F. Accommodation and other Facilities

There are some resorts in Raja Ampat area with sufficient facilities in Kri isle, Waigeo isle, Mansuar isle, and Misool isle. Some resorts are quite expensive because they provide more facilities. However, if your budget is low, you don’t have to be worry because you can choose government’s resort which is much cheaper.

Source : Wisata Melayu

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