Diving Raja Ampat
It wouldn’t feel complete visiting Raja Ampat and not diving its underwater beauty. Even though its charm above water is just as stunning, Raja Ampat is known even to foreign countries for its underwater heaven.
At Myoskon site, we can dive in the morning as well as in the evening and compare the different atmosphere between night & day. Most of the fabulous and dense corals stay where they are but at nighttime the sea seems a little less crowded from fishes that usually mill about the area at daylight. In exchange, a few corals which weren’t visible in the day now appear in the dark. Such as the Orange Tube Coral which stands out at night with its bright orange colour, or the Sea Pen which looks like a lightbrown-coloured hairy leaf.
On my first dive in Raja Ampat, on 16th October 2010, I straightaway got to see the Wobbegong Shark in Myoskon. Perhaps upon hearing the word “shark” some people would feel tense but if they saw the shark like I did the they would definitely say the similar thing, “cute”! Leaning its tasseled flat mouth on a rock, seems as if it’s taking a lazy nap. Looking very cute and helpless. It is known that these flat-shaped Wobbegongs like to spend their days at the bottom of the sea. Also considering the fact that they very much resemble like a carpet, no wonder they’re called carpet sharks.
Don’t be afraid if you come across one under water, same as most of animals they won’t bite unless provoked, for instance if accidentally stepped on by us, hehe. A bit paradoxical considering their name is carpet shark. After that first encounter, I met with other Wobbegongs on the next 2 dives. 3 times encounter with a Wobbegong in 3 dives! But still it doesn’t get boring.
At Manta Slope site, as it name suggests, we can meet the elegant Manta Ray. Gracefully moving as if flying in slow motion, the Manta Ray is always breathtaking to watch. Some say that in certain seasons, which is between October until December, we can witness up to 30 Manta Rays here. Maybe that’s also the reason the Manta has become a mascot of Raja Ampat. They even built a conference building in the form of a ray in Waisai, capital of Raja Ampat.
If you like seeing schools of fishes, try diving Cape Kri. Not long after immersing ourselves into the water, we were greeted by schooling barracudas while around us was crowded with all kinds of fishes out and about. It so happens that it was already quite noon so the fishes were probably munching. Which made me wonder was that these fishes didn’t seem to care much about us divers being present, alien creatures amongst them. They swam with a cool swagger close to us, passed right in front of our eyes, sometimes I even thought they were going to bump into me. At other times I felt a bit bothered because they just suddenly swam pass my camera lens when I was actually trying to take a picture of another object, haha. To them, I was just another harmless creature of the sea. Felt like my presence was accepted by the fishes. And it felt delightful.
Every dive gave a different interesting experience. But one conclusion I could draw from the several dives I had, there is no such thing as a bad diving in Raja Ampat. Whether it is in deep or shallow waters, day or night, calm or drifty, between corals or sand-bottoms secretly hiding unique critters. You will definitely find something impressive in every dive.
[Translated from my post in Bahasa Indonesia, Menyelami Raja Ampat]