Saturday, January 19, 2013

Raja Ampat Diving Expedition - 2015

Hello adventure seekers, divers, and photographers.
I am entertaining the idea of putting together an exotic dive trip that would take place early 2015 (I know, thats a long way off - crazy!). Let me know if you would be interested in such a committing trip. The dates and prices are rough - but the location is not.

January 2015
2175.00  / including equipment
(Strictly Tentative)

9 days / 8 nights aboard the Jaya

The diving in Raja Ampat is considered by many as the best in the world, with its remote location, vibrant reefs and incredible marine life - there are countless dive sites, all with different characters. Raja Ampat is simply a life-affirming dive experience. According to Conservation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world.

Under the water, divers on the 9-day liveaboard may experience passing pelagics like manta rays, whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and all forms of macro-animals in crevices and on terraces of steep color-filled walls. Raja Ampat is also a Mecca for lovers of pygmy seahorses, which are found here in every shape and color, red, yellow, orange, purple or white.

Of the many species in Raja Ampat are rare Wobbegong and Epaulette Sharks (walking sharks), hammerheads, huge shoals of sardines and jacks, and reefs filled with soft corals, sponges, hard corals, shrimps, crabs, countless nudibranchs and hundreds of other invertebrates. The area is remote and unspoiled.

Raja Ampat Liveaboard - Diving Information

Diving Highlights: Approximately 27 dives - with large marine life, small marine life, drift dives, wall dives, currents, vibrant reef life, and underwater photography.

Average Depths: 5- 30+ meters

Visibility: 5- 30+ meters

Currents: mild-strong (depending on dive site and season)

Water Temperature: 22-28c (71°- 82°F)

Experience Level: Intermediate-Advanced (we can talk about this).

Location: 40+km from Sorong, Indonesia

Aboard the wooden schooner, the Jaya, we will spend 9 days wandering through the heart of the Coral Triangle, around Raja Ampat’s 2,500 islands and reefs with 1,320 species of fish, 550 species of coral - and many yet to be discovered. There are very few facilities, and very few trained safety officers in this remote region, so for these reasons, Wicked Diving will be our dive operator  - always with an eye to safe and sensible diving, with some of the best food around, a fun and knowledgeable staff, and the only ethically / ecologically operated dive boat.

A few words about Wicked Diving
They use only ecologically friendly products, from the unbleached cotton sheets and towels to the biodegradable shampoos and conditioners. Even the box for the handmade soaps is made from palm fronds. The beautiful schooner is a ‘quiet’ boat at night as it uses passive ventilation and sea breezes to keep it cool, so there’s no need for air conditioning and use of a generator - it’s so nice to be ‘hum-free’.  The fish like it too!
All water is warmed through passive solar. They avoid using any single use containers and provide all guests with one water bottle that they can refill from the water dispensers.  All cans, glass, plastic and paper are recycled. They work in partnership with GHRE, a local school for children of migrant Burmese laborers, and the BaanSanFan Orphanage running educational programs and beach clean ups. They provide data on the status of coral reefs to Reefwatch, and on manta ray sightings to the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna. They use a seawater recycling system for sanitation and capture rainwater for use in the gear rinse buckets. All of the lighting is by low energy LED light bulbs.

We have used Wicked twice now, once in the Similan Islands, and once in Komodo, and are always amazed by their knowledge of the marine world, currents, the islands, and their relentless stewardship of the ocean world.

This trip is a long way off – I know. But I want to plant the seed of exploration into your heads. As time goes by, and I can gather some local interest, I will put together a more comprehensive package of information.

The price will include all room and board for 9 days, all park fees and equipment rental. You will have to get yourself to Indonesia (Bali), and then domestically to Sorong. You will be responsible for any alcoholic beverages on the boat, tips for the guides, and accommodations on land.  The staff at Wicked can assist in all of the local air transport and accommodations.

This is a committing trip, and I would suggest adding a week of additional time to explore the local areas of Indonesia and New Guinea.

Interested? Let me know.

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