The Raja Ampat area of Northwest Irian Jaya is filled with islands, surrounded by reefs and inundated with fish. The Raja Ampat archipelago encompasses nearly ten million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Raja Ampat means “Four Kings,” and consists of the four large islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, plus hundreds of smaller islands. Raja Ampat is also located in the “Coral Triangle”, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, therefore the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.
The name of Raja Ampat comes from local mythology that tells about a woman who finds seven eggs. Four of the seven eggs hatch and become kings that occupy four of Raja Ampat biggest islands whilst the other three become a ghost, a woman, and a stone.
Best Time To Dive
Diving in Raja Ampat is superb just about all year round. The term High Season is of little meaning here since there is such an expanse of sea visited by only a few Live-On-Board. May to September has light rain, and Mid-July to mid-September sees some small surface swells, but usually not serious enough to interfere with your enjoyment.
1,508 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleractinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands and 75% of all species that exist in the world), and 699 mollusk species, the variety of marine life is staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.