Dive Indonesia’s Raja Ampat on a luxury liveaboard dive boat
One of Indonesia’s best places to scuba dive is Raja Ampat. So as you’d expect there are a few selected luxury liveaboard dive boats in Raja Ampat to choose from.
There's no doubting that a dive trip to Indonesia's Raja Ampat is top of many scuba diver's bucket list. So if money is no object and you want to dive in luxury, choosing the best liveaboards is key. Indonesia's Raja Ampat is a photographers heaven, with some of the best marine bio-diversity on the planet and has five luxury liveaboard boats to choose from.
Raja Ampat where is it?
Before taking a look at luxury liveaboard diving in Raja Ampat, let's take a look at where it is.
Raja Ampat is situated off the northwest tip of Bird's Head Peninsula on Papua. Where Papua is the most eastern Island of this Indonesian Archipelago.
Raja Ampat is probably not suitable for beginner divers due to the strong currents. It's worth reading the quote below from someone who experienced a strong down-current!
Raja Ampat diving review
I dived Raja Ampat in October, I only had about 16 dives and actually got stuck in a down current which took me to 30 meters and out of air which was damn scary! I was diving with my friend who is an instructor who said she had never experienced currents like it. The other five dives were all fine however I felt not as easy to relax there as I have diving other places.
It is incredible, however I would advise getting at least an Advanced before going to help with the depth of some of the dive sights. There are some easier sights and just snorkeling around the house reef on our island of Kri there was so much wildlife.Is Raj Ampat diving appropriate for beginners? - Lonely Planet
It's a photographers heaven and a scientists dream. There's a huge diversity of species and a huge range of dive sites to choose from. Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is one of the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.
Raja Ampat means 'The Four Kings.' It is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands and cays. If you take the master cabin (see below), you could be diving 'The Four Kings' like a king.
The main four islands in the area include Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool.
Luxury liveaboard diving Raja Ampat
There are nine luxury liveaboard dive boats to choose from to scuba dive from in Raja Ampat.
These are the best in Raja Ampat liveaboard luxury:
- Gaia Love - Luxury 40 metre (131 feet) dive liveaboard designed for up to 22 divers. Dive trips of 7-11 nights with 20-30 dives in total.
- Tiare Cruise - 36.5 metre (120 feet) liveaboard offering year-round luxury dive cruises to Indonesia. The Tiare Cruise is a large luxurious Indonesian phinisi boat for up to 12 divers in 6 en-suite cabins. Dive trips of 7-11 nights with 18-36 dives in total.
- Samambaia Liveaboard - 34 metre (112 feet) luxury Raja Ampat liveaboard Indonesian phinisi boat. Offering luxury and comfort for up to 14 guests across 7 deluxe cabins.
- Mutiara Laut - Large 46 metre (151 feet) traditional British schooner styled liveaboard offering luxury dive trips to Raja Ampat. Catering for up to 14 guests across 7 cabins, 6 of which are deluxe.
- Blue Manta Liveaboard - A top reviewed and rate luxury liveaboard catering for up to 22 guests across 14 beautifully furnished cabins. This luxury liveaboard for Raja Ampat is 45 metres (148 feet) in length. Offering 7-10 night trips for between 22-30 dives on some of the best dive sites in the World.
- Damai I - 40 metre (131 feet) luxury Indonesia liveaboard. Guests on this Raja Ampat liveaboard enjoy an all inclusive service, which includes spa therapy with Damai I’s Signature Service. Offering luxury liveaboard dive trips for up to 12 guests across 7 cabins.
- Seven Seas Liveaboard - 45 metre (148 feet) sailing schooner for up to 16 divers. You can explore the exotic waters of the Indonesian archipelago in comfort and luxury aboard this top rated liveaboard dive boat. Offering between 12-14 night trips for up to 40 dives in total.
- Alila Purnama - The most expensive Raja Ampat liveaboard on this list. The Alila Purnama is a beautiful 46 metre (151 feet) traditional Indonesian Phinisi luxury liveaboard. Offering dive trips to Raja Ampat for up to 10 guests across 5 ultra modern cabins. Dive trips of 6-9 nights are offered for up to 26 dives.
- Tiger Blue - The Tiger Blue is an Indonesian phinisi, which is a luxury dive liveaboard for up to 12 divers. This luxury liveaboard offers dive trips for families across 5 cabins all with en-suite facilities. Trips of between 7-8 nights are offered for up to 21 dives.
More Reading: Is Liveaboard.com legit? (Liveaboard.com reviews)
Large number of dive sites on luxury liveaboard dive boats
The above luxury liveaboard dive boats in Raja Ampat go to varying places and dive sites. Depending on the luxury liveaboard you choose and the length of trip, will depend on where it takes you.
But wherever you go in this bio-diverse area, you'll not be disappointed. You'll get to see shark action with various reef sharks, a chance to see manta rays, turtles, schooling fish and big pelagics.
Raja Ampat underwater species list
From the Papuan Garden Eel to the Mantis Shrimp at the small end of the scale.
With the Raja Ampat Epaulette shark (also known as the shark that can walk on land! See below). To the Tasselled Wobbegong shark at the smaller end of sharks through to the largest of them all, the whale shark. You'll see a whole host of sharks. If of course you like scuba diving with sharks that is, when you visit Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat Epaulette shark - The shark that can walk on land
I think this is pretty cool, I've also learned something new today from writing this article.
Until I looked up the Raja Ampat Epaulette shark (which I'd not heard of before now), I had never seen this before.
I think it's a pretty remarkable creature. I remember 'rock-pooling' when I was younger and loved to explore rock pools. But if I'd come across something like this land -walking shark, I'd have been amazed!
Here's an Epaulette Shark in Australia:
Here's a video of the shark walking along a reef underwater:
Dugongs in Raja Ampat
Something else I learned today was about the dugongs that live in and around Raja Ampat. Dugongs have been mistaken for mermaids in the past. They are similar creatures to the Manatees of Florida and the Caribbean.
They are extremely rare in Indonesia. Therefore your chances of seeing one when you're diving Raja Ampat are extremely low. Look at it as a bonus if you spot one.
Crocodiles of Raja Ampat
There are also salt water crocodiles in the Raja Ampat region. These don't seem to be the same problem as the salties of Australia, but nevertheless they are there.
These seem to pose more of a threat to those staying on land on islands like Gam. They pose a particular thread to snorkelers.
But having said that, diver David Shem-Tov was grabbed by a crocodile when scuba diving in Raja Ampat. So they are worth knowing about. He lived to tell the tale, but sustained a number of injuries.
The liveaboard dive boat from which he was diving had to motor 16 hours back to land so he could be treated in hospital.
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER pleasure dive to observe some of the small creatures of the mangroves. I was absorbed by a tiny crustacean on a patch of anemone.Crocodile attack Raja Ampat Indonesia - divernet.com
My concentration was broken by a strange muffled sound. Chus Barrientos, my friend and diving buddy, was shouting through his regulator. I looked up to see him finning furiously backwards.
On the surface, perhaps 6m away and just 1m above me, was a saltwater crocodile. It was swimming fast, roughly in my direction.
I froze, and held my breath, hoping that if I didnt blow bubbles or stir the water, it might not notice me. It passed. Then its head suddenly swung sharply to the right and it dived towards me.
Four months before the above attack (which was in 2009), Lauren Greider, a former nurse from California, had been chased by a smaller, significantly less bulky crocodile at the same Blue Water Mangroves dive site.
Other sea life at Raja Ampat
Other less dangerous sea life in the waters of Raja Ampat include dolphins, manta rays, as already mentioned above, and of course other rays too, including the blue spotted ray.
You may also be lucky enough to see a banded sea krait or sea snake too. Plus this list of other sea creatures:
- Sharks in addition to those mentioned above include blacktip reef sharks,
- Broadclub cuttlefish.
- Seahorses and pipefish.
- Clown fish (Nemo).
- A whole host of coral fish including bennies, cow fish, scorpionfish, lion fish,
- Bumphead parrotfish.
- Moral eels.
Cederawasih Bay 2018 - with whale sharks
For the whale shark footage, jump to 3 minutes 10 seconds.
I hope you enjoyed this article about
Raja Ampat liveaboard luxury
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or types of scuba diving (or specifically about Raja Ampat liveaboard luxury), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!