Ryan Photographic - The Resplendent Raja Ampat Dive Trip 2012


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Archerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Archerfish photographed at "The Passage".

When: July 8 - July 22 (In Sunday - out Sunday)

Where: Kri Eco, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

Indonesia map

We fly into Sorong on the northwest end of West Papua.

Kri Eco map

The Raja Ampat Islands.

kri view

Kri accomodation - going to sleep lulled by the gentle waves is wonderful.

 

How much?

At current Euro/US $ exchange rates the Kri portion of the trip will cost $3235. (Those of you who have been previously get a 10% discount on this so your price is $2910 or thereabouts). This covers all accommodation and meals and unlimited diving (yes, you read that correctly - unlimited diving - however due to Max's religious beliefs there is no diving on Saturday). It doesn't include the Raja Ampat Marine Park fee (around US $50).

Airfare doesn't look so good. If you are flying from the States you have 3 or so options - you can fly to Jakarta, Bali or Singapore. Current round trip to Singapore from LAX is around $1600. Silkair round trip to Manado is another $400 and internal flights from Manado to Sorong return currently indeterminate (I'd back on around $300 - but I will have a ball park figure for you soon - local Indonesian airlines change flights and prices at the drop of a hat). Here's hoping you have enough airpoints saved to get you to Singapore and back. :-)

So airfares are approximately $1600 (from LAX) + $400 + $300. I would encourage you to book your own Singapore and Singapore/Manado flights as soon as we have confirmed dates from Kri. I will book our  internal airfares through Tiara Travel in Manado. $2300 for airfare is a good estimate. So - the raw cost all up is $5535 - Our down under friends should get better airfares and those of you repeating will get $300 off your total.

So why should you spend this much money?


Quite simply the best diving in the world - or very close to it. There's a reason documentary film makers go back again and again to Raja Ampat.

raja ampat reef scene

Typical Raja Ampat reef scene.


I attach several links plus the write up I did of Kri for Undercurrents (my bumphead wrasse were bumphead parrotfish).

http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/dive_magazine/2011/RajaAmpatExplained201108.html

Paddys Undercurrent Review

It really was all good. We knew before we got there that there were no ensuites, that there were no hot water showers and no AC. We didn't reallymiss these "luxuries" anyway as we were there to dive. Being lulled to sleep by the sounds of jacks hitting schools of baitfish and the quacking of the local pair of rajah shelducks was very special.

We were issued with reef hooks at the start of our stay and encouraged to use them. Most of us did without but at times they were useful. Sleeping barracuda was a site with a current so strong that one could just swim into it when working really really hard.

Initially I was disappointed with what wasn't there ... no Lembeh Straits muck diving critters ... no frogfish, wasp cockatoofish, wonderpus or mimic octopuses. But what is there is fabulous. Home to incredible fish and hard coral diversity it was often difficult to decide what to look at.

On one amazing dive on "Sardines" we were doing our safety stop when a resident herd (I can't call it a school) of giant bumphead parrotfish came storming along the reef crest. They ranged in size from "little" guys barely three feet long to five foot giants that must have weighed two hundred pounds. Being in the middle of such a group of behemoths going about their business, blithely unconcerned about us strange humans was a heart-stopping, tear inducing experience. I feel
privileged to have seen such a sight.

Food was excellent and there was plenty of it. Staff were friendly (perhaps a little shy) and helpful. Once, when I was walking to the restaurant in a small downpour, one of the staff ran with an umbrella to give to me. When one of our party was ill, they were frequently visited by
staff to see if they could be helped.

We never did see mantas even after three attempts. But our boat had so much fun anyway that the folk in the office could hear our drumming on any available surface in the boat for several miles before we docked. Crazy Eddie's dance on the bow just summed up the trip. I smiled from first waking up to going to bed at night. I'm grinning now as I remember an amazing three weeks.

You must do the trip to "The Passage". It costs extra but it is worth every cent. The limestone islands, the mangroves and the bat cave are all part of this expedition and to add to the pleasure you get a real luxury at the end of it (yes, you get a hot "mandi" usually reserved for after a night dive).

Manager Maya Hadorn, personable and multi-talented, left on vacation after two weeks of our stay but her standins Ami and Nickson were equally helpful and pleasant. Max Ammer, the owner, came and chatted with us and made us feel at home. He was a little harassed at the start of our trip because upmarket Sorido around the corner was occupied by the King of the
Netherlands and various hangers-on.

A number of us picked up dysentery during our stay ... I suspect the salsa! A daily diet of immodium allowed for comfortable diving.

Each accommodation unit had a power strip and after borrowing some adapters from Maya I was able to keep two housings running the whole time.

Staff are scrupulously honest. Small items like a Swiss army knife were always where I left them. They are a little shy and retiring at first but as they get to know you they start to open up. The people contributed enormously to the success of our trip. Meeting mostly European fellow divers was another plus.

Getting there is the pits. We arrived two days late thanks to bad weather and changed airline schedules. Take time in Manado to enjoy the city and go and see the black macaques and the tarsiers at the Tangkoko Reserve. But the diving was memorable and just a little bittersweet. This was how the world used to be.

We will return, I'm starting to save up right now.



http://www.undercurrent.org/members/UCnow/dive_reviews/Indonesia/PapuaDiving_RajaAmpat_report_5883.html

Some of you possess the book I wrote and photographed (with help from trip participants). You can check this out online (go to full screen to maximize images).

http://www.blurb.com/books/918597

See what David Doubilet had to say
:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/09/indonesia/doubilet-text

Finally - here's a link to Kri itself.

http://www.papua-diving.com/

Max is excited about our arrival and is already thinking of cool places to take us.

 

Diving Lembeh Straits

I will be offering a three day, nine dive, Lembeh Straits dive package "prequel". On current exchange rates this is around US$510. Let me know if you are interested and I'll pursue it. There is a less expensive 3 day, six dive package for around US$410.

You can check out the dive operation here. They offer one dive guide per two divers!

The idea would be to arrive in Manado three or four days prior to the departure to Sorong.

 

Here are a few pics from Raja Ampat to enthuse you

 

Chromodoris coi Raja Ampat, West Papua.

Chromodoris coi Raja Ampat, West Papua

Halgerda seaslug

Halgerda species

Sepia latimanus Broadclub cuttlefish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Sepia latimanus Broadclub cuttlefish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Limaria species (orinetalis), Raja Ampat, West Papua

Limaria species (orientalis), Raja Ampat, West Papua

Sea squirt

Sea squirt

Porcelain crab

Porcelain crab

Mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimp

Pygmy seahorse swimming

Pygmy seahorse swimming

Snapper school

Snapper school

Yellow-mask angelfsih

Yellow mask angelfish

Plectorhinchus polytaenia, Ribbon sweetlips school, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Plectorhinchus polytaenia, Ribbon sweetlips school, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Crossosalarias macrospilus Triplespot blenny, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Crossosalarias macrospilus, Triplespot blenny, Raja Ampat, West Papua



I accept credit cards!

 

Who is coming?

Click this link to find out who has already committed to the trip.

Cheers, beers and single malts, and Cabernets and Pinots,

Paddy


 

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