Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

Jan 03
Raja Ampat


Raja Ampat underwater photos & trip report

By Scott Gietler


In December 2012, 16 of us embarked on an epic journey to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Most of us flew through Hong Kong to Jakarta, and 12 hours later boarded a flight to Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. It was a lot of travel, but was it worth it? The short answer is most definitely!

A complete report with a review of the boat, travel tips, and dive sites will appear next week on the Underwater Photography Guide. In the meanwhile, here is a quick sample of some of the amazing experiences we had in Raja Ampat.

Getting to Raja Ampat

Most people overnight in Bali, Jakarta, or Singapore before flying onward to Sorong. Most of us overnighted in Jakarta which offered direct 4-hour flights to Sorong. Some of us had large excess baggage charges going to Sorong, and others did not. I’ll give a more thorough overview of travel tips in the UWPG article. It was a long trip, but well worth it.

Enjoying the Indo-Siren

Once we boarded the boat, the vacation / adventure had begun, before we even left the harbor. I attribute a large part of this the open-air design of the eating area on the deck, which tremendously added to the atmosphere of the trip. More details on the boat, crew, dinghies and food next week.

Raja Ampat Marine Life

We saw huge numbers of fish on this trip. Fusiliers, snappers, tuna, barracuda, mackerel, bumpheads, napolean wrasse, groupers and jacks were prevalent on most dives. A few dives also had gray reef, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks. There was good macro on the Jetty night dives, and a good number of Wobbegong sharks, a few sightings of the “walking” shark, a big sea snake and a couple good cuttlefish encounters. Soft corals were prolific, especially in the Misool area. It felt like almost every dive site had pygmy seahorses. I saw my first blue-ring octopus ever on this trip.

Where did we dive? The route

We did 8.5 days of diving, 33 dives total (we only did 3 dives the day we traveled from Misool to the “north”). All of the dive sites in the eastern Misool area were excellent (e.g – Boo Windows, Nudie Rock). We spent the 2nd half of the trip in the “North”, which includes the manta dive, jetty dives, northern mangroves, and high-adrenaline¬†current dives around the Kri Eco Resort area. In general some current was welcome because it brought out the fish, ¬†although on 2-3 dives the current was too strong to take photos underwater.

Raja Ampat Underwater Photos

Here’s a small sample of photos from our trip, look for more in our upcoming UWPG article.

Image at top of page: Wobbegong shark swimming at Mioskon

Cuttlefish from Arborek Jetty. Nikon D7000, Tokina 10-17mm lens, dual YS-D1 strobes

A wave of fish in Raja, Misool area



Raja Ampat fish explosion, Cape Kri

Barracuda, Misool area

Goby on soft coral, night dive, Nikon 60mm lens + teleconverter

Lionfish hunting, Misool area


Pontohi pygmy seahorse, photo by Eduardo Nadel


Beautiful nudibranch, photo by Ross Makulec


Clownfish in an anemone, photo by Scott Friedman


Manta Ray and sponge at “Manta Sandy”, photo by Tracey Winholt

Juvenile shark, photo by Michael Samale

Juvenile whitetip shark, Misool area, photo by Michael Samale