Raja Ampat – Indonesia
Raja Ampat is celebrated for the prehistoric beauty of its limestone karsts and scattered cays and shoals embracing over 1,500 emerald islands set like rough jewels in a cerulean sea. Located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea, and part of the Indonesian West Papua Province, you can explore prehistoric caves, visit ancient tribes, gaze at birds of paradise and discover dive sites famed for having the most species recorded on a single dive.
The legend of how the islands creation perfectly describes the enchanted nature of the region whose name translates as ‘four kings.’ Local mythology tells of a woman who finds seven mysterious eggs. Immediately after she discovers them, four hatch and become kings who reign over Raja Ampat’s biggest islands – Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool, and the other three are not so lucky and become a ghost, a woman, and a stone.
The Village of Arborek and Atlas Pearl Farms
There are so many amazing things to do in this far flung corner of the world. Visit the small yet beautiful island of Arborek. From the pier, divers and snorkellers can simply plunge into the water where they are instantly engulfed in a glittering array of spectacular coral fans and walls of fish, just below the surface. The local people in the village will welcome you warmly and live as they have done for thousands of years. They are only one of many indigenous tribes within the region.
Tour the Atlas Pearl Farm, where some of the world’s best South Sea pearls are to be found, learn more about these natural wonders, and even purchase a few gems as keepsakes from this trip of a lifetime. Sailing on a boat called the Orient Pearl means you surely need some real ones!
Record-Breaking Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat
Cape Kri is worth noting as it holds the World Record for the largest number of species referenced in one single dive. Tick off the ‘must-see’ list of the nudibranch, sea dragons, blue striped flagtail pipefish, pygmy seahorses, green sea turtles, giant Napoleon wrasse, and Indian lionfish. Likewise, there are abundant untouched corals gardens and sea fans that serve as homes for large schools of colourful small fish.
Although Cape Kri is named, these waters are so uncharted that unlike Komodo, many of the lesser-known locations are yet to be christened. Thronging with marine life, these magnificent waters are some of the most diverse on the planet, and sailing on a yacht is undisputedly the best way to enjoy the treasures of Raja Ampat. This untouched paradise provides not just sightings of macro life but also plenty of opportunities to see sharks, stingrays, turtles, many species of reef fish, and dolphins.