Resort based diving in Raja Ampat – is it a real option or is a liveaboard the way to go?
Raja Ampat is one of the top dive locations globally. Certainly it is the most popular diving region in Indonesia. Deservedly so because there is some spectacular diving to be had there!
Come the start of the main dive season in mid-October, liveaboards start to arrive in Sorong in droves. Where just ten years ago you could count the number of those boats on the fingers of both hands and still have a few digits left. But these days, there at least 50 boats operating during the season…
So popular has Raja Ampat become that there are now boats catering for all levels of diving travelers. There are super luxury vessels for which you don’t even need to bring any dive gear (they have it all on board for your convenience). While at the other end of the scale backpacker boats that still get you to the same places. But in a slightly different, but considerably more economical style.
But what if you don’t want to, or can’t afford to do a liveaboard – is there an alternative?
All of my trips to Raja Ampat have all been on liveaboards. But I have observed a significant number of landbased resorts being established offering “local” diving. Basically following the model first established by Max Ammer. Max was the original pioneer of diving in Raja Ampat, with his first dive camp on Kri Island in the Dampier Strait.
Resort Based Diving in Raja Ampat Article
I was curious to see how resort based diving in Raja Ampat would compare with the liveaboard-based experience I have had. So when I received an invite from Wicked Diving to try their new dive resort in the Dampier Strait, I decided to accept and see the reality for myself.
It was quite a different experience from liveaboard diving – starting from the arrival at Sorong airport. Here you are normally met by some of the crew and transported straight to the boat or a hotel for the night. Not this time… Self-reliance is the key as you negotiate a taxi ride to the ferry terminal and work out how to get a ticket on the ferry over to Waisai.
Overall it was a good experience. I wrote a comprehensive article on the trip that was published recently in the global dive magazine X-Ray. You can use this link to download the Dampier Strait – Resort Based diving in Raja Ampat article.