Ryan Photographic - The Resplendent Raja Ampat Dive Trip 2012
Archerfish photographed at "The Passage".
When: July 8 - July 22 (In Sunday - out Sunday)
Where: Kri Eco, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia
We fly into Sorong on the northwest end of West Papua.
The Raja Ampat Islands.
Kri accomodation - going to sleep lulled by the gentle waves is wonderful.
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.
Typical Raja Ampat reef scene.
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.
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
Sepia latimanus Broadclub cuttlefish, Raja Ampat, West Papua
Limaria species (orientalis), Raja Ampat, West Papua
Pygmy seahorse swimming
Yellow mask angelfish
Plectorhinchus polytaenia, Ribbon sweetlips school, 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,
Ryan Photographic, 2802 East 132nd Circle, Thornton,
CO 80241 USA Phone 303-457-9795