Doing a liveaboard in Raja Ampat in June at the end of season means some rain and wind but also some spectacular diving.
Yellow snapper and big eye snapper, Miskion © email@example.com
Took a risk and dived Raja Ampat at the end of season in June 2023. Would like to say I’d cleverly planned it out because I knew the conditions would be great and we’d be the only boat there, but actually did it because my birthday is in June. (Happy birthday to me).
Sturgeonfish, My Reef, Raja Ampat © firstname.lastname@example.org
I did two trips back to back on MSY Damai (dive-damai.com) 3 to 10 June and then 12 to 23 June. For the first trip which was 7 days – 6 dive days – we skipped Misool completely due to bad weather and stayed around the Waigeo region. For the second 12 day trip which was 11 dive days we ventured to Misool for the first 3 days and then returned Waigeo to largely repeat the classic itinerary of the previous trip.
The Coral Throne, Melissa’s Garden © email@example.com
While the first trip was merely great the second trip was epic. Despite the bad weather in Misool, we still managed several great dives. The conditions in Waigeo for some of the days were nothing short of spectacular. At My Reef, Cape Kri, Sardine Reef and Suwandarek Jetty we had gin clear waters and epic fish action – you just didn’t know where to look first. So much so we ended up diving Cape Kri three times and Sunantarak jetty twice as voted by the guests otherwise there would have been a mutiny. (It helped that the tides allowed us to dive them again in the time slots we had available).
Fish cloud, My Reef, Raja Ampat © firstname.lastname@example.org
On top of that, we had all these dive sites to ourselves throughout the entire 12 day trip and most of the first week-long trip too. There was precisely one dive where we saw other divers in the water – which was an odd moment because we’d got used to there only ever being our group in the water.
Here’s a rundown of the highlights of the dives over the two trips (I’ve not mentioned every individual dive that we did or talked about the night dives as I skipped all of them):
Wobbegong on plate coral, Andiamo © email@example.com
The first full day of diving was in the Deram area in the Misool region. It was a bumpy overnight trip from Sorong to Deram. The rain came and went during the day and still gave us plenty of light at Andiamo, Candy Store and Warna Berwarna (“colourful” in bahasa Indonesian)
Yellow snapper, Candy Store © firstname.lastname@example.org
While Andiamo was a super fishy dive with wobbegongs, schools of fusiliers, batfish and a sea snake, Candy Store was quieter fish wise but had some great reef and schooling snappers.
Fans, Warna Berwarna © email@example.com
Warna Berwarna had a lot of fans with great visibility in the shallows but murky below 10 metres. Staying above 10 metres is often a great strategy for diving in Raja, especially for taking photos – longer in the water and where all the light is.
Boo Windows © firstname.lastname@example.org
Boo Windows was not particularly memorable this time around as the weather was so dark with rain that our early morning dive felt like a night dive. Puri Pinnacles was a lot better later in the morning, with surprisingly good viz letting you see the pinnacles top to bottom.
Reef, Neptune Sea Fan © email@example.com
Neptune Sea Fan was outstanding, however, its location sheltered from the wind so much calmer entry and exit. The site itself channel with bommies and a wall covered in gorgonian fans and soft corals. The reef is extremely rich here and the current moving through the channel brings the coral plenty of food.
Fish over plate corals, Nudi Rock © firstname.lastname@example.org
This morning’s weather a bit better – still grey but less rain and a less rough sea. Rain is fine, it’s wind that always causes the problems. First dive at Four Kings was easy, and while I love this site, it feels a bit degraded from previous visits. The coral looks a bit battered in the shallows.
Solitary dotted sweetlips, Three Sisters © email@example.com
Nudi Rock was more exciting with a lot of fish coming in over the reef. The end of the dive was just spectacular with hundreds of fish rushing in from the blue over the reef and circling back round to do it again. Three Sisters was by comparison pretty dark and murky but the small channel between the tiny islands let through some great light.
A bit fishy, My Reef © firstname.lastname@example.org
Crossed back from Misool to Waigeo. Weather somewhat better. Then began an epic sequence of dives. Two dives today at My Reef. On the first dive, there was spectacular visibility which allowed a panoramic view of the vast number of fish racing through the blue. Rainbow runners in their thousands moving like a cloud around one specific point. Fusiliers shooting across – endless energy and activity crackling across the reef, a blur of motion.
Sharks mating, Melissa’s Garden © email@example.com
Melissa’s Garden, another long time favourite of mine, didn’t disappoint. Last week we’d seen the very rare spectacle of sharks having sexy time and while we didn’t get a repeat performance, this huge hard coral garden is always great to spend time in.
Wobbegong Shark, My Reef © firstname.lastname@example.org
Third dive back at My Reef, the visibility had super cloudy but still a lot of action around the reef itself and still out in the blue. And just to finish things off, the weather stayed calm and we had a proper sunset.
Big school of sweetlips, Cape Kri © email@example.com
Cape Kri – simply the best I’ve ever seen it. Spectacular viz and strangely similar to My Reef with everything circling around one particular spot on the reef. A huge school of sweetlips down below 30 metres. Black tip sharks showed up at the end amongst the fusiliers, rainbow runners and barracuda.
The water was flat calm and despite the overcast skies and scattered rain drops it felt like light was pouring onto the dive site – looking up was like looking from the other side of a mirror
Barracuda, Sardine Reef © firstname.lastname@example.org
Weather and conditions continued for next dive at Sardine Reef – could not believe our luck. Viz still amazing and fish life insane – big school of barracuda and surgeon fish at beginning and then hundreds of sturgeon fish running single file across the reef at 10 metres and 4 metres – the line of fish just kept going for minutes on end joined by rainbow runners too – big school of batfish shooting past – all heading down the reef to god knows where. Trying to follow and see too difficult due to the current.
Magic Rock swimthrough © email@example.com
Magic Rock – an small island hollowed out underneath by the ocean. Drop down onto a plateau that turns out to be a huge overhang – underneath a series of big swim throughs each area several metres wide – soft coral growing on the rocks and light diffused through the swim throughs
Staghorn Reef, Batu Dalam © firstname.lastname@example.org
Batu Dalam – dived this as near to baby shark jetty. Sandy slope, a huge amount of stag horn coral and reef fish – nothing amazing but still quite stunning at the sheer abundance of it and decent viz too. Spent 40 mins here and then off to jetty.
Scads and sunburst under the jetty © email@example.com
Just behind Batu Dalam is a bay with a small village and a jetty. Baby blacktips – and not so baby blacktips too – congregate in the shallows. Under the jetty was the real photo moment for me – a massive school of jacks in the late afternoon light – unfortunately no sharks showed up in the middle of them.
Jellyfish, Changeo © firstname.lastname@example.org
Changgo – plateau around 10 metres with a big hole leading down and out to 20 metres – the movement of the water pushing up and sucking back through the hole is really powerful. Strong current pushing through and around this small island so elected to stay at the back in the shelter – two turtles here and some jellyfish in the early morning light.
Teardrop Corner – nice reef on a steep slope, some fishy action in the blue, spent most of the time in the shallows with the hard corals.
School of scads, Pearl Farm Jetty © email@example.com
Pearl Farm Jetty – Spent mainly at 2 metres with a big school of jacks. Amazing with the late afternoon light and calm water. Not much under the jetty itself except group of 6 batfish and some lion fish. The night dive here at Alyui is excellent – a real night-time critter hunt.
Two wobbegong sharks, Dayang, Raja Ampat © firstname.lastname@example.org
Although the viz was cloudy on the two times I visited Dayang over the two trips, it’s a great site. The possibility of manta rays is the main attraction but it is a really rich reef on a shallow slope – there is a lot to look while waiting to see if the mantas to show up. On our first visit we saw two mantas in a courtship ritual and there were fly-bys on our second visit too but they are quite skittish. Wobbegong sharks are fond of this site too.
Giant turtle swimming, Sundarawarek Jetty © email@example.com
Dived Suwandarek Jetty twice over the last couple of days of the trip as it’s just packed with marine life. Down to 25 metres to see the sweetlips over the cabbage coral, along to see the giant turtles – 4 of them plus a little one, more sweetlips in the shallows over huge table corals, then the circling jacks below a flat calm surface and finally at the jetty itself surrounded by hundreds of zebra fish – just amazing.
Grouper, Cape Kri © firstname.lastname@example.org
Final two dives of the trip were back to Cape Kri and Sundarawarek Jetty. Visibility was still great at both sites – it was real pinch yourself clarity. And of course, because it was the final day of the trip, the weather suddenly became glorious.
Zebra fish, Suwandarek Jetty © email@example.com
Suwandarek Jetty was fascinating because it was effectively a repeat of yesterday – still great viz and all the same stuff there! Spending time just quietly parked near the turtles so as not to disturb them and then watch them leisurely take off and head to the surface and then return to their individual spot on the reef. Ended the final dive just staring at the jacks circling with the sun streaming down. Perfect end to the trip.
Giant turtle, Sundarawarek Jetty © firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks as ever to all the Damai crew who made these trips superb as always. I’ve been diving on Damai since the boat launched in 2008 – 15 years! – and the quality and consistency of service has remain unchanged throughout all that time. It’s a remarkable achievement and long may it continue.
Raja Ampat Liveaboard 12-23 June 2023 Journey Map
Raja Ampat Liveaboard 12-23 June 2023 Journey Map © Damai liveaboard
Complete List Of Dives For Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trip on Damai 1 12-23 June 2023
|Date||Dive site name||Area||Region|
|13-Jun||Ylliet Kecil Night Dive||Fiabacet||Misool|
|14-Jun||Barracuda Rock Night Dive||Wayilbatan||Misool|
|16_jun||Galaxy night dive||Penemu||Central|
|17-Jun||Kri Corner||Dampier Strait||Central|
|17-Jun||Sardine Reef||Dampier Strait||Central|
|17-Jun||Blue Magic||Dampier Strait||Central|
|17-Jun||Saporkren Night Dive||Dampier Strait||Central|
|18-Jun||Eagle Rock||Kawe||North Raja|
|18-Jun||Black Rock||Kawe||North Raja|
|18-Jun||Two Hump Rock||Wayag||North Raja|
|18-Jun||Wayag Black Water||Wayag||North Raja|
|19-Jun||Uranie Cave||Uranie||North Raja|
|19-Jun||Magic Rock||Uranie||North Raja|
|19-Jun||Bommie Bowl||Wayag||North Raja|
|19-Jun||Wayag Black Water||Wayag||North Raja|
|20-Jun||Channel Island||Waigeo||North Raja|
|20-Jun||Channel Island||Waigeo||North Raja|
|20-Jun||Peal Farm Night dive||Waigeo||North Raja|
|21-Jun||Sawandarek Pier||Dampier Strait||Central|
|21-Jun||Dampier Black Water||Dampier Strait||Central|
|22-Jun||Kri Corner||Dampier Strait||Central|
|22-Jun||Sawandarek Pier||Dampier Strait||Central|
Raja Ampat Diving Guides and Info
For an overview of what to expect when diving Raja Ampat and useful tips on how to get there and what to bring with you, see our Diving Raja Ampat: A Quick Guide and listen to the Divehappy podcast episodes on Raja Ampat. Misool Eco Resort and Triton Bay. For practicalities on getting there, see How To Get To Raja Ampat, Sorong Airport Guide and the Liveaboard Packing List
Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trip Reports
- Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trip Report June 2023
- Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trip Report December 2019
- Raja Ampat to Triton Bay Liveaboard Trip Report February 2017
- Raja Ampat to Banda Islands and Ambon Trip Liveaboard Report February 2016
- Raja Ampat to Triton Bay Liveaboard Trip Report February 2008
Triton Bay Trip Reports (as part of Raja Ampat liveaboard trips)
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