The beauty and wonder of Raja Ampat never ceases to amaze us; it really is such a privilege to sail and dive the waters of these islands. Writer and photographer Kara Murphy spent two weeks onboard Dunia Baru earlier this year and her beautifully written story, published in the June 2015 issue of ShowBoats International, highlights what an incredible destination the area is for divers and snorkelers. Here are a few extracts from Kara’s story:
To my eyes, the most fetching gilled inhabitants had been the seven-plus species of anemone fish, a Papuan scorpionfish, a porcupine fish and thousands of fusileers and dainty blue chromes, which flitted above the shallow, teal-tipped hard coral gardens at Melissa’s Garden off Penemu Island in the Fam Islands. This last site was so magnificent that we visited it twice in one day: however, afternoon currents transformed its calm morning environment into a chaotic frenzy of worried-looking fish hovering just above the reef, easily swept up and down and side to side according to the sea’s whim. Not my cup of salty tea really, although the currents did deliver a beautiful woebegone, stealthily navigating the fickle waters like they were no hassle at all.
The changing current conditions and site variety is one reason why Raja Ampat manages to satisfy just about every type of diver. My preferred diving style is akin to an underwater stroll; current dives feel too much like a sprint. Yet Dunia Baru’s owner and some of the other guests are adrenaline-seeking divers… and the dive instructors were able to choose sites and depths each day that catered to both tastes.
… Wayag quickly became my favourite area – not due to the diving (other sites farther south are even more spectacular), but because of the ease of other activities within its massive, calm lagoons, which are spiced by dozens of exquisite, orchid-covered, karst limestone outcrops. The lagoons, I find, are perfect for paddle boarding, and Dunia Baru is equipped with a couple of boards, as well as kayaks and personal watercraft, all of which are well used. The reefs along the lagoon edges are also lovely, perfect for cooling off with a snorkel mid-paddle.
Mount Pindito, the island’s highest point, offers a sublime view over a couple of the island’s lagoons. A tucked-away inlet becomes an exhilarating drift snorkel at high tide, as the surf and currents rush in from the sea, washing over a river of coral and weary fish.
Thank you Kara and ShowBoats International for such a wonderful feature – and for joining us onboard Dunia Baru.