Raja Ampat is one of those places you can go back to year after year. I’ve personally done close to 2,000 dives in the area and I’m still enthralled with the diving Raja holds. However good the diving though, there are a few sites I’m most keen to jump in on, each with their own unique charm.
5. The Jetties
Diving around the jetties in Raja Ampat is a truly unique experience. The vertical columns are abound with life of all sorts while the substrate is usually a great place for wonderful critters of all shapes and sizes. No matter which jetty you dive—there are quite a few to choose from—you can’t go wrong.
4. The Mangroves
Similar to diving around Raja’s jetties, the mangroves offer a highly unusual underwater experience. The roots create an intricate labyrinth where juvenile fish, sharks, and rays all take refuge while the clear water, which is unique to Raja’s mangroves, allows you to expedience a world where the blue skis above and the prolific reef scenery below are stitched together with the arching roots of these hydroponic forests.
3. Two Tree Islands
Two tree island can be one of the most amazing experiences dives of your life. However, you need to be a bit lucky and make sure you’re diving it during the right season. From around October to about February, large shoals of silversides fill the islands reefs. As if this isn’t enough, fleets of mobula rays will often emerge from the blue to hunt the clouds of tiny fish which makes for an overwhelming hunting display.
2. Yiliet Kecil
Yiliet Kecil is one of my favorite sites in Raja for it’s predictability. No matter the season, tide, current, or any other variable affecting diving conditions—Yiliet Kecil rocks. The reef top is covered in large bommies and carpeted with sponges. Several very large and very friendly schools of batfish are also always hangin around along with schools of big-eyed trevally and barracuda. If you are a macro lover, several species of pigmy seahorse can be found along with leaf-scorpion fish and electric clams.
1. Karang Bayangan (Magic Mountain or Shadow Reef)
Karang Bayangan—or any other name the site goes by—is arguably the best dive site in Raja Ampat. The submerged pinnacle is not only FULL of all different species of fish, sharks, turtles, and coral—but it’s also one of the few places in the world where you can see oceanic mantas (manta birostris) and the reef mantas (manta alfredi) cleaning together.