Amazing Raja Ampat in the off Season Part 2
Visiting Raja Ampat during the off-season opens several extraordinary diving opportunities, that may be considered as “off the beaten track”. Seasonal changes in wind directions mean that some little-known dive sites offer better visibility and incredible marine encounters. Paired with the many sightseeing highlights, and activities that the area has to offer, the off-season is the perfect time for those who want to experience the ‘Last Paradise” in a more relaxed, personal way.
Found to the west of Waisai, Yeben Island is home to beautiful white sand beaches and lush tropical growth, the perfect place to spend a beach day. The shallow reef that surrounds Yeben Island, and connects the smaller islands in the area, is ideal for snorkelling, while the unique layout of these sloping reefs create an incredible dive site.
From walls and gentle slopes that are covered in colourful and lush corals, to sandy patches, where you can find thousands of Garden Eels cautiously sticking out their heads and swaying in the currents. Yeben Shallows is a dive site that never disappoints, and with so many routes and sections to dive it is easy to spend a day of diving exploring the area.
The Wofoh Islands offer incredible vistas of towering cliffs and tropical growth. At the southernmost point of these islands, you can find Edi’s Black Forest. This wall is home to gently swaying soft coral, most notably black coral that gives the site its name. While swimming along the wall, take the time to look at the macro marine life in the coral, with a keen eye it is possible to spot the elusive Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish or even Pygmy Seahorses.
The island is also host to Red Patch Wall, a site found on the opposite side of the island but, when diving, it feels and looks like a different world. While the wall is stained red, giving the site its name, it is covered in sponges and soft coral, with vibrant colours and rich marine life. The dive ends on a gentle slope, with masses of hard coral outcroppings that are alive with marine life, a true underwater garden. Both dive sites are best dived when the sun is out, to really see how the colours come into their own.
The site then gently slopes up, to the perfect safety stop depth, over a field of soft coral bommies alive with colour and marine life. It is often possible to find wobbegong sharks swimming around in the area or hiding under a coral outcropping.
While the Passage is a well-known dive site, that appears on many itinerates and ‘must dive’ lists, it is a dive site that is best dived in the off season. The Passage is found in a natural saltwater river, formed between the Raja Ampat islands of Gam and Waigeo. Surrounded by towering cliffs on either side, this passage has some of the most breath-taking scenery in the entire Raja Ampat.
Shallow reefs, caves and caverns line the cliffs at water level, making the area is perfect for a snorkel safari. Below the surface, the passage offers a unique diving experience for the adventurous. While you can dive the site with no current, the true adventure arrives with the current. While drifting down the river, you will be treated to scenes of incredible sea fans, and other soft coral mangrove forest roots, while the topography of the cliffs extend below the surface, providing incredible views that make you feel like you are cruising through an extension of the beauty you saw above.
When dived in light currents the area allows you to explore the many caverns, swim throughs, and caves in the passage, while admiring the large numbers of nudibranchs, shrimps and other marine critters found in the sandy patches.
From paddle boarding and kayaking safaris to cultural Raja Ampat homestays, where the local communities are always eager provide the best stays, to visits to the famous Blue River or guided bird watching tours. Raja Ampat has something to offer all visitors to the area, with the added benefit of avoiding the crowds.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.