Our favourite dive site in Raja Ampat is probably Blue Magic in the middle of central Raja Ampat, just a 20 minute boat ride from Waisai. This is the dive site where you’ll have the biggest chance of seeing Oceanic Mantas. It’s a fairly small pinnacle, with the top being 12 metres from the surface. On the sea bed you’ll find Wobbegong, leaf scorpion fish and other small critters like the amazing pygmy seahorse. With a bit of current you’re pretty much guaranteed some fantastic action diving with grey reef sharks, schooling jacks, tunas, bumpheads and barracudas. Blue Magic will never stop surprising us with it’s magic!
Manta Sandy & Manta Ridge
Manta Sandy & Manta Ridge
These are great spots to dive with the wonderfully graceful manta ray. These majestic creatures can be observed year-round at Manta Sandy where it’s not uncommon to meet more than ten in a single dive and if you’re really lucky you might even spot the rare ‘Black Manta’. Here there’s two options depending on what the currents are doing, Manta Sandy being perfect for beginner divers, or Manta Ridge which is only for experienced divers that feel comfortable in strong currents.
Sardine Reef, a submerged sloping coral reef should be dived in current to ensure plenty of fish life. It’s excellent for big stuff as you’ll see schools of fusiliers, rainbow runners, barracudas, sweetlips, giant trevallies, Spanish mackerel, grey reef sharks and much more. If there is current, you can get plenty of hunting action and hear underwater thunder when the small fish move fast as the tunas strike the bait ball.
Close to Blue Magic you find Chicken reef which looks like a chicken from above. With a sandy bottom at 20m, this is a great spot to find dive and find garden eels, huge schools of black snapper, fusiliers, and butterflyfish. There’s really something for everyone diver, keep your eyes open for macro life and you can find pygmy seahorses, pipefish, nudibranchs and flat wroms, and occasionally something big will swim by like mantas or grey reef sharks.
Melissa’s Garden is one of the most beautiful dive sites in Raja Ampat. This site has some of the most stunning hard corals, lit up by the sun beams at 5 metres, making it perfect for new divers! If you’re looking for the weirdly wonderful wobbegong shark, you have a great chance to see one here, and if you want a bit of action, pop out to the ridges which are surrounded by thousands of fusiliers.
The Passage is one of the most unique dive sites in Raja Ampat. You jump into the small gap in between the islands of Waigeo and Gam, only 20m apart at the narrowest point, with the mangrove roots making it feel like you’re diving through a jungle river with stunning coral on the bottom. With everything from colourful nudibranchs to bumphead parrotfish it’s a truly amazing experience when the tides starts pushing the water through and it becomes almost like a rollercoaster!
Cape Kri is probably the most famous site in Raja Ampat, being the dive site that holds the record for the highest number of fish species on one site – with 347 recorded in a single dive! It’s a beautiful wall with a ridge that splits the current which attracts all sorts of action from schools of tuna, barracuda and trevallies as well as the big stuff with black and white tip and grey reef sharks regularly spotted here.