There aren’t many places left in the world that are truly unexplored. Just off the coast of Western Papua in Indonesia, though, lies an archipelago known as Raja Ampat. Situated in the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’, a 6 million square-kilometre ecosystem that's home to more coral reef species than anywhere else on the planet, Raja Ampat is one of the final frontiers of scuba diving exploration. Many of the archipelago’s islands remain uninhabited, and there are numerous reefs that are yet to be dived… Who knows what lurks beneath the surface?
This project gives you the chance to dive unexplored reefs, and get involved in marine conservation efforts in the area to ensure that this stunning aquatic environment is protected. One of the project’s main aims is to produce a coastal habitat-map for the area, to help advise local authorities how best to manage Marine Protected Areas. After spending a week learning how to dive and getting qualified, you’ll then spend each day conducting research dives to help monitor and survey the reefs. Community work is another important strand of this project, so you’ll also lend a hand with various local initiatives like beach clean-ups and environmental education classes. In your free time play volleyball on the beach, explore the island, mingle with the locals and simply enjoy life in paradise.
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What We Love
A Diver’s Paradise: Raja Ampat, or ‘Four Kings’, consists of over 1,500 islands and cays – although only 35 are inhabited! An area of astonishing marine biodiversity, many of the reefs surrounding the islands have never been explored, making it a dream destination for intrepid divers…
Meet the Gentle Giants: Get involved with the project’s manta ray monitoring programme for the chance to see these majestic animals up-close. Learn to recognise key characteristics and behaviours, as well as distinguishing markings. Of course, sightings can’t be guaranteed, but if you do spot one you’ll feel like the luckiest diver alive!
A Rewarding Conservation Experience: As well as contributing to the protection of stunning coral reefs during daily research dives and other conservation activities, you’ll also get involved with vital community initiatives: teach English to children, raise awareness of environmental issues, and lend a hand with all-important beach clean-ups!
This experience has achieved a Gold World Rating!
This experience delivers a high level of sustainability!
What makes this experience sustainable?
The seas that surround Raja Ampat contain an astonishing 80% of the world’s hard coral species, over 1,300 species of fish, and six out the world’s seven marine turtle species. Now that’s some impressive bio-credentials! Many of Raja Ampat’s islands remain uninhabited and relatively unexplored, with numerous reefs yet to be dived. Since very little is known about many of these important reef ecosystems, the extent of this project’s significance is still being discovered… The project’s main aim is to produce thorough and detailed habitat maps of coastal areas, which can then be used to inform local government and communities as to how to best safeguard and protect marine ecosystems.
Of course, the long-term success of the project cannot be guaranteed unless the local community are involved in the process. After all, they are the custodians of their environment. Understanding this, the project therefore also aims to ‘bridge the gap’ between local communities and reef ecosystems. Many local people rely on the reefs, but with practices like over-fishing, shark finning, fishing with dynamite and coral destruction rife, this relationship is unsustainable. By teaching improving education through teaching local people alternative sustainable fishing practices, and highlighting the economic benefits of protecting marine habitats, the project is able to both protect marine environments and also support local economies.
The Adventure Begins: After being met at your hotel by one of the project facilitators, you’ll transfer to the nearby port to board the ferry to Arborek Island. Upon your arrival at the project site, you’ll spend some time settling in and getting to know your fellow volunteers. Take in the beauty of your new surroundings – Raja Ampat is one of the world’s most stunning marine environments!
Project Days: If you come to the project unqualified, your first week will be spent completing your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications. From then on, (or if you are already qualified) a typical day will look something like this: weather dependent, you’ll begin your first survey dive at 9am, or head straight into the local community to assist with one of several community-based projects, before completing your second dive of the day after lunch. On Saturdays, you can take a leisure dive in the morning before enjoying a free afternoon. Sundays are dive-free days, giving you time to rest and recover! Relax on the beach, explore the island, get to know the locals in the village, or have some fun playing volleyball or football!
Project Days: Continue participating in survey dives, and spending time helping with other community-based initiatives. Once you’re a PADI Advanced Open Water qualified diver, you’ll also have the chance to complete your Rescue Diver and Emergency First Response qualifications if you wish (at an additional cost).
Departure: Transfer back to Sorong for one final night’s stay, before boarding your homeward flight. If the adventure doesn’t end here, begin your independent travel plans!
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- 3 meals a day, tea, coffee and filtered water
- Scuba diving training courses for divers (ONLY for Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Emergency First Response courses. For Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses there is an additional fee of £200 and £350 respectively)
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) and Regulator hire for the first week of your stay
- Tanks, air, weights & weight belts (all divers)
- Comprehensive Science Training Programme
- All dives (12 a week in total when possible)
- PADI Emergency First Response course (worth £100)
- 24hr field support staff
- Transfers between Waisai Port to Basecamp
- Airport and ferry transfers
- Travel insurance (Please make sure this is DAN)
- PADI manuals and Dive Certification (Positive Identification Card - PIC) - these must be bought before you fly as you cannot purchase either out at Raja Ampat
- Personal diving equipment
- Additional dive courses - Rescue (£200) and Divemaster (£350) courses
- Raja Ampat Marine Reserve park fee (IDR 1,000,000 or approximately £60)
- Personal spending money
- Dive Slate - you must bring this with you
- Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' up above to chat to the operator directly!
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to enquire about full project dates, availability and costs
- To secure a place on this project a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.