Raja Ampat Islands is a great potential to serve as a tourist attraction, especially diving tourism. Raja Ampat Islands waters according to various sources, is one of the 10 best waters for diving site around the world. In fact, it may also be recognized as number one for the completeness of underwater flora and fauna at the moment.
Dr. John Veron, coral experienced members from Australia, for example, in a site he reveals that, Raja Ampat Islands, located in the most western tip of Papua Island, about 50 miles northwest of Sorong, has the best reef areas in Indonesia. Around 450 types of coral could be identified for two weeks of research in the area.
Team of experts from Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanographic Institution (LON) Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) have done a quick evaluation in 2001 and 2002. As a result, they are recorded in these waters there are more than 540 types of hard coral (75% of the total type in the world), more than 1,000 types of reef fish, 700 types of mollusks, and the highest note gonodactyloid stomatopod crustaceans. This makes 75% of the world’s coral species in Raja Ampat. None of the places with the same broad area have this number of coral species.
There are several areas of coral reefs are still very good condition with the percentage of live coral close to 90%, preferably at Dampier strait (the straits between Waigeo P. and P. Batanta) Kofiau Islands, South and South East Misool Kepualauan Wayag Islands. Type of coral reefs in Raja Ampat is generally reef edge with sloping to steep contour. But also found atoll type and type scorched or taka. In some places like the village Saondarek, when the lowest tides, coral reefs can be seen without a dive stretch and with its own adaptation, the corals can still be alive even in the open air and exposed to direct sunlight.
Unique species that can be found when diving is some kind of pigmy Seahorse or mini kudalaut, wobbegong and Manta rays. Also no endemic fish Raja Ampat, namely Eviota king, that a fish gobbie. At Manta point buffer Arborek Dampier strait, you can dive in the company of some tail Manta Ray of benign like when you dive in Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan. If you dive at Cape Kri or Chicken Reef, you can surrounded by thousands of fish. Sometimes the tuna, giant trevallies and snappers. But the tense if we are surrounded by a group of barracuda, even though it’s relatively harmless (which is dangerous if we turn up barracuda solitary or private). Reef shark is often seen, and if you’re lucky you may also see turtles being quietly eating sponge or swim around you. In some places like the Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo also seen Dugong or sea cow.
Because of the many island provinces and narrow straits, so most of the dive site at any given time have a strong current. It allows also to perform drift dive, dive as the currents are strong with very clear water while penetrating the fish. There are also relics of sunken aircraft in World War II, which can also be found in a number of diving spots make a great place to Wreck dive in P. Wai. And much more reef sites actually have never been touched. This makes diving in Raja Ampat feel more challenging.