Hidden Bays & Painted Rocks
From Kaimana via Triton Bay and Fak Fak into Raja Ampat

This cruise between Kaimana and Sorong takes us along the New Guinea coast and through South and Central Raja Empat to some of the world’s very best yet at the same time very little dived sites.

We will leave Kaimana bound south along the towering New Guinea coast line. A backdrop of steep limestone cliffs topped by pristine rain forest make for eerie scenery; oftentimes for kilometers, galleries of rock paintings delineate ancient burial grounds. The sea underneath is rich in nutrients and offers stunning biodiversity. We start with diving Triton Bay, with its exuberant soft coral gardens, large forests or black coral, and an amazing array of reef fish. Turning around to head up North, we dive for a couple of days along the Papuan coastline and off Fak Fak, where the diving offers great variety – splendid reef systems, some of the fishiest dives in the entire country, as well as some stunning rock and cave formations. From here onwards we move further up North towards the Southern part of Raja Empat, diving Misool and the labyrinth of islets and rocks surrounding it. Also here, the surface and underwater scenery are equally pristine, and each and every anchorage will be a picture-book experience. On our way into Sorong, we stop at the South shore of the island of Batanta, one of the Four Kings, for the only black sand diving Raja Ampat has to offer.

Please note that we are conducting this cruise in both directions, from Kaimana to Sorong (as described above) and also in the reverse sense, from Sorong to Kaimana. Kaimana can be reached best from Jakarta or Ambon while Sorong, the major town on the Bird’s Head Peninsula and in the West of Indonesian New Guinea, offers connections to many destinations across Indonesia including Jakarta, Makassar, Ambon, Manado, Manokwari or Jayapura.


Dive Blog - Hidden Bays & Painted Rocks

Check out our dive blog and read up on some spectacular dives we had on this cruise itin!

13-Dec-14: Magic Mountain
We defied the rather stiff current and worked our way over to the ridge, only to be rewarded with a large oceanic manta coming in to get cleaned! We watched for a good 15 or 20 minutes, until our computer and pressure gauges suggested it might be time to head back to the main reef and a little shallower, leaving the manta who was still circling back an forth, utterly undisturbed by the spectators.

11-Nov-14: Andiamo
We enjoyed great conditions on this fabulous site: the current was so mild that one could tour almost the entire dive site during a dive. And still, there was a myriad of fish big and small, including barracuda, snappers, and a few whitetip sharks.

09-Dec-14: The Frontier
Today must have marked the annual gathering of bigeye trevallies of Eastern Indonesia … jacks hung in the current just about everywhere, above us, to our left, to our right, and in front of us off the steep slope. Many giant trevallies roamed about as well, as whitetips and grey reefsharks patrolled up and down the slope, sometimes turning around just in front of us.

08-Dec-14: Logomasiei
Everybody had a great time as this dive site offers so many different habitats: numerous gobies and some very pretty and rare nudibranches populate the vast sand flats, as fusiliers stream around the current-swept rock bommies in the shallows, and jacks swam up from the depth along the vertical sheer wall.

27-Mar-14: Black Forest
An easy afternoon dive, shallow and almost no current, yet so many things to see! We found an abundance of nudis and gobies; silver sweetlips standing still under black coral bushes; groupers hiding under coral bommies; and, batfish, yellow-spotted trevally and large red snappers criss-crossing the water just below the surface.

25-Mar-14: The Hospital
Once again there was an unbelievable abundance of fish schooling over this reef. The schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish were at times so dense that it was difficult to see the rest of the group of divers.

22-Mar-14: Candy Store
We had great visibility and lots of fish life this morning on Candy Store. Thanks to a very mild current, we managed to make it around the entire dive site, taking in the pinnacle, canyons, and rocks lush with soft coral on the plateau.

10-Dec-13: Ancient Reef
This dive will remain unforgettable ...
As we entered there was only a light current and not much fish. We finned a little across the ridge against whatever current there was, as a large oceanic manta swept in and past us. Needless to say, everybody followed the manta … and the manta kept circling back and forth atop one of the dive guides … it was very clear that he was looking for help: a large fishing hook was stuck in his belly! After an estimated 20 attempts by one of the guides to get under his belly and pull out the hook, the manta started going deeper, and it appeared he was giving up. Then he took a long, deep circle, came back up a little shallower, and stood still vertically in front of another diver: he let the diver approach him, hold on to the hook, and remained in place for the 10-15 seconds it took the diver to remove the hook (which as it turned out had a counterhook complicating matters) from his his belly. Upon which the diver let loose and swam away, while the manta took off, very slowly and gracefully. We were all very happy and satisfied that we could have helped this beautiful, large animal - and at the same time amazed at how smart he was to seek out help from a human!

12-Dec-13: Lighthouse
It had been pouring down all morning from grey skies, yet we were lucky: just as we turned the corner where the slope turns into a steep wall, a giant grouper came right up to us from the depth. As we were looking down the path he had taken, we observed the school of eight eagle rays, standing still in the current off the wall, gracefully moving their wings! They did not notice us and where still standing in the same place when our dive co computer already alarted us that it was time for us to go shallower.

15-Dec-13: Balbulol Pinnacle
This site is slowly but surely becoming one of our favorites in Southern Raja Ampat. With only a light current running, the canyon separating the rock islands from the pinnacle was filled with fish; one literally had to push the fish aside in order to swim through! Fusiliers were streaming vertically up and down the steep wallface, as large schools of three different types of trevallies chased past in short intervals!

21-Mar-13: Iridescence
Iridescence being known a great night dive site, we were almost expecting the line-up of bobtail squids, rare nudibranches, crabs and shrimps, but this time around, the largest Triton walking shark we have ever seen topped it off. And he was not shy, did not shelter but lay out fully exposed in the open, and even started walking on his fins while our guests were taking his pictures!

17-Mar-13: Outer Ridge
Once again perfect conditions at one of our favorite sites on this itin. Great visibility allowed for panoramic views at the end of the ridge: floating a little offshore at around 20m depth gave a clear look at enormous napoleon wrasses a a large blacktip reef shark doing their circles in the depth, while the top of the ridge was alive with two schools of jacks, barracuda, and myriads of sweetlips and soldierfish sheltering near a large field of cabbage corals.

14-Mar-13: Magic Mountain
Yet another out-of-this world dive at Magic Mountain! Almost crystal clear water and incredible numbers of fish – jacks, yellowtail barracuda, chevron barracuda, batfish everywhere, and more giant trevallies than ever. The white tip reef sharks and the manta sweeping through were just the icing on the cake!

12-Mar-13: Balbulol Pinnacle
We were very fortunate with the timing, enjoying both great viz and only a very gentle current, both things one learns to appreciate around Balbulol ... Still, the side of the pinnacle faving the gentle current was packed with balls of baitfish, in turn being chased by large schools of blue trevally and yellow trevally. Around the other side, we took in the superbly covered upper parts of the pinnacle and the adjacent littel valley – everywhere large gorgonian sea fans, dark green tubbastrea, red and purple soft coral, and the occasional black coral bush.