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Category Archive: Raja Ampat Islands

Kayaking Paradise in Raja Ampat Island – Papua – Indonesia

Raja Ampat is a spectacular tropical paradise. White sand beaches, crystal clear water that is teeming with a huge variety of fish and corals. The area’s reputation for having the world’s highest concentration of marine biodiversity has made it a diving hot spot for sometime.

Raja Ampat is a spectacular paradise, teeming with wildlife above and below the surface. The area has one of the world’s highest concentration of marine biodiversity and is a diving “hot spot”. The paddling is world class and with 1500 limestone islands to explore, the dazzling variety is overwhelming as we cruise through a maze of tiny islands. On this 11 day trip we enjoy 7 days of kayaking and spend 3 nights in local homestays, a fantastic way to experience the local culture and meet the people. We spend two nights in a hotel in Sorong and enjoy 6 nights of wilderness camping. It’s a true expedition in nature, and each day brings exciting new adventures.

We are way off the “tourist” path. With only subsistence fishing by local villagers allowed in the area, the ecosystem is largely undisturbed. Teeming with fish and colourful corals, we’ll snorkel at ever opportunity and take in the wonders of the underwater world. We’ll explore vast subterranean limestone caves, full of incredible stalactites and stalagmites which few people have set foot in. Your two guides will prepare all meals featuring a nice blend of Asian and Western cooking. We’ll serve dinner each night as the sun sets relaxing in one of the most spectacular dining rooms in the world. After 8 days we’ll return to Sorong, and enjoy a hot shower, cold beverage and a soft bed.

Kayaking, although new to the area is world class. With more than 1500 limestone islands to explore your senses will be overwhelmed as you cruise through this island maze. Each island has been sculpted by the wind and the rain into a variety of shapes and sizes.

Based on the island of Waigeo, next to the village of Saporkren, the Kayak4conservation project was founded by the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre (RARCC) directed by expatriate Max Ammer, and is managed by Tertius Kammeyer and Jasmine Togeretz. K4C works together with local communities to support sustainable eco-tourism and community development projects in an effort to help protect and conserve the natural marine wonders of the Raja Ampat National Park.

The K4C team has circumvented Indonesia’s crazy tariffs by building their own kayaks, and work with local accommodation owners to provide a chain of guesthouses placed to take advantage of the best routes for kayaking in Raja Ampat. A not-for-profit venture, Kayak4Conservation provides support and advice to the local people who are establishing the guesthouses and who are working to guide the kayak trips.

Working with the project from its inception was another expatriate and longtime resident of Indonesia, Halim. An accomplished kayaker, Halim was keen to add Raja Ampat to the list of amazing Indonesian kayaking expeditions he had already undertaken and jumped at the chance to be one of the first to paddle out from Kri. Guided by Paulus Sauyai, Halim and paddling partner Sweena headed for the Kabui Passage and eventually decided to make a complete circumnavigation of Pulau Gam. You can see some great photos and read about this first Raja Ampat kayak expedition at Halim’s Playak page.

Raja Ampat sea kayaking trip information
– Kayak4conservation offers a number of scheduled trips of varying lengths.
– You can design your own itinerary, but must always employ a local guide.
– Accommodation is local homestay style.
– Camping gear is available for hire for tours in areas not serviced by homestays.
– 11 single and 4 double sea kayaks are available for rent.

The kayaks: In 2012 Kayak4conservation’s desire to supply top quality boats for kayakers was given a huge boost by Arthur and Tracey Fincham from Kaskazi Kayaks. Kaskazi donated moulds for their Skua sea kayaks and Arthur and Tracey visited to train the K4C Papuan fiberglass team to build the boats at the RARCC.

Source:

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http://www.southernseaventures.com

 

 

Where the Money Goes from The Entrance Fees of Raja Ampat National Park

Where the money goes
The money collected from the tags is divided into two major components; the Retribusi fee which goes directly to the Dept of Tourism towards tourism development projects and the Non- Retribusi fee which is managed by a multi-stakeholder team, Tim Pengelola, and divided between conservation/MPA management projects and community projects.

Tim Pengelola, JE Meridien Hotel Sorong
Tel +62 951 328358 | Fax +62 951 326576

 

 

 

 

Information On The Tags System For Tour Operator, Lodges & Liveaboards

Background information on the tag system for tour operators
The following information is provided in order to acquaint dive operators with the detailed justification and workings of the Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fee System. We have tried to design this system in a manner which is as flexible and convenient to dive operators working in Raja Ampat as possible; however, the very different operating environments of liveaboards and locally-based resorts means there are some complexities here which require some explanation as well as patience and consideration on behalf of everyone involved.

Why was the user fee created?
As most operators are aware, ownership and authority over reefs in Raja Ampat (and Papua in general) is more complex than in other parts of Indonesia. In Raja Ampat individual families or villages actually exert traditional marine tenurial rights over the reefs (ie, reefs are not an open-access resource as in most of Indonesia). At the same time, the Raja Ampat Regency government also has management authority over the reefs. Both of these important stakeholders have a variety of legal and moral rights to seek payment from users of the reefs – be those fisheries or tourism interests. Unfortunately, these overlapping authorities have resulted in a fair bit of angst and multiple demands for payments from dive operators – something which many of you most certainly have experienced in Raja Ampat.

Given this situation, Conservation International (CI), the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), and their conservation partners were requested by both villagers and the Raja Ampat government to facilitate the development of an entrance fee system which can accommodate the rights of the government and villagers to seek compensation for tourism use of the reefs while also not unnecessarily inconveniencing dive operators or diving guests to the region. Our interest in facilitating this system is straightforward; our institutions are focused on conservation and sustainable use of the globally-significant marine biodiversity in Raja Ampat, and we firmly believe that marine tourism is one of the economic development sectors most compatible with this mission. Hence, we are keen to facilitate sustainable tourism development in Raja Ampat and encourage both villagers and the government to prioritize this sector.

We have spent a considerable amount of energy, time and money to engage villagers and the Raja Ampat government in forging an agreement for a single fee system which is collected centrally with the benefits distributed to all of the villages in Raja Ampat – rather than having a potentially overwhelming number of separate fees for each reef in Raja Ampat. The result is that the single overall fee is significant (Rp 500,000), but we believe this is a small price to pay to encourage the stewardship and protection of the most biodiverse reefs on earth. We ask your support and patience in getting this fee system up and running and providing benefits to all of the involved stakeholders.

How does the tag system work?
After considering a variety of options, we have settled on the annual waterproof plastic entrance tag system (first developed in Bonaire and now widely used from Bunaken to Fiji to the Caribbean) as the most robust and convenient marine entrance fee system. The system is simple: guests purchase an individually-numbered annual waterproof tag which is affixed to their gear as proof of payment. The design and color of the tag changes on a yearly basis, and tags are valid for the calendar year in which they are purchased (eg, a 2008 tag will be valid from 1 January 2008 through 31 January 2009).

Tags are individually numbered and this information recorded directly on receipts and in a centralized database in order to prevent re-use of tags between guests. That is to say, tag #00001 is registered to Mr. John Smith from the UK, and cannot be transferred to other guests. This annual tag system is widely considered to be the most convenient marine entrance fee system yet developed and avoids a number of the hassles associated with systems that use daily fees. Tags can be purchased “on the spot” or pre-purchased in bulk by dive operators and re-sold to guests; the main “hassle” associated with this system is the requirement for operators to provide data back to the entrance fee management team on how the individually-numbered tags are assigned to specific guests (explained in detail below).

Why are there two receipts?
The purchase of a tag will result in two separate receipts which reflects the bipartite nature of the entrance fee: one receipt of Rp 150,000 for the tourism management fee (known locally as the “retribusi” to the Raja Ampat tourism department) and one receipt of Rp 350,000 for the conservation and community development fee (known locally as the “non-retribusi” fee which is used directly for programs in the 88 villages of Raja Ampat). Each receipt is in triplicate – one (white) for the visitor, one (pink) for the management team to enter visitor data into its database, and one (yellow) for the dive operator (provides an extra measure of “control” for dive operators to be able to compare back to the management team’s database in case of any suspicion of corruption). For more information purchase of tags and use of receipts click here.

Thank you for visiting Raja Ampat!

Tim Pengelola, JE Meridien Hotel Sorong
Tel +62 951 328358 | Fax +62 951 326576

Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fees Information for Tourists

Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fee Information For Tourists
Why do I have to pay a fee to enter Raja Ampat? Raja Ampat is blessed with some of the highest marine biodiversity and healthiest coral reefs in the world. In order to protect this unique biodiversity, Raja Ampat has 7 nationally mandated and locally managed marine protected areas (MPAs). As with any park or reserve, conservation and tourism management costs money, and the Raja Ampat government is adopting a tool commonly used throughout the world for financing protected areas management – entrance fees.

Moreover, the villagers in Raja Ampat have traditional marine tenure rights over all of the reefs and are entitled to seek compensation from users of their reefs. In an effort to harmonize these various needs and avoid a very complex set of fees for tourism use of individual reefs, the Raja Ampat government and local communities have agreed to a centrally-collected single entrance fee of Rp 500,000/person/year (approximately US$55) for international visitors and Rp 250,000/person/year for Indonesian visitors.

Where do I purchase my Entrance Tag?
First check with your dive operator to see they have pre-purchased a tag for you. If not, the Raja Ampat entrance fee management team has established a booth at the Sorong Airport where arriving guests can directly purchase their tags. At this time, payment must be in rupiah, though we will endeavor to expand this to at least US$ and Euro in the future. In this case, the guest buys the tag and the receipts are filled in with the following information: guest name, country of origin, tag number, passport number, and email address (optional if the guest would like to receive further information about Raja Ampat conservation efforts). To ensure accountability the guest receives their copy of the 2 receipts, the accompanying dive operator representative (if present) receives their copy, and the management team’s copy is directly entered into the guest database.

How was the fee set?
Raja Ampat is huge, covering nearly 50,000 sq km, with a population of 32,000 spread over 92 villages and sub-villages. Managing such a large and diverse area is costly. Providing direct benefits to each of the 88 remote villages is especially costly, particularly given the relatively low number of tourists visiting Raja Ampat. In trying to convince the government and villages to prioritize eco-friendly tourism development over lucrative but environmentally-damaging sectors such as mining and forestry, it is important that they see real benefits from tourism. The result is that the single overall fee is significant (Rp 500,000), but we believe this is a small price to pay to encourage the stewardship and protection of the most biodiverse reefs on earth. Note that the fee system actually only contributes a small part of the overall conservation and management costs of Raja Ampat’s MPA system.

Why do I have to pay for a 1 year tag even if I’m only visiting for a few days?
There is a growing consensus among MPA managers that the annual waterproof tag system is the most efficient, robust and convenient method of collecting entry fees, avoiding the significant hassle and enforcement issues that arise with daily fees – especially in large-scale MPAs where guests do not pass through a central entrance gate on a daily basis.

Why was I given 2 receipts when I purchased my tag?
The fee has two main components: a governmental tourism management fee of Rp 150,000 and a conservation and community development fee of Rp 350,000. In order to ensure transparency and make it very clear where the money goes, each guest will receive two receipts, one for each fund.

Who manages the revenues from the fee system?
The Raja Ampat tourism entrance fee is managed by a multi-stakeholder team that is comprised of local community leaders, Raja Ampat govt. officials (from the departments of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Tourism, and Health) local and international conservation NGOs (CI, TNC, and the Papuan Turtle Conservation Foundation), and a rep. of the private marine tourism sector.

Where does my money go?
The Rp 150,000 tourism management fee enters the coffers of the Raja Ampat tourism department and is targeted at improving tourism management in Raja Ampat. The Rp 350,000 conservation and community development fee is split by law into 3 components: 40% for a community development fund for activities that benefit all 92 villages/sub-villages in Raja Ampat; 40% for a conservation and enforcement fund, and 20% for management of the fee system (including paying for the office and staff required to collect, manage, and distribute the entrance fee proceeds). The priority activities under the community development and conservation funds are determined on an annual basis by the entrance fee management team. For more information click here.

What are the initial priorities with the entrance fee funds?
In 2007, the conservation fund will be used to strengthen a patrol program to eliminate destructive fishing practices such as blast and cyanide fishing. In order to reach out to all communities in Raja Ampat and provide them some direct benefit from tourism, the community development fund will be used to re-establish the “Posyandu” system which brings basic health care to mothers and young children in every village. NOTE: as it will take time to accrue funds in the entrance fee accounts, the 2007 activities described above are actually being funded by grants from conservation NGOs; the revenues from the 2007 entrance fee will be used to fund 2008 activities in Raja Ampat, 2008 revenues will fund 2009 activities, and so on.

Why do I still see people fishing in Raja Ampat’s Marine Protected Areas?

Raja Ampat’s MPAs were only declared in mid-2007 and the zonation and management plans for each MPA are still under development. Local communities are still allowed to fish in their traditional areas and may continue to do so with certain agreed gear restrictions. That said, fishing activities including blast and cyanide fishing, trawling, and shark-finning are illegal throughout Raja Ampat. While a joint patrol team comprised of police, fisheries officers and community members has now been launched to confront these environmental crimes directly, the reality is that patrolling this huge area will always be a challenge and a system is being developed so that tourism operators can report violations.

How can I help Raja Ampat further?
As an honored guest to Raja Ampat please respect the rules and especially the reefs of the park. Avoid damaging corals and other marine life by controlling your buoyancy and not standing on or contacting the reef. Photographers should be especially careful and not manipulate marine life. Ensure boats follow the operator code of conduct and anchor in deep water >40m. Anchoring on the reef is the primary cause of tourism-related reef damage! Also insist that your operator does not dispose of solid wastes at sea, which is still a problem!

Secondly, consider donating to either the conservation or community development funds described above. The multistakeholder management team is developing a number of programs which you may like to support such as supplying library books to schools and villages and mosquito nets to reduce the threat of malaria. While we are working on setting up a system where you can donate directly through your operator, for now donations can be made at the entrance fee office at the Sorong airport. Similar to the transparency for the entrance fees collected, all donations are recorded and you will receive an official receipt.

Thank you for visiting Raja Ampat. We hope you enjoy your stay and aim to ensure it is even better the next time you visit.

Tim Pengelola, JE Meridien Hotel Sorong
Tel +62 951 328358 | Fax +62 951 326576


Raja Ampat Entrance Tags Today

The Raja Ampat Regency Government is proud to announce the introduction of a tourism entrance fee system to help support conservation and community projects within Raja Ampat. All tourists entering Raja Ampat are required to purchase an entrance tag.

The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rp 500,000/person/calender year (approximately US$55) for which they will receive a waterproof plastic entrance tag featuring a photo from Raja Ampat. All Indonesian visitors from outside Raja Ampat are required to pay Rp 250,000 and will receive an entry card. The annual tags and cards will be valid from January 1st until January 31st of the following year.

The tag system has been adapted from the very successful Bonaire and Bunaken Marine Park systems. The 2008 tag features an endemic pygmy seahorse, one of over 1200 fish species found in Raja Ampat—the most biodiverse marine region in the world recorded to date. Visitors are required to carry their tags or cards at all times—tags can be easily fixed to guests’ snorkeling or diving gear or to their dive bag. The entrance fee system will be enforced through spot checks conducted by official patrols. The money collected is managed by a multistakeholder management team (Tim Pengelola) and is divided between tourism development, conservation, and community health projecs.

We greatly appreciate your support and cooperation with this fee system. Conservation of Raja Ampat’s spectacular marine habitats and biodiversity requires long term funding. In addition, the local communities who own these reefs need to see direct benefits of tourism through community programs that will improve their quality of life.

Tim Pengelola, JE Meridien Hotel Sorong
Tel +62 951 328358 | Fax +62 951 326576

Diving Tags Information in Raja Ampat National Park Papua

Conserving Raja Ampat
The Raja Ampat Archipelago is known as the “crown jewel” in the Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape” (named for the distinctive shape of the northwestern section of the island of New Guinea), an area with unparalleled marine biodiversity.

As of September 2008, current species tallies for the Bird’s Head include over 1356 species of coral reef fish (including 1223 in Raja Ampat alone and at least 25 endemics known only from this region), 600 species of hard coral (75% of the world’s total and over ten times the number of coral species found in the entire Caribbean), and 57 species of mantis shrimp (including 8 endemic species known only from the Bird’s Head). Other important features of the Bird’s Head include karst forests full of rare orchids, birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, regionally-important green and hawksbill turtle rookeries, whale and dolphin aggregations, and the world’s largest Pacific Leatherback Turtle nesting beaches in the Jamursbamedi-Warmon coast of the Northern Bird’s Head.

As more is discovered about Raja Ampat, its global significance continues to grow. There is now clear evidence that the coral around Raja Ampat may be naturally more resilient to fluctuations in temperatures, and thus more likely to withstand the impacts of global climate change. Powerful ocean currents carry larvae from Raja Ampat to reefs in other parts of Indonesia and the Pacific, making Raja Ampat the heart of the “supply chain” of species. This transport may help to replenish other reefs which have been damaged by disease, bleaching, overfishing, and other detrimental activities.

Without question, Raja Ampat and the broader Bird’s Head Seascape rank as global priorities for marine conservation!

Until fairly recently, Raja Ampat’s isolation and low human population have played a large part in keeping its reefs healthy and thriving. However, the region’s rich coastal and marine resources have made it a target for economic development ranging from fisheries and marine tourism, to more destructive activities such as oil and gas exploration, mining and logging. And thus the paradox of Raja Ampat – world unique, globally outstanding, literally bursting at the seams with biodiversity – yet highly threatened.

Local governments and stakeholders require strong support in developing effective, sustainable coastal and marine resource management that conserves biodiversity while benefiting local communities. To date, that support is coming from a highly dedicated team of over 200 international and local conservation NGO staff focused on improving the management of Raja Ampat. Working in concert with the local and national government and other local institutions and stakeholders, two international conservation NGOs, Conservation International (CI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as well as the Indonesian government’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP) are facilitating the management of the 7 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) recently declared in Raja Ampat. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and local NGO, Papuan Sea Turtle Foundation, play a key role in sea turtle conservation in the archipelago. In addition, the three international NGOs—CI, TNC and WWF—have an ambitious partnership throughout the Bird’s Head Seascape.

Together, these organizations have focused on a comprehensive three-pronged approach to conservation in Raja Ampat.

The first initiative has centered on the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, including its biodiversity and the important large-scale ecological and oceanographic processes that influence this diversity. Besides generating world record species lists and describing dozens of new and endemic species, this initiative has also succeeded in revealing patterns of genetic and oceanographic “connectivity” that are critical to understand in order to develop plans to manage the region’s marine resources in a sustainable manner.

The second set of strategic conservation activities, conducted simultaneously with the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, has focused on creating an “enabling environment” for effective conservation and collaborative management of Raja Ampat’s rich marine resources. Over the past 3 years, the various conservation teams have worked intensively with the local government and citizens in the 90 remote villages of Raja Ampat to both better understand their development aspirations and align them with a sustainable vision for the area while also dramatically increasing local understanding and appreciation of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity, the threats to it, and the need for local leadership in effectively managing it. So far, the response of local traditional leaders and village chiefs has been overwhelmingly positive. To learn more about some of these outreach and education programs click here.

The final strategic initiative (based upon the scientific understanding and strong local community support generated by the first two strategies) has been to facilitate the establishment of an ecologically-connected network of marine protected areas (MPAs) across Raja Ampat. In May 2007, the Raja Ampat government declared a network of seven MPAs that together covers nearly 900,000 hectares and approximately 45% of Raja Ampat’s coral reefs and mangroves. Effectively implemented, these MPAs should ensure the long term health and sustainability of Raja Ampat’s marine ecosystems. One outstanding achievement has been the work of the local NGO, Papua Sea Turtle Foundation, which has run a highly successful turtle nest program in the major rookery of Sayang-Piai in the Kawe MPA, effectively eliminating turtle poaching and protecting over 2000 green turtle nests in the past 2 years.
View a map of Raja Ampat’s MPA Network

These three initiatives have made impressive progress over the past 5 years, but there is still much work to be done. Raja Ampat’s MPA network needs to be “operationalized” and the restrictions on destructive and unsustainable fishing practices strictly enforced. Marine tourism development must be carefully managed to provide optimal benefits for local communities while minimizing its “footprint” in the area. Perhaps most importantly, we face a continuous uphill battle to impress upon policy-makers and community leaders the need to wisely conserve and manage this area, as the seemingly inexhaustible global demand for commodities ranging from fish to minerals to timber products continues to create strong short-term financial incentives to mine all of these resources from Raja Ampat.

Hopefully, with the continued dedication of conservation NGOs, the local and national government, and local stakeholders, and the firm support of the marine tourism sector, the reefs of Raja Ampat will continue to thrive.

Raja Ampat Island Diving Information

Dive Areas
Raja Ampat is all about diversity – not only diversity of species, but also of dive sites. There are some areas where soft corals and sea fans dominate, others with amazing diverse hard corals, seagrass beds, mangroves, shallow reefs, drop offs, caves, black sand, white sand…Then there are the fish, lots of them, in more shapes and sizes than anywhere else in the world. Not only are there loads of fish, but all the levels of the food chain are well represented – from pygmy seahorses to top predators. In many places brightly colored soft corals can be found close to the surface which, illuminated by natural sunlight, make these dive sites spectacularly colorful. The reefs in Raja Ampat just buzz with life!

Where to dive
Raja Ampat is huge, 50,000 sq km, with hundreds of islands and an astounding diversity of habitats, which translates to wildly different diving experiences from pelagic drift dives to magic muck dives and even some habitats that are special to Raja Ampat such as clear water mangroves with corals growing right next to them! There are thousands of potential dive sites. Exploration is still continuing, and on every trip there are chances for new and amazing discoveries. Even on a 12 day trip you will only have a chance to see some of what Raja Ampat has to offer.

More than diving
Raja Ampat is also known for its spectacular above water scenery. Sparsely inhabited, most of Raja Ampat still has pristine rainforests atop dramatic limestone cliffs, uninhabited bays with white sand beaches and all sorts of hidden treasures to greet the intrepid explorer. It’s a kayakers dream, an intricate coastline with caves, bays, gorges, hidden rivers—all buzzing with exotic tropical wildlife.

A birdwatching hike on Gam Island might take you through scenic forests, past fragile orchids growing from cracks in the stone, and finally to the unforgettable experience of witnessing male birds of paradise doing their elaborate courtship dances to attract females. For more information on bird watching trips

Caving will bring you an exciting look into an amazing hidden world through a breath-taking underground experience. Also, look out for exotic historical artifacts and interesting remnants from World War II, such as crumbling forts and sunken bomber planes.

The friendly people of Raja Ampat have largely been able to maintain their ancestral ways of life and traditional values, making it an interesting destination as well as an anthropological haven. There is a wide variety of community celebrations, which always include various types of music, dancing, singing performance and other fun.

Make sure to talk to your tour operator if you are interested in any land based or cultural activities!

Code of Conduct
Dive operators in Raja Ampat have committed to maintaining environmentally friendly operations. As part of this on-going process, they have helped to develop the Dive Operators Code of Conduct. All operators are asked to sign
and display this to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable tourism in Raja Ampat. As a concerned tourist, make sure to check that your dive operator has signed the Operators Code of Conduct and that they are following the rules!

Raja Ampat – World Best Dive Destination

Raja Ampat Island
The Raja Ampat Island in Irian is group spreads out over a huge area and consists of over 610 islands. The four largest islands are Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The area’s reefs are covered in a diverse selection of both hard and soft corals. Most of the areas reefs are pristine, with mile after mile of perfect hard corals, drift after drift of soft corals of many species and colors ranging from brilliant red, to shocking yellow pretty pink and exotic purple. Most reef dives are very colorful. The tourist would be able to experience the best dives sites within those islands, which include Cape Kri, Mellisa’s Garden, Sardines Reef, The Passage, Nudibranch Rock, Wai Island Night Dive.

Raja Ampat is the western island of Papua Island. The name of Raja Ampat based on the legend. This area had begun with 6 eggs that found by King Waikew in Waigeo Island. But from the 6 eggs, just 5 eggs had crack. The last was become an egg stone till now on.

From the fifth eggs that had cracked, the 4 eggs was become men who become King of four big islands that is Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. While the one egg became a woman, had wash away and stranded in Biak Island. That woman was born a child named Gura Besi that known as the historical man of Raja Ampat, because of his heroic story.

The regency that formed based on the constitution number 26 in 2002, is the development of Sorong regency on 12 April 2003. This area has 46.000 km2. But, 85% of this area is archipelago area. There are 610 islands in this area. But most of them have no social life. This regency has 10 districts and 85 villages with about 48.707 men.
Geographically, this area has strategic location. Its boundaries is:

North side: Pacific Ocean
West Side: North Maluku
South side: Maluku Sea
East Side: Sorong Regency

For the fauna sector, Raja Ampat has rarely fauna, such as; red birds of paradise (Paradise Rubra), Wilson birds of paradise (Cicinnurs Republica), Maleo Waigeo (Spilocuscus Papuensis), and rainbow fishes. Hence, for the flora, Raja Ampat has many kinds of Orchids, Waigeo palm, ironwoods or black woods, ‘keruing’, ‘ulin’ woods, etc.

Because of its various nature profit, Raja Ampat will declared by Maritime Ministry Freddy Numberi as ancient regency, based on its location that not only rich of fishes, but also its sea herb and the pearl.

Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit – scientists, photographers, novice divers and crusty sea-salts alike. This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.

As stunningly beautiful above water as it is below, Raja Ampat (which literally translates as “The Four Kings”) has a startling diversity of habitats to explore. Each of these – from the stark wave-pounded slopes that drop away beneath the karst cliffs of Wayag and Uranie to the deep, nutrient-rich bays of Mayalibit, Kabui and Aljui to the “blue water mangrove” channels of Kofiau and Gam to the plankton-rich upwelling areas of Misool and the Dampier Strait – are home to unique assemblages of species that, when taken together, add to produce the most impressive species lists ever compiled for a coral reef system of this size.’

Marine tourism, as a sustainable alternative to overfishing, mining, and logging, has the potential to play a key role in the conservation of Raja Ampat’s spectacular underwater realm, while also creating real benefits for the local communities. This website was designed as part of a larger effort to support the growth of sustainable marine tourism in Raja Ampat and the conservation of these magical islands.

Please explore this site to find information on breathtaking diving opportunities, travel logistics, Raja Ampat’s new tourism entrance fee (which directly supports conservation and community development), and the tremendous conservation effort taking place in Raja Ampat.

“Raja Ampat is a virtual species factory”
M. Erdmann, 2007

Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit – scientists, photographers, novice divers and crusty sea-salts alike. This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.

As stunningly beautiful above water as it is below, Raja Ampat (which literally translates as “The Four Kings”) has a startling diversity of habitats to explore. Each of these – from the stark wave-pounded slopes that drop away beneath the karst cliffs of Wayag and Uranie to the deep, nutrient-rich bays of Mayalibit, Kabui and Aljui to the “blue water mangrove” channels of Kofiau and Gam to the plankton-rich upwelling areas of Misool and the Dampier Strait – are home to unique assemblages of species that, when taken together, add to produce the most impressive species lists ever compiled for a coral reef system of this size.

Marine tourism, as a sustainable alternative to overfishing, mining, and logging, has the potential to play a key role in the conservation of Raja Ampat’s spectacular underwater realm, while also creating real benefits for the local communities. This website was designed as part of a larger effort to support the growth of sustainable marine tourism in Raja Ampat and the conservation of these magical islands.

Please explore this site to find information on breathtaking diving opportunities, travel logistics, Raja Ampat’s new tourism entrance fee (which directly supports conservation and community development), and the tremendous conservation effort taking place in Raja Ampat.

Biodiversity Features in Raja Ampat
and the greater Bird’s Head Seascape
1,511 species of reef fish in the Bird’s Head Seascape
1,320 species of reef fish in Raja Ampat
27 species of endemic reef fish found only in the Birds Head Seascape
600 species of hard coral recorded in the Bird’s Head Seascape
75% of all known coral species in the world
10 times the number of hard coral species found in the entire Caribbean
57 species of Mantis Shrimp in the Birds Head Seascape
13 species of Marine Mammals in the Bird’s Head Seascape
5 species of endangered sea turtles in the Bird’s Head Seascape

 

How to Get to Raja Ampat

The Raja Ampat area of Northwest Papua (the second largest island in the world) is filled with islands, surrounded by reefs and inundated with fish!

Most of the areas reefs are pristine, with mile after mile of perfect hard corals, drift after drift of Dendronephya (soft) corals of many species and colors ranging from brilliant red, to shocking yellow pretty pink and exotic purple. Most reef dives are very colorful.

It is easiest to fly through to Sorong via Jakarta or via Singapore. Merpati, Express Air and Lion Wings operate daily flights from Jakarta to Sorong (with stopovers in Ujung Pandang/Makassar and/or Manado), whereas Silk Air operates regularly from Singapore to Manado. Regular flights to and from Sorong by Airlines Merpati and Lion Wings. Check directly with Papua Diving for current schedule or click on flightschedule for latest flight information.

Airlines
Merpati Airlines
Lion Air
Express Air
Batavia Air
Silk Air

We can help you to book and issue the tickets, just contact us!

Surat jalan (=travel permit)
To enter Papua itself, you need a surat jalan which is issued by the local police. Please bring:

* 3 Passport Photos
* 3 Copies of the photo page of your passport
* 3 Copies of the passport page with the Indonesian Visa

With these photos and copies we will arrange the surat jalan for you at your arrival. This procedure will not take any of your time and is done as a part of our service.

Airport taxes apply, the departure tax at Jakarta is Rp. 100.000 (=at 30-01-2004 +/-US$ 12) for international departures and for domestic flights taxes apply also. From Sorong, the airport tax is Rp. 11.000 (US$ 1.2). All these taxes need to be paid in cash Rupiah, so make sure you have some.

New VISA Requirements
Starting on 1 February 2004, Indonesia brought in new regulations regarding which nationalities have to apply for visas before coming here, and who can get visas upon arrival – for 11 nationalities these are issued at no charge, for 21 other nationalities you pay for the visa on arrival this is based on immigration requirements for Indonesians entering those countries

The following 11 countries/territories receive a 30day no-charge visa upon arrival: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chile, Peru and Morocco.

Citizens of the following 21 countries are now required to pay for a visa upon arrival – USD10 for a 3day visa, or USD25 for a 30day visa: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, the USA, the UAE and the UK.

As before, your passport must be valid for at least 6mths after your stay in Indonesia. You still have to show an onward ticket out of the country.
Methods of payment: USD cash (as with all the USDs you bring to Indonesia, these need to be in pristine condition and produced in 2001 or later), Mastercard and Visa.

Nationalities not on either of the above lists or people who want to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30days, must get a visa from an overseas Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before arriving here. These cannot be issued upon arrival.

We advise you check with your local Indonesian embassy about the applicable procedures and going rates well in advance of your departure date, because the application procedure takes 5 working days. Please note that the above are non-extendable. There are a limited number of ?gateways?, these being airports and ports where you may enter from overseas.

Please note that the above is only our understanding of the situation as it stands at present. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, please contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate.

Raja Ampat Diving Tag System

The new fee system will be signed into law and all the materials required for the new tag system (tags/receipts) will be ready for the launch on the 15th July 2007.

The annual tag will normally be valid from the 1st January until the 31st January of the following year. This year the tags will be valid from 15th July 2007 until 31st January 2008.

The tag will cost Rp 500,000 per person for all foreigners.
Indonesian citizens can opt to pay Rp 250,000. All Indonesian visitors from outside Sorong/Raja Ampat (ie who fly in) are supposed to pay this fee. This year they will get a tag, but in future they will only get an entry card (like a credit card). This was the Bupati’s decision.

How to buy your tags.
At the airport – Representatives of the Fund Management Team will be at the airport to collect tag fees. You will get 2 receipts for each tag. One for Rp 150,000 Retribusi Fee(For local government for infrastructure development) and Rp 350,000 for MPA Management and Community Development Fee.
Advance purchase – From CI office in Bali or Sorong during office hours – details below.
Provide a passenger list with name and passport number and a column for their individual tag number. You can provide this before you sail if you have pre-purchased tag.

What else you need to do.
In order that you do not have to check into every village during your trip you are required to;

E-mail or fax – A picture (~300Kb jpeg) of your boat so the villagers recognize friend from foe. (one time only – a poster will be made and sent to all – villages)

Your sailing schedule for Raja Ampat (one time only for the year or your season)
A general itinerary of where you plan to go a week before you leave. This will be announced over the community radio prior to your sailing.
Indonesian Crew members do not have to have a tag – but you could get them if you like…
Note – there will be a Rp10 million fine for not having a tag

Contacts
This will be updated when 2 fulltime staff are employed by the Fund Management Team to collect the fees, do financial reporting, provide up dates for the new web site and provide logistical support for the fund distribution. CI has offered to handle this temporarily until they are set up.

CI Office in Sorong

Jalan Arfak No. 45 Sorong 98413
Tel +62 951 331428 Fax +62 951331786
e-mail amarlessy@ conservation.org
cc adohar@ conservation.org

Inne Marlessy is the office manager of CI in Sorong, Anita Dohar is in charge of tourism matters for CI in Raja Ampat.

CI Office in Bali
Jalan Dr. Muwardi No 17
Renon, Denpasar, Bali 80361
Tel +62 361 237245 Fax +62 361 235430

Citra is the office manager in CI Bali
I would ask you to be a bit patient while the various kinks in the system are worked out. A special bank account will be set up so you will in future be able to transfer funds for the tags. CI/CORAL will ensure a transparent system is set up for the collection and disbursement of fees. This will be reported monthly on the web site. (see below).

Fund Management

The Non-Retribusi fund will be managed by a team comprising representatives from the Bupatis office, Tourism Dept, Fisheries Dept, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, Kompers (local turtle conservation NGO), a representative of the dive operators and Dewan Adat. An initial meeting will be held next week with a few key members to agree to hire staff and set up the bank account. The main meeting will be held in November every year to determine the disbursement of funds. More about that later.

The fund money will be disbursed as follows;
# 40% Community Development
# 40% Conservation Management and Patrol
# 20% Administration

There will be an audit team including Kompers to independently check the finances.
What else is going on..

New Logo
A logo has been designed that will clearly define the Conservation Fund to all beneficiaries.

Community Programme
It will take some time for the fund to grow and show benefits to the community. In order try and minimize community disenchantment with the system, Conservation International will provide an initial start up grant for the Posiandu System (mothers and babies clinic) which will benefit every village. Cadres(village nurses)

will be provided with T-shirts with the Fund logo and all the materials provided will be similarly identifiable. We are hoping to get the programme up and running in the next couple of months but have been delayed as the ma

jor leader in CI for community programmes is recovering from Malaria. Jacinta – we hope you get better soon!

New CORAL representative
And last but not least, my contract with CORAL comes to an end this month (June) and I will be replaced by Rick Wright. Much as I have enjoyed working with CORAL and all of you, I have some other projects to work on and know that Rick will do a great job. Rick is based in Bali, has a Masters in Marine Affairs specializing in MPA management in Indonesia. A retired US Navy submarine commander and Navel attaché in Indonesia, Rick has great experience in the country and speaks the language. I am sure you will enjoy working with him.

Raja Ampat Dive Sites

West Papua Indonesia comprises the western half of the huge island of New Guinea situated just northern tip of Australia and at the far eastern reaches of the Nusa Tenggara. It is one of the planets final frontiers both above and below the ocean. Most of the diving here is concentrated around the recently discovered reefs of Raja Ampat archipelago. Raja Ampat meaning Four Kings is named after the four sultans who once ruled West Papua and is rapidly becoming one of Asia’s diving hotspots. The four islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool are in the part of West Papua known as the “bird’s head” peninsular and have earned almost mythical status among divers.

Conservation Report
According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Project in 2002 the marine life diversity for scuba diving in West Papua is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the coral triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. West Papua and particularly the Raja Ampat Islands in the North West

are quickly becoming recognised as one of the most diverse and pristine reef ecosystems in the world. With their very low human population which still use only traditional fishing techniques, and their inaccessibility, these islands have still maintained their pristine natural state. Findings include 970 fish species – a world record 283 on one single dive at Cape Kri, the benchmark figure for an excellent dive site of 200 fish species surpassed on 51% of Raja Ampat dives (another world record), 456 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleratinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands), 699 mollusca species – again another world high.

One of the great things about this area is the variety of reefs and their topography. There are vertical walls, reef flats, slopes, ridges, sea mounds, mucky mangroves, lagoons and pinnacles all of which are affected by a varying degree of current from none to very strong. The visibility is normally very good in the Raja Ampat islands, ranging from 20 to 40 meters varying in the different areas. The north generally has excellent visibility as the water is deep and the islands are small with very little run off.

Raja Ampat archipelago (Waigeo island, Batanta island, Salawati island and Misool island) is a world diving hotspot !

Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, Raja Ampat, or

the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. It encompasses more than 40,000 km² of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya

According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin the marine life diversity is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat are possibly the richest in the world. The area’s massive coral colonies show that its reefs are resistant to threats like coral bleaching and disease – threats that now jeopardise the survival of corals around the world. In addition, Raja Ampat’s strong ocean currents sweep coral larvae across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to replenish other reef ecosystems. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection.

Over 1,070 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleratinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands), and 699 mollusc species, the variety of marine life is staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.

RAJA AMPAT ISLANDS DIVE SITES
Misool Island

This is one of the larger islands in the archipelago. The stunning reefs around Misool offe

r a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colour which offers a ni

ce contrast to all the big stuff on other dive sites. Sloping walls are carpeted with soft corals of every colour imaginable housing all manner of critters from ghost pipefish to harlequin shrimp to pygmy seahorses.’

Cape Kri
This reef is one of the more popular dive sites of Raja Ampat and its no surprise why. Marine Biologist and respected author of a number of marine reference books Dr. Gerald R. Allen said “On my last trip to Raja Ampat, I recorded 283 fish species during a single dive near the Kri Island resorts. This is the most fishes ever seen on a single dive over a career spanning almost 30 years.”

Divers here can look forward to being literally engulfed by fish, huge swirling schools of dogtooth tuna, jacks, giant trevally and chevron barracuda. In addition to these expect to see large napoleon wrasse, car sized Queensland groupers and reef sharks as you drift along with the fish. Coral growth here is also diverse with all manner of hard and soft varieties. It is best to stay deep here to avoid the stong surface currents.

Sardine Reef
Sardine reef is a large off shore reef that slopes down to around 25 meters. There are no actual sardines here but the fish are so tightly packed that it derives the name of the dive site. Great schools of fish block out the light, jacks, tuna, trevally, they’re all here in huge numbers. There are also Australian Wobbegongs to be found here hiding under ledges and table corals. This dive really is a fish frenzy, you even need to stay close to your buddy if you want to keep them in sight for the living walls of fish.

Cross Wreck
Named after a cross marking the landing spot of the first Christian missionaries to Irian Jaya this wreck is upright on the sandy bed at 18 meters. The

Japanese patrol boat is the most accessible of all Raja Ampat wrecks, depth charges and the ships lamps can still be seen. Penetration is possible to the communications room, engine room and front hold where features such as the switchboard and ammunition can be seen. Coral cover is good and plenty of reef inhabitants now call the wreck thier home, these include lionfish, huge napoleon wrasse, humphead parrotfish and all manner of critters that come our especially at night.

Critters Corner
At the end of the Cross Wreck is this delightful little area back towards the beach. In amongst the sand and rubble are a vast array of critters including frogfish, leaffish, devil scorpionfish, seahorses and mantis shrimp.

Shinwa Maru
This WWII cargo ship wreck is one of the more impressive, she lies on her port side from 16 to 34 meters. Two huge bomb damage holes on the starboard side are visible and all manner of debris including mine sw

eeping equipment, technical equipment, car batteries, cables ammunition and sake bottles is strewn around. Two diving helmets make a great photo opportunity. This wreck is not as densely covered in corals as the Cross Wreck, but is home to many schooling jacks and plenty of pipefish. The wooden floors of the bridge have collapsed and most of its contents are still there.

Aircraft Wrecks
There is a wrecked P40 that was shot down and now lies at 27 meters, the plane which is still largely intact was discovered in 1999.

The Passage

The passage lies between the islands of Gam and Waigeo. It is only about 25 meters wide and looks more like a river from the surface. A jumble of rocks marks the entrance to this enchanting looking dive site, the coral almost grows to the surface here. There is not much choice but to drop in and drift down the channel, pausing in bays where the current is more forgiving. Plenty of life can be found here including octopus, flatworms and cuttlefish, even the Wobbegong shark can be spotted on occasion. Schools of bigger fish await out in the current such as jacks, tuna, barracuda and sharks. Caves and arches also make up some of the topography here.

Nudibranch Rock
Close by is this recently discovered sheltered dive site where the small island and bays wield a number of flamboyant nudibranchs.

Mike’s Point
This rocky outcrop just off Cape Kri was bombed duing WWII. From the air it was mistaken for a Japanese ship due to its size and the wake left by speeding currents. Walls surrounding the islet drop to over 40 meters and attract huge schools of sweetlips, snappers and fusiliers. A dazling array of giant sea fans on a shelf at 27 meters can be explored for pygmy seahorses and the walls and coral crevaces home all manner of reef life. Mike’s point is named after pioneer Max Ammer’s son.

Wai Island
This spot is famed for its visiting manta rays and a couple of WWII aircraft wrecks. However it is also popular for night diving in the secluded bay. All manner of creatures emerge to feed including octopus, stonefish, epaulette sharks, wobbegongs, squid, pipefish and many rare nudibranchs.

There is hundreds unknown dive sites and plenty of them to explore adn to discover.

Raja Ampat Islands Indonesia

The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings,” archipelago encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.

The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings,” archipelago encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.

The area’s massive coral colonies show that its reefs are resistant to threats like coral bleaching and disease —threats that now jeopardize the survival of corals around the world. In addition, Raja Ampat’s strong ocean currents sweep coral larvae across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to replenish other reef ecosystems. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience to threats, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection.

Survey Confirms Highest Marine Biodiversity on Earth
In 2002, The Nature Conservancy and its partners conducted a scientific survey of the Raja Ampat Islands to collect information on its marine ecosystems, mangroves, and forests. The survey brought Raja Ampat’s total number of confirmed corals to 537 species— an incredible 75% of all known coral species. In addition, 899 fish species were recorded, raising the known total for Raja Ampat to an amazing 1,074. On land, the survey found lush forests, rare plants, limestone outcroppings, and nesting beachesfor thousands of sea turtles.

Though human impacts here are less severe than elsewhere in Indonesia, Raja Ampat’s natural resources are endangered by over fishing and destructive fishing, turtle poaching, and unsustainable logging. The Indonesian government recently established Raja Ampat as a separate administrative unit, which will give communities a greater say in managing the natural resources upon which their livelihoods depend. This structure also offers an important opportunity to include conservation in the spatial planning of the newly formed local government.

Ensuring Conservation through Partnerships
To address these issues, the Conservancy launched a new project to protect Raja Ampat, working in close partnership with the government and communities to: 1) contribute to a comprehensive conservation action plan to protect Raja Ampat’s reefs and forests; 2) help incorporate marine protected area management into long-term planning and policy; and, 3) establish a network of marine protected areas for Raja Ampat.

The Conservancy’s ultimate goal is to protect Raja Ampat’s magnificent reefs while sustaining the livelihoods of local people. Raja Ampat includes the four large islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, plus hundreds of smaller islands. The archipelago is part of an area known as the Bird’s Head functional seascape, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia.

Come and dive in Raja Ampat Islands with Our Liveaboards

Booking and Reservation:
Raja Ampat Indonesia and Liveaboard
Jl. Barakuda No 09
BTN Griya Batu Bolong Green Valley Senggigi
Senggigi – West Lombok – NTB
Indonesia 83355
Phone and Fax : +62 (0)370 692 179
Email : info@rajaampatindonesia.com