As a volunteer, you will engage in a wide variety of marine conservation activities as part of the project, involving yourself in numerous dives throughout your time here as well as assisting the local communities resident on Arborek Island. A list of potential activities are outlined below.
Coral reef conservation and monitoring
This will be conducted via two research dives a day from Monday to Friday. The main purpose of this is to produce detailed coastal habitat maps of the surrounding area for use in advising local government and communities on Marine Protected Areas. All volunteers will be involved in our reef check programme, which is done to monitor how healthy the reef is and is done over a long period, so we and Reef Check Indonesia (who we will share the data with) can monitor the health of the reef and then advise the local government accordingly. If you are only joining for 2 weeks, you would most likely not be involved in our habitat map project, as you would need to learn a lot before undertaking this. However, it is not impossible.
Working within local communities
You will not only be involved in marine conservation activities, but all volunteers can also get involved with teaching English to the school children and other community members, as well as providing education on environmental issues and eco-tourism. You may also be involved in a range of other activities, including livelihood diversification workshops if they are being run during your stay.
This is an essential part of the work here, as it ensures that the marine environment stays in as pristine condition as possible. As with everywhere in the world, rubbish is beginning to be a major issue here so cleaning it up is essential, ultimately helping to safeguard this incredible archipelago.
Encourage entrepreneurial attitudes
The ultimate aim of this is to deter local communities from unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing. This is always going on behind the scenes by our community team in the village, just through spending time with the locals and discussing how we can help them set up their own business, or support/help grow the ones they currently have (for example helping a homestay design/make leaflets to get more customers). This is something you may be able to take part in whilst on the project with volunteers staying for longer durations (4 weeks plus) having a higher chance.
Manta ray monitory programme
Volunteers wishing to participate in the manta ray monitor programme are trained to recognize key characteristics, markings and behaviours of these gentle giants, as well as their ecology, biology and conservation. Remember however that manta ray sightings cannot be guaranteed! All volunteers have the chance to be involved in this activity although between June and October we scale down the amount of manta research dives we do due to seasonality; however, we still do them and try to find other manta ray sites also. Therefore, during June to October manta ray surveys will still occur but the likelihood of seeing them is reduced.
Scuba diving is not only done during the daily survey dives but also during your free time. The marine life here is second to none and therefore it is essential for you to get under-water as much as possible! Saturdays are therefore set aside for leisure dives.
Please note that you need to arrive either early morning or the day before in order to meet at the Meridien Hotel for 8am. You will also need to arrange a flight departing the day after the project finish date.
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will be met at the Meridien Hotel at 8am by a project facilitator, who will transfer you to the ferry port (opposite the Meridien Hotel) to catch a boat to the project site on Arborek Island. Upon arrival, you will spend the rest of the day settling in, exploring the project site and meeting your fellow volunteers. This is the perfect time in which to take in the beauty of Raja Ampat: one of the most pristine marine environments anywhere on earth!
Please note: On arrival in Waisai, you will need to pay 1,000,000 IDR (around £50) for the Raja Ampat Marine Reserve Fee. This will need to be paid in cash in the local currency.
Day 2-7 - Project Days :
A typical weekday on the project consists of two survey dives and time spent on one or more of the numerous community projects within the local area. Depending on the weather conditions, you will either start the first survey dive at 9am or visit the local community to assist on a community project. After lunch, you will go back out to complete another survey-dive.
Saturdays are reserved for leisure dives in the morning and free afternoons with Sunday being a complete no dive day to allow recovery time. This time can be spent sunbathing, playing beach volleyball or football, swimming, snorkeling, exploring the island, or visiting the local village.
If you are unqualified, you will complete your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications this week.
Day 8 - 21 - Project Days:
From this point you will continue your survey dives and spend time on various other activities and community projects. As a PADI Advanced Open Water Qualified diver, you will have the opportunity to complete your Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver qualifications if you wish at an additional cost.
Day 22 - Final Day:
Unfortunately today is your last day and you will transfer back to Sorong for one final night before catching your return flight home, or for commencement of independent travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
Updates & Outcomes
The extent of this project's importance is only just being discovered. Incredibly, the oceans that surround Raja Ampat contain 80% of the world's hard coral species, 1350 species of fish, 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species, and 27 varieties of marine mammal. Divers here have the chance to encounter sperm whales and watch them feed, witness turtles laying eggs, and scuba dive amongst a myriad of tropical fish.
This project also works in partnership with the local government and communities to protect these incredible coral reefs and the people that rely on them, from threats such as over-fishing and coral destruction. But these efforts are not effective unless supported by the will of the local people. This is an important part of the marine conservation volunteering project, which works to bridge the gap between the reef ecosystem and the local communities residing here.
This project includes all aspect of the marine wildlife, including the teaching of sustainable fishing techniques, and the economic benefits of protecting marine areas, encouraging entrepreneurial attitudes to deter from unsustainable and destructive activities such as shark finning or fishing with dynamite.
The 10th of May every year is Mother Ocean Day and here at the Great Projects we wanted to celebrate this fact. To do this we spoke to underwater photographer Dan Bolt and he shared with us his favourite pictures from his time spent diving in the waters surrounding the UK and explained what he saw! These are not pictures to be missed so take a look!
Our wonderful volunteer, Eva, is here to tell you all about her time on the Raja Ampat Diving Project. Read on to see what she got up to!
Check out what Lena has to say about her time on the Raja Ampat Diving Project!
Is this trip for you?
Accommodation is provided in a stunning, beach-front location, just metres from the calm, crystal clear ocean. The accommodation comprises of dormitory-style beach bungalows. Each bungalow has been hand-built by the local community using traditional methods and materials. You will be provided with a bunk bed, mattress, pillow, basic linen (you may wish to bring a light sleeping bag) and mosquito net, along with a fan for each room. The bungalows are usually same-sex sharing, however this cannot be guaranteed. They also have a power supply so you can recharge cameras and phones. Accommodation is basic but comfortable.
Please note the island now has a new bungalow with 2 rooms. A private room in this, right on the beach, will be available for those that want to upgrade. This private room in a shared beach bungalow will cost an extra £120 per week and is good for couples travelling together – please enquire for more details.
Three meals a day are provided (specific diets are catered for). Meals are based upon local cuisine and seasonal availability of locally produced food, prepared and cooked by local staff, except on Sundays when expedition staff & volunteers will prepare and cook all meals.
Divers require a fairly high level of fitness and good lung capacity – you needn’t be an athlete but you must be relatively fit and healthy! In terms of skills, if you are already a certified PADI diver, you will be able to begin this project with marine conservation volunteering work, having regular opportunities to improve your PADI dive skills throughout the project. If you are an un-qualified diver, you will begin the programme with a week’s training course to become PADI certified. To do so, you must be a fairly strong swimmer, and not afraid of under-water submersion.
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
You will need to meet at the Meridien Hotel in Sorong on the start date of your project by 8am. Therefore we recommend arriving into Sorong the day before to ensure you do not miss the transfer to the project site. Sorong Airport can most easily be reached via Jakarta International Airport.
you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team
will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
You must hold a valid passport to enter Indonesia. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry to Indonesia. For a visit of up to 30 days, citizens of the UK, the USA and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry visa on arrival for free when first entering Indonesia(this is for 30 days maximum). There is an option which costs US$35 for a visit of up to 30 days. This tourist visa can then be extended once by 30 days and the project staff will help you with this using their visa agent based in Bali at a cost of £35. Alternatively, you can apply for a 60 day tourist visa before travel from your local Indonesian Embassy. For stays of over 60 days, you will need to apply for a visa beforehand.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The Indian currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. The conversion rate is around 1 IDR to 0.00005 GBP, 0.00005 EUR and 0.00006 USD
If you are joining an expedition as an unqualified diver, your expedition fee will include the use of Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) and a full regulator set (1st, 2nd Stage, Octopus and SPG) for the first week. If you are joining an expedition as a PADI Open Water qualified diver your expedition fee will include the use of Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) and a full regulator set (1st, 2nd Stage, Octopus and SPG) for the first week. If you are joining an expedition as a PADI Advanced Open Water qualified diver or above, you will need to bring your own equipment, including BCD and full regulator set.
However, it is possible to rent some of these items on site (whether you are a qualified or un-qualified diver) if you do not wish to carry them while on further travels. The following items are available for rental on-site (costs are per week and in Pounds Sterling £):
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) - £10
- Full regulator set (1st, 2nd stage, Octopus and SPG) - £10
- Mask & Snorkel - £10
- Wet suit - £10
- Fins & Dive boots - £15
- Dive Computer (Compulsory) - £20 (£150 refundable deposit needed)
If you would like to rent any of the above items for your expedition, please indicate this on your project account within the rentals section or inform your travel consultant before you go. If you do not do this, we cannot guarantee the items you may need will be available when you arrive on your expedition. If there are high numbers of volunteers renting items, please be aware that there may be times when volunteers will need to share the equipment between them. We recommend volunteers bring their own equipment where possible. Please note for each diving course you partake in you will need a passport sized photo with you.
What's included in the price of the project?
- 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) & 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
What's not included?
- Airport Transfers
- 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)
- Any personal spending money
- Dive Slate - you must bring this with you