- posted on Mar 1, 2019
- by Leanne Sturrock
Dive unexplored reefs and partake in marine conservation amongst the islands of the intrepid Raja Ampat archipelago.
Situated perfectly within the Coral Triangle, the Raja Ampat Diving Project finds itself surrounded by arguably the most diverse oceans on earth. Also known as ‘the Four Kings’, the Raja Ampat archipelago consists of a whopping 1500 small islands, and only 35 of them are inhabited. Many of the islands remain unexplored, their reefs concealing many mysteries – it is for these reasons that to some, Raja Ampat is considered one of the scuba diving frontiers on earth.
From what we do know about the waters of Raja Ampat, there is no doubt that they are filled with awe-inspiring biodiversity, in fact, over 80% of the world’s total coral species can be found here, and over 1300 species of fish call the region home. Six of the seven species of sea turtle can also be found in Raja Ampat alongside 27 varieties of marine mammals.
Climate change and pollution have caused insurmountable damage to our oceans across the globe, but remarkably Raja Ampat’s reefs have shown resistance to the effects of coral bleaching and disease. That said, any damage to Raja Ampat will impact the whole world’s marine ecosystem, and it is for this reason that volunteer projects such as this one must exist.
By volunteering on this project, you will work alongside a team of science officers and conservationists in a quest to provide maximum information about the reefs to the local governments and communities. Habitat mapping, survey dives and community initiatives all work towards the overall protection of the reefs, and without volunteer assistance these tasks simply would not be possible to complete. With two dives per day and plenty of opportunity to make a difference to the local community, this is one project which is sure to leave its mark on you.
As a volunteer, you will take part in a wide variety of marine conservation activities, involving yourself in numerous dives throughout your time here as well as assisting the local communities resident on the island. A list of potential activities is outlined below.
You can also spend 7 days on board a boat as you travel around central and North Raja Ampat completing even more research and diving in a variety of different locations! Please click here to view this 7-day itinerary, and please enquire for more information.
Below is an example of a 3-week itinerary for an unqualified diver. If you are PADI Advanced Open Water qualified or above, you would start from day 8.
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!
If you book to join this project in April or May 2019 then you will receive an additional 5% off!
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.
Over on the Raja Ampat Diving Project volunteers have been busy helping the youngsters on the island to protect their teeth. A new dental hygiene project has been launched by the in-country team, and as a result there are a lot of beaming smiles to now be found on the island! Read up to learn a little more about this exciting initiative!
From orangutan rescue to environmental disasters, 2017 has been fraught with heartwrenching stories about nature. Read on to learn about some of the stories from our own projects, as well as those from elsewhere around the globe.
During your time on the project, you will stay in a rustic bungalow situated on the beach. Each of these bungalows has been built by the local community using traditional methods and materials, making your time spent ‘island living’ all the more authentic. Volunteers will typically share their rooms on a same-sex basis, however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Each bungalow is equipped with bunk beds, mattresses, pillows, basic linen, mosquito nets, and a fan. The bungalows also have a power supply, allowing you to charge your cameras and phones, however, it is important to know that the electricity generator only runs overnight.
There is one bungalow on the island which has 2 private rooms, so if you are travelling as a couple or as a small group of friends, this option may be for you! This will cost an additional £120 per week – please speak to a member of the travel team for availability information.
Please be aware, the project is based on a small remote island and the accommodation and facilities are very basic. The camp works on a foundation of teamwork and communication and as such all volunteers and staff work together to keep the camp clean and tidy.
Three meals per day are provided, prepared for you by a member of the local staff (except on Sundays, when all meals will be prepared and cooked by expedition staff and volunteers). Meals are based on local cuisine and the seasonal availability of produce. The project is able to cater for specific dietary requirements but do please let us know well in advance as the island is very remote, with supplies being collected just once per week from Wasai!
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! If you are already a certified PADI diver, you will be able to begin this project with marine conservation volunteering work, with the opportunity to improve your PADI dive skills throughout the project. If you are an unqualified 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 must not be afraid of underwater submersion.
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP/Doctor 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 at 8am on your project start date. We recommend arriving into Sorong the day before to ensure that you do not miss the transfer to the project site. Sorong Airport (SOQ) can most easily be reached via Jakarta International Airport.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flight page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
For visits of up to 30 days, citizens of the UK, USA, and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry visa upon arrival. Depending on your route or arrival airport, this visa may be free or may cost up to US$35. We would advise carrying cash with you just in case.
If you will be in Indonesia for 60 days or longer, you must apply for a social-cultural visa. In this case, we will provide you with the documents you need to support your application.
For all visa questions, we strongly recommended consulting your local Indonesian embassy, as well as checking your own country’s government website with regards to travel. Please note that visas are your own responsibility.
If you are joining an expedition as an unqualified or PADI Open Water qualified diver, your expedition fee will include the use of a 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.
It is, however, possible to rent these items on-site (whether you are a qualified or unqualified 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):
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, but this will not impact the dives you are able to join. We recommend volunteers bring their own equipment where possible.
Future volunteers won't regret doing this project. The dives are unbelievable, lectures very interesting, and the island is a picture-perfect paradise. But do keep in mind that it is also remote and basic, so prepare yourself for basic facilities and food and enjoy a great trip!
Marjolein Evers, 2018
I have too many favourite moments to count - I loved every second I was there! The people were amazing, the diving was amazing and the location was incredible.
Duncan Lewis, 2018
There are two memories that I will take away with me forever and they are meeting some great new people and diving in the best reefs in the world!
Stephen Lindsay, 2017
Picking my favourite moment is a big challenge as this experience seems to create too many amazing memories! I guess I will never forget the first time I was surrounded by gorgeous oceanic mantas gracefully "flying" above me or the stunning underwater world which surrounds Arborek - I was permanently impressed by the fact every time we got in the water by the Barefoot Jetty or main jetty event snorkelling we kept finding stunning creatures like wobbegong or walking sharks, black tips, turtles, bumphead parrot fish in big schools, nudis and many many other fascinating creatures
Eva Natcheva, 2017
I will never forget the laugh of the island's children when watching Jumanji! The children got so excited when we taught them English in school. The whole experience of living on a remote island with fantastic sceneries and great people was unforgettable.
Evelyne Raetz, 2017
Each dive was amazing - it is really true paradise both above and under water and I loved being surrounded by the best people who are all dedicated to diving and marine life.
Nanna la Cour Sonne, 2017
The marine life on this project is out of this world! Every dive was individually incredible and we always saw something amazing as the coral is so rich and full of life. The island is also beautiful and everyone on the team is so helpful!
Lena Pollett, 2017
If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.
Nikita & team.