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 is outlined below.
Dive Training Programme
If you are an unqualified diver, you will spend your first week on the project learning how to dive, achieving both your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications. This will be done under the supervision of a fully qualified instructor, and consists of theory studies, confined water sessions, and increasingly greater dives.
The data you collect is incredibly important, as the information you gather will be used to show the health of the reef and will be passed on to the local government. Without this information, it would be difficult for the project and government to work together to think up best practices for the care of the reef.
You will spend time learning more about basic marine biology and ecology, as well as finding out how to identify numerous coral and fish species endemic to the area. This new knowledge will be put to good use when taking part in ‘pointy dives’ and validation tests. To learn more about ‘pointy dives’, check out your free project guide!
Manta Ray Identification
If you visit during the manta ray season (October to April), you may have the opportunity to take part in identification activities, learning how to distinguish the animals by the markings on their belly and inputting data into the project’s own database.
Working With The Local School Children
One of the most rewarding parts of this project is to work alongside the local community – more specifically, the school children! Take part in their lessons, teaching them basic English and playing fun, educational games with them. You may also get involved with the island’s Dental Hygiene initiative, teaching the little ones how to care for their oral health with daily ‘tooth brushing parties’ and even a song!
Whilst diving is certainly enjoyable, it’s important to take rest days. For this reason, every Sunday at the project is a rest day – sunbathe, relax with a good book, play beach volleyball or simply stroll around the islands! Your evenings will be similarly relaxed, with movie nights, murder mystery nights and fancy dress parties happening from time to time.
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 by a project facilitator, before transferring over to the ferry port and catching a boat to the project site on Arborek Island. Spend the day settling in, getting to know your fellow volunteers, and exploring the project site. This is the perfect time to take in the beauty of Raja Ampat, one of the most pristine marine environments 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 :
Each day here will typically consist of undertaking two survey dives per day, as well as spending some time working with the local community on a variety of fun tasks. Depending on the weather, your first activity of the day (either a survey dive or a visit to the local school) will take place at 9am, with a survey dive taking place after lunch. (Please note that if you are an unqualified diver, your first week will be spent earning your PADI Open Water or Advanced Open Water qualifications.)
Saturdays are reserved for leisure dives in the morning with downtime in the afternoon, and Sundays are strictly ‘no dive days’ – it’s important to allow your body to recover! Why not spend your time swimming, relaxing on the island, or playing volleyball with your group?
Day 8 - 21 - Project Days:
The rest of your time on the project will be spent conducting survey dives and taking part in numerous community projects. If you are a PADI Advanced Open Water qualified diver, you may have the opportunity to complete your Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver qualifications at an additional cost. Otherwise, continue helping the team to fill up their database with information on the local area!
Day 22 - Final Day:
Today is sadly your last day, so bid farewell to your new-found friends before transferring back to Sorong via boat. Spend one final night in a hotel, commence your independent travel plans, or catch a flight home!
Please note that the boat back to Sorong usually arrives around midday, meaning that same-day flights may be tricky to get. Additionally, it is strongly advised that you take a full day of rest (no diving) before flying, so to avoid missing out on this activity on your final day, an added night in Sorong is recommended.
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.
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
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.
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!
Is this trip for you?
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, though you may want to bring a light sleeping bag with you. The bungalows also have a power supply, allowing you to charge your cameras and phones.
Please note that 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.
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 seasonal availability of produce, and the project is able to cater for specific dietary requirements but do please let us know well in advance – 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 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 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 your project starts to ensure that you do not miss the transfer to the project site, as the boats between Sorong and Arborek are very sporadic. Sorong Airport can most easily be reached by 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.
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 visits of up to 30 days, citizens of the UK, the USA, and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry visa upon their arrival in Indonesia. Depending on your route or arrival airport, this visa may be free or may cost up to $35. We would advise carrying cash with you just in case, and in the case of your visa being free, you can either exchange your money back in-land or put it towards a deposit on your diving equipment.
If you are travelling for under 30 days but may wish to extend your visa, you can purchase a visa upon arrival which will permit you to add a further 30 days to your trip. Once again, this will cost $35.
In the event of stays lasting 60 days or longer, you must apply for a social-cultural visa. In this case, we will provide you with the documents from the project; these will be used to support your application.
For all visa questions, it is strongly recommended that you check for any specific requirements for your country of residence or changes to policy. It is best to consult the Indonesian embassy, as well as checking your own country’s government website with regards to travel. Please note that visas are your own responsibility.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The native currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. The conversion rate is around 1 IDR to 0.00005 GBP, 0.00005 EUR and 0.00007 USD. Please check www.xe.com for the most up-to-date conversion rates.
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) - £15
- Full regulator set (1st, 2nd stage, Octopus and SPG) - £15
- 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.)
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) & regulator hire for the first week of your stay (only for those booking onto an open water or advanced open water dive course)
- Tanks, air, weights & weight belts (all divers)
- Comprehensive science training programme
- All dives (12 a week in total when possible)
- 24-hour field support staff
- Transfers between Waisai port to basecamp (via boat)
What's not included?
- Airport transfers
- Ferry transfers
- Travel insurance (this must cover you for diving of depths up to 30m and for repatriation)
- PADI manuals and Dive Certification (Positive Identification Card - PIC) for every course you are taking part in whilst on the project. These must be bought before you fly as you cannot purchase either out at Raja Ampat.
- Personal diving equipment
- Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses (there is an additional fee of £200 and £350 respectively; Divemasters take 8 weeks minimum for Open Water Divers; unqualified divers will need 10-12 weeks)
- Raja Ampat Marine Reserve park fee (IDR 1,000,000)
- Any personal spending money
- Dive Slate - you must bring this with you!