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.
Manta ray season is at its peak at the Raja Ampat Diving Project, just look at recent photos and footage taken by volunteers from nearby cleaning stations! With breathtaking moments to be had above and beneath the waves, why not find out what could be in store for you when volunteering in Indonesia.
- posted on 01/03/2019
- by Leanne Sturrock
Two years on from the UN’s plea to ‘Listen to the Young Voices’, this World Wildlife Day shines a light on ‘Life Below Water – For People and Planet’. This article explores the link between humanity and our oceans, from our willingness to acknowledge the risks of a changing climate - particularly in relation to our oceans – and our ability to work together to inspire change.
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!
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 staying in Indonesia for no more than 30 days, citizens of the UK, USA, and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry tourist visa on arrival. Depending on your route or arrival airport, this visa may be free or may cost up to US$35.
If you will be in Indonesia for 30 to 60 days but will complete your time on the project within 30 days of arrival into Indonesia, you are able to get a tourist visa on arrival and then extend this in Sorong after your time on the project for a further 30 days.
If, however, you will be in Indonesia for 30 to 60 days in total but will still be on the project 30 days after arrival into Indonesia, you will need to obtain a social/cultural visa in advance. In this case, we will provide you with the documents you need to support your application.
For anyone joining the project who will be in Indonesia for more than 60 days in total, you will need to obtain a social/cultural visa in advance and will then need to extend this. This can be done in Sorong and transport from the project site can be arranged for this for a small fee.
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.
You are able to join this project as a qualified or unqualified diver and there are a number of dive courses available that you can complete.
You must be at least PADI Advanced Open Water qualified (or an equivalent) to take part in the research and science dives on this project. So if you join as an unqualified diver or with only the PADI Open Water qualification, you will spend your first week completing your PADI Advanced Open Water qualification.
You are then able to gain some or all of the following dive qualifications (depending on how long you volunteer for).
Emergency First Response: This course is designed to build the confidence of a diver, increasing their willingness to respond when faced with an emergency. This can be completed for no additional fee, however, you must take your own PADI manual and PIC with you.
Rescue Diver: Should you wish to enhance your diving further, you can undertake the Rescue Diver Course at an additional cost of $280. This course can be challenging, but incredibly rewarding as you become a better diving ‘buddy’ and can become confident in your ability to help others if needed. You will need to have completed the Emergency First Response course in order to complete this.
Dive Master: Take on your first level of professional training as you work to become a Divemaster. Perfect your skills, including those relating to rescue, and see where your qualifications can take you! Gaining your Dive Master qualification takes a minimum of 8 weeks for those holding an Advanced Open Water qualification, or 10-12 weeks if you join the project as an unqualified diver, although we recommend allowing 12 weeks to complete this for all. If you join the project for 12 weeks, you can complete this course for no additional fee, however, if you volunteer for 8 - 11 weeks and want to get your qualification, there's is an additional charge of $490.
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):
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) - $21
- Full regulator set (1st, 2nd stage, Octopus and SPG) - $21
- Mask & Snorkel - $14
- Wet suit - $14
- Fins & dive boots - $21
- Dive computer (compulsory) - $28 ($210 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, but this will not impact the dives you are able to join. We recommend volunteers bring their own equipment where possible.
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)
- Tanks, air, weights & weight belts (all divers)
- A 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 (which 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 $280 and $490 respectively; the Divemaster course takes 8 weeks minimum for Advanced Open Water Divers or above; unqualified divers will need 10-12 weeks, dependant on the number of dives logged)
- Raja Ampat Marine Reserve park fee (IDR 1,000,000)
- Dive Slate - you must bring this with you!