Raja Ampat Diving Project

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Join this expedition to 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 last 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 projects such as this one must exist.

By joining this expedition, 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, restoration projects 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 opportunities to make a difference to the local community, this is one project that is sure to leave its mark on you.

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 last 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 projects such as this one must exist.

By joining this expedition, 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, restoration projects 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 opportunities to make a difference to the local community, this is one project that 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 activities you may take part in is outlined below. Additionally, you can choose to spend 7 or 10 days on a liveaboard boat, visiting different regions of Raja Ampat and taking part in even more research and leisure dives. Please click below to view the full itineraries and available start dates:

7-Day Central and North Raja Ampat Itinerary
10-Day South Misool and Central Raja Ampat Itinerary

Volunteers Learning to Dive in Raja Ampat
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 depth dives.
Data Gathering Dive at the Raja Ampat Diving Project
Data Gathering
This is the most important activity you will take part in on the project, as you join multiple science dives to gather information about the health of the coral reefs in the area. All of this data is supplied to the local government and stakeholders so that decisions can be made about how best to protect the reef and all of the marine life around Raja Ampat.
Measuring Coral Fragments in Raja Ampat
Reef Restoration Project
In addition to gathering data on the health of coral reefs in the area, you will take part in the reef restoration project which involves growing new corals in a coral nursery before planting them on a nearby reef that previous research has identified as being both physically damaged and affected by coral bleaching. You will take part in the monitoring, maintenance, and cleaning of the coral nurseries, and collect data as part of an ongoing research project that contributes to the long-term restoration of the reefs.
Science Lectures at the Raja Ampat Diving Project
Science Lectures
So that you are able to contribute effectively to the research being conducted here, you will take part in a variety of science lectures with the project staff. You will learn about basic marine biology and ecology, and also learn how to identify numerous coral and fish species endemic to the area. This new knowledge will then be put to good use when you are taking part in data gathering dives.
Diving with Manta Rays
Manta Ray Identification
If you visit during the manta ray season (November to May), you may have the opportunity to take part in identification dives, learning how to distinguish the animals by the markings on their belly. You will then input this data into the project’s own database along with any photos you were able to take. Manta rays can also be seen outside of this season, however, sightings are much rarer.
Volunteering with Children on the Raja Ampat Diving Project
Working With The Local Community And School Children
One of the most rewarding parts of this project is working with the local communities and school children on the island and on others nearby. You might spend your time teaching basic English, playing educational games or just having fun with them. You may even 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!
Free Time
Free Time
As this project involves a lot of diving, it is important that you take a day to rest each week. For this reason, every Sunday at the project is a rest day and you can spend your time sunbathing, relaxing with a good book, playing beach volleyball or simply taking a walk around the island! Your evenings will be similarly relaxed, with movie nights, murder mystery nights and fancy dress parties happening from time to time.
Raja Ampat Diving Project Liveaboard Boat
Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trips
If you want to take part in a truly incredible experience, you can substitute, or add on, a 7-day or 10-day liveaboard boat trip. On these trips, you will complete dive surveys, reef checks and of course, more fun dives in some of the most beautiful dive sites in the region. Be in with the chance of seeing manta rays, sharks and countless schooling fish, along with vibrant soft and hard corals as you visit a different place each day! For more information and to view the itineraries, please click the links in the description above. Each trip runs on select dates which can be found within the itinerary documents.

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.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will be met at The Ignislo Sorong Hotel by a member of the team before transferring to the ferry port and taking a boat to the project site. 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!
Day 2-7 - Diving Qualification:
During your first week on the project you will complete your PADI Open Water Qualification, Advanced Open Water Qualification or both with a fully qualified scuba instructor. This will consist of a variety of theory lessons, confined water sessions and open water sessions. During this time you will also have one day off to relax and may also spend some time interacting and working with the local communities.
Day 8-21 - Project Days:
Now you have completed your dive qualifications, you will take part in numerous dives to gather data (up to 8 per week, Monday to Friday) and will join lectures and science training to learn how to gather data correctly and accurately. During this time you will also work with the local schools and communities and enjoy a leisure dive on each Saturday. Sundays will be 'no-dive' days to allow you time to relax and your body to recover.
Day 22 - Final Day:
Today is sadly your last day, so after fond farewells, you will take a boat transfer back to Sorong. The transfer usually arrives at midday but we recommend booking an additional night's accommodation and flying the following day. This is because the ferry can be delayed and also because it is recommended that you do not fly within 24 hours of your last dive.

To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 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!

Duration Price
Select dive qualifications to view available durations & prices.
Price:


Accommodation

During your time on the project, you will stay in a rustic bungalow situated on the beach. Each bungalow has been built by the local community using traditional methods and materials, making your time spent ‘island living’ all the more authentic. Volunteers typically share rooms on a same-sex basis, though this cannot always be guaranteed. Each bungalow is equipped with bunk beds, mattresses, pillows, bed linen, mosquito nets, and a fan. They also have a power supply, so you can charge your electronics, however, the generator only runs at night. There is one bungalow on the island which has 2 private rooms, so if you are travelling as a couple, this option may be for you! The additional cost is $144 per week, and please speak to a member of the travel team for more information.

Please be aware, you are joining a volunteer expedition on a small remote island and so 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.

Meals & Beverages

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!

Drinking water is also provided, either from the desalination machine in camp or from water bottles bought in from Waisai. It is important to note, however, that as this expedition is located on a very remote island, there may be limitations surrounding fresh water, meaning shower time may be limited on occasion. Additional bottles of fresh water can be bought from the local shop and are always available and reasonably priced.

Getting There

You will need to meet at The Ignislo Sorong Hotel 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 (JKT).

Visa Requirements

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.

Dive Courses

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 purchase and complete the PADI eLearning course in advance.

Rescue Diver: Should you wish to enhance your diving further, you can undertake the Rescue Diver Course at an additional cost of $240. 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 $420.

Diving Equipment

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) - $18
  • Full regulator set (1st, 2nd stage, Octopus and SPG) - $18
  • Mask & Snorkel - $12
  • Wet suit - $12
  • Fins & dive boots - $18
  • Dive computer (compulsory) - $24 ($180 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.

Fitness & Skills

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.

Vaccinations

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.

The Raja Ampat Diving Project

The Raja Ampat archipelago consists of a whopping 1500 small islands, and with only 35 of them inhabited, many of the islands remain unexplored. Find out more about this marine conservation project located in one of the last scuba diving frontiers on earth.

Volunteers Review Their Experience in Raja Ampat.

Volunteers Aliya, Neshay and Barney review their time on the Raja Ampat Diving Project in Indonesia.

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What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • 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 (up to 12 a week when possible)
  • 24-hour field support staff
  • Transfers between Waisai port and basecamp (via boat)

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Ferry transfers between Sorong and Waisai port
  • Travel insurance (which must cover you for diving of depths up to 30m and for repatriation)
  • PADI eLearning courses which are required for every course you will be completing whilst on the project. These must be bought (and preferably completed) prior to your arrival.
  • Raja Ampat Marine Reserve park fee (IDR 1,000,000)
  • Dive Slate - you must bring this with you!
Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987