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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Central & North Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trip
If you want to take part in a truly incredible experience, you can substitute, or add on, an extra 7 day liveaboard boat trip. During this time you will complete dive surveys, reef checks, and of course, more fun dives in some of the most beautiful dive sites in the area. 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, please click the link in the description above.
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 Meridien 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.
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.
- posted on Mar 1, 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!
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.
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. 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, 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.
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.
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 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):
- 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, 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 £200 and £350 respectively; the Divemaster course take 8 weeks minimum for Advanced Open Water Divers or above; unqualified divers will need 10-12 weeks, and all depend on the number of dives logged)
- Raja Ampat Marine Reserve park fee (IDR 1,000,000)
- Dive Slate - you must bring this with you!