- posted on Mar 21, 2017
- by Connor Whelan
Check out what Lena has to say about her time on the Raja Ampat Diving Project!
Dive unexplored reefs and partake in marine conservation amongst the islands of the intrepid Raja Ampat archipelago.
The Raja Ampat Diving Project focuses on both marine conservation and community initiatives in one of the most stunning, aquatic environments on earth. The project is located at the heart of the Coral Triangle in an archipelago known as Raja Ampat. Situated off the coast of Western Papua in the east of Indonesia, this truly is a diving paradise and an epicentre of marine biodiversity.
Raja Ampat, or "Four Kings', is made up of over 1500 small islands and cays, although only 35 of them are inhabited. Many of the islands remain unexplored and reefs are yet to be dived, making it one of the few remaining scuba diving frontiers in the world. One of the project's main goals is to produce detailed coastal habitat-maps of the area for use in advising local governments and communities on establishing Marine Protected Areas so that this paradise can be safeguarded.
Understanding that the long-term protection of this special environment cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty, the project works with the local communities - educating, improving equality of life and aiming to alleviate poverty once and for all. There are a number of community projects and initiatives for you to get involved with around the twice daily dives, which makes for a truly rewarding marine conservation volunteer experience.
As a volunteer on this project 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. These activities include:
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.
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!
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; teaching sustainable fishing techniques and the economic benefits of protecting marine areas and encouraging entrepreneurial attitudes to deter from unsustainable and destructive activities like shark finning or fishing with dynamite.
Check out what Lena has to say about her time on the Raja Ampat Diving Project!
Rather than hearing us tell you how great our projects are, we thought we would let some of our ex-volunteers do the talking for us!
Accommodation is provided in a stunning, beach-front location, just metres from the calm, crystal clear ocean. The accommodation comprises of dormitory-style beach bungalows. Each bungalow has been hand-built by the local community using traditional methods and materials. You will be provided with a bunk bed, mattress, pillow, basic linen (you may wish to bring a light sleeping bag) and mosquito net, along with a fan for each room. The bungalows are usually same-sex sharing, however this cannot be guaranteed. They also have a power supply so you can recharge cameras and phones. Accommodation is basic but comfortable.
Please note the island now has a new bungalow with 2 rooms. A private room in this, right on the beach, will be available for those that want to upgrade. This private room in a shared beach bungalow will cost an extra £120 per week and is good for couples travelling together – please enquire for more details.
Three meals a day are provided (specific diets are catered for). Meals are based upon local cuisine and seasonal availability of locally produced food, prepared and cooked by local staff, except on Sundays when expedition staff & volunteers will prepare and cook all meals.
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! In terms of skills, if you are already a certified PADI diver, you will be able to begin this project with marine conservation volunteering work, having regular opportunities to improve your PADI dive skills throughout the project. If you are an un-qualified 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 not afraid of under-water 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 on the start date of your project by 8am. Therefore we recommend arriving into Sorong the day before to ensure you do not miss the transfer to the project site. Sorong Airport can most easily be reached via Jakarta International Airport.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights 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 a visit of up to 30 days, citizens of the UK, the USA and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry visa on arrival for free when first entering Indonesia(this is for 30 days maximum). There is an option which costs US$35 for a visit of up to 30 days. This tourist visa can then be extended once by 30 days and the project staff will help you with this using their visa agent based in Bali at a cost of £35. Alternatively, you can apply for a 60 day tourist visa before travel from your local Indonesian Embassy. For stays of over 60 days, you will need to apply for a visa beforehand.
The Indian currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. The conversion rate is around 1 IDR to 0.00005 GBP, 0.00005 EUR and 0.00006 USD
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.
It is however 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 £):
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.
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.
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
This was an unbelievable diving experience, with more diversity seen on one dive than in a week of diving elsewhere! Oh, and one dive there was 8 Mantas, queuing at the cleaning station!
Karen Dobson, 2016
I really enjoyed the family atmosphere around camp, diving with sharks and mantas, and learning all about science elements of the trip!
The whole experience was so amazing! I will never forget the first time I got to dive with mantas which was crazy! Teaching in the schools and helping the community was also brilliant! So many tears when I left!
Jasmine Cawood, 2015