Scuba Diving in Manta Ridge, Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

Skill level:
Experienced and advanced
Best season:
All year round
Maximum depth:
32-98 ft/10-30 m
By boat
If there was ever a place, called underwater paradise on earth, it would be at the Raja Ampat Islands. Located on the northwest end of New Guinea Island in Indonesia, Raja Ampat is an archipelago with more than 1500 islands, coral reefs and sandbars, situated in the Coral Triangle and surrounded by the majestic Pacific Ocean.

It is in all divers dream to visit this remote, almost unreal destination, as it is one, if not the one most bio diverse marine ecosystem on our planet. The humid tropical climate and the sea temperature, being constantly at 29°C/84°F, as well as the rich in plankton sea currents, create the perfect conditions for the underwater life to bloom and grow in magnificent ways.

Manta ridge is located at equal distance from Mnsuar and Airborei Island and is famous for the incredible Manta Rays. The strong sea currents attract many Manta’s and the spot works as a cleaning and feeding station for these powerful sea creatures. They appear in large numbers and as they circle and line up swimming low over the loop, moon wrasse, leopard wrasse, black eye thicklips and cleaner wrasse display their abilities to clean the parasites off the Manta’s.

Once you get into the water, follow the reef slope until you find the “s” bend, find a spot to hook up to and action will start within a few moments. Aside from the Manta Rays, the reef is full of life and colorful corals. If you go into deeper water, you can also see turtles, bumphead parrotfish, cobias, black tip reef sharks and many more.

There aren’t many places on earth where you can watch from that close the impressive Manta Rays. If you don’t make much noise or sudden moves, they usually come close and check you out. Keep in mind that even though this is a shallow dive – the Manta’s cleaning station is at 19 ft/6 m deep, the currents are very strong and suitable for advanced divers only.

Note that the islands can be reached only by boat. Visitors can charter small boats from the Sorong harbor that will take them to the resorts. However, another alternative is to charter one of the beautiful yachts, stay on board and sail and dive around in the best diving spots of the area.