Scuba Diving in Melissa’s Garden, Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

Skill level:
Beginners and advanced
Best season:
All year round
Maximum depth:
114 ft/35 m
16-82 ft/5-25 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.

Melissa’s Garden is located in the Jet Fam Islands, an incredible group of islets and limestone islands on the west side of of Batanta Island. The triangle formed by three small islets is considered to be among the best diving spots in Raja Ampat and the place to see the strange and impressive tasselled wobbegong as well as manta ray’s, the great barracuda’s and maroon clownfish hiding inside the anemones.

Underneath the small islets, a whole world of coral gardens with intense colors and formations reveals its secrets to the divers. The rare giant clams thrive in life with disguised pygmy seahorses, hiding among them and bi-color angelfish showing off their glorious colors. As you dive deeper, head to the western side of the reef where you will come across white banded sea snakes and pairs of masked rabbitfish, hunting over the green cabbage patch corals.

Suitable for all divers, Melissa’s Gardens is a unique natural reserve, home to a marine world that reveals to us the wild beauty of nature in a place still intact from mass tourism. Once you finish with your diving adventures, you can relax in any of the pristine sandy beaches, nested under the breathtaking cliffs. There are many places on earth claiming to be this beautiful, but this is a real piece of heaven on earth.

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.