Papua Paradise Wed, 17 Jul 2019 01:41:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Papua Paradise 32 32 A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers Wed, 10 Jul 2019 07:33:27 +0000 Raja Ampat has long been a dream destination for divers, but it is also seeing a rise in popularity with non-divers. This is an area of the world famed for its underwater life, so what should those who aren’t planning to dive do? Keep reading to find out if Raja Ampat is for you.

Exploring the Marine Life

A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers

The main draw to Raja Ampat is its unbelievable marine biodiversity. Studies have shown over one thousand species of fish and hundreds of corals and other marine creatures thrive in these waters. If you aren’t diving in Raja Ampat you will definitely want to get your snorkeling gear on and explore.

At Papua Paradise the house reef is teeming with life. Access is from the resort’s jetty where it is deep enough to enter the water without harming the reef. You could easily spend all day snorkeling around the resort watching the underwater world.

Once you’ve seen the house reef, you might also want to get out and see more. Snorkelers are welcome on the Gangga Divers dive boats that head out to some of the most incredible dive sites in Raja Ampat. You’ll be following the dive schedule, which will give you plenty of time for snorkeling.

Above Water Day Trips

A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers

The rich wildlife doesn’t stop at the waters edge. Above water the islands are covered in dense rainforest, encircled by rich mangroves and waterfalls. All are habitats for an impressive variety of species of birds, plants, insects and even endemic marsupials and mammals.

Most guests at Papua Paradise are excited to book the Batanta island waterfall trip or a dawn trip to see the famous red bird of paradise or Wilson’s bird of paradise in their natural habitat.

A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers

If you’re a birding enthusiast there is a breathtaking array of avian life to spot. Look out for sunbirds, beach kingfishers, raja shelducks, and willie wagtails. You can also book a sunset hornbill cruise to see hundreds of hornbills heading home to roost on nearby Batanta Island.

If you want to find out more about the people and culture of Raja Ampat you can request a trip to one of the populated islands nearby. The people of the region are friendly, welcoming and happy to talk about their way of life.

Time to Relax

A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers

You may have seen numerous photos of Raja Ampat on social media. While the region does have lovely soft white sand and crystal turquoise water, this isn’t an area we recommend if you want to stretch out on a beach and soak up the rays.

Many of the sandy islets and small islands we stop at during dive breaks are uninhabited and have very little shade. The sun in this part of the world is extremely strong and without shade you would burn very quickly if you decided to sunbathe.

Instead, the loungers and hammocks on the deck of your over-water bungalow are the perfect places to read a book, nap, or just watch the magic of nature. And since there is little internet and no phone signal at Papua Paradise, we recommend switching off and stepping away from work and social media life.

Non-Divers Welcome!

A Quick Guide to Raja Ampat For Non-Divers

Papua Paradise might be aimed at the diving crowd, but don’t worry if you don’t dive. The slow pace of life, natural beauty and choice of snorkeling and above water activities will definitely keep non-divers happy. Just be aware you are not travelling to a beach holiday experience but an underwater and nature lovers destination.

Are you a non-diver but want to visit Raja Ampat? We’d love to hear what the draw is for you in the comments below.

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How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life Tue, 25 Jun 2019 08:56:19 +0000 Most of us have been diligently applying sunscreen for years in an effort to protect our skin and our health. But new studies are showing that sunscreen might not be as healthy as it’s made out to be. It’s hotly debated whether it’s safe for our skin, but we know for a fact that it is damaging to coral reefs. A number of coastal areas that attract tourists, swimmers, surfers and divers, have begun to ban sunscreens containing certain chemicals for just this reason.

Keep reading to learn about reef safe sunblocks and why it is so important we start thinking about what we take with us into the ocean.

How do sunscreens damage coral reefs?

How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life in Raja Ampat

Most sunscreens contain a UV absorbing chemical called oxybenzone. This chemical poisons coral by disrupting reproduction and growth and causing deformities. And it doesn’t take much oxybenzone to wreak havoc on a coral reef. Just a single drop in more than 10 million litres of water can cause damage to coral.

Oxybenzone is being found in shockingly high concentrations in some of the world’s most popular reefs. The numbers were so shocking in fact that Hawaii, Bonaire, Palau and Aruba have completely banned the sale or use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone.

How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life in Raja Ampat

Unfortunately, there is currently no legislation on the use of oxybenzone in sunscreens. They continue to be produced and sold without any warnings of the harm they could be causing to marine ecosystems. It could be many, many years and take many more studies before any laws are put into place. This is why it’s so important for individuals, resorts, and local lawmakers to start educating and offering alternatives to commonly used sunscreens.

Reef Safe Sunblock

How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life in Raja Ampat

There are options out there if you’re looking for reef safe sunscreens. These sunscreens use the minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays. Both zinc and titanium oxides are safe for the skin, biodegradable, and safe for fish to ingest (in their non nano form).

A few of the reasons people don’t use reef safe sunscreens is that they are harder to find, generally more expensive, and thicker to apply. However, if you are an ocean lover you will surely be able to overlook the cons and see how important it is to choose sunblock wisely.

How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life in Raja Ampat

To keep in line with eco-friendly practices and to make it easier for you, you can now buy Matahari 100% natural, reef safe sunblock at Papua Paradise Eco Resort.

Matahari Reef Safe Sunblock is an Indonesian made product. It’s water resistant, palm oil free, and also contains coenzyme A, wheat germ oil, cocoa, vitamin E, and jojoba, which are all beneficial for the skin.

How Reef Safe Sunscreens Can Save Marine Life in Raja Ampat

By selling this product Papua Paradise hopes to educate guests and also give them the chance to do their bit for coral reef conservation while staying in Raja Ampat. You are also welcomed to bring and use your own reef-safe sunscreen option.

If you’d like more information about the efforts at Papua Paradise Eco Resort to make as little impact on the ecosystem as possible, or about reef safe sunscreen, please leave us a message in the comments box below.

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Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip Mon, 17 Jun 2019 06:17:52 +0000 Diving in Raja Ampat can be a lifelong dream for some scuba divers. Because the region is quite remote and conditions can be challenging it’s not recommended for beginner divers. Even experienced divers might want to brush up on their dive skills if they haven’t been diving for a while. If you’d like some tips on how to get ready for your dive trip to Raja Ampat we have a few to share.

Take Time to Review

When you took your very first scuba course one of the first things you will have learned was how pressure and density affects divers. Can you still remember all the details? If you can’t really remember, it’s probably time to refresh even if it seems automatic to you now.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

You know that as you descend the pressure around you increases due to the weight of water pressing down on you. This is why we need to equalize the pressure inside our body to the pressure outside. Below is a simple illustration of depth and pressure.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

To understand how the pressure or weight of the water pressing on us affects the density of air in our cylinder we must review Boyle’s Law.

The deeper you go the more air compresses. Boyle’s Law says that Air Volume = 1/ Pressure

If you’re terrible at maths, here is an example. If the pressure is 2 ATA, then the volume of the compressed air is ½ of its original size at the surface.

Know Your Hand Signals

You will also have learned scuba diving hand signals when you first took your dive certification. These are a universally used set of hand signals that are used to communicate underwater. They keep you and your dive partners in touch with each other and safe.

If you’ve been diving regularly you will have been using these signals, but if it’s been a while since your last dive you’ll want to practice them. Below is a graphic of the most commonly used PADI hand signals you need to know.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

Assemble Your Gear

If you have your own scuba gear you’ll want to make sure everything is in good repair and you remember how to assemble it. If you don’t have your own gear and are worried you might need to refresh, Gangga Divers at Papua Paradise Eco Resort will run through it all with you when you arrive in Raja Ampat.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

Often you will remember the procedures as soon as you start to set up the gear and your confidence will come straight back.

Practice Basic Skills

There are 3 skills that you must be confident with when you dive. Even experienced divers have momentary lapses in memory, so practice these 3 skills before you get in the water to keep them fresh in your mind.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

1.Clearing your regulator

Whether you use a blast clearing or purge clearing method, you should practice this skill. Whichever method is easiest for you, you must be confident to clear your regulator. This is especially important in the case of your regulator being knocked out of your mouth while you are underwater.

2. Sharing an air source

If you or a dive partner runs out of air you will need to be able to safely share an air source. The first thing to remember is the hand signal to tell others you’ve run out of air and then you should know where their secondary air source is (although they will most likely offer it to you). Once you have air again, follow standard procedures to safely surface together.

3. Clearing your mask

Clearing your mask is one of the first skills you’ll learn as a diver. It’s quite easy on the surface but you also need to know how to clear it underwater. This entails exhaling through your nose in a long steady breath to push the water out of your mask. You can practice this in the pool but it’s also good to give it a go when you’re in open water as well.

Refreshing Your Dive Skills Before Your Raja Ampat Dive Trip

All these skills may seem like basics, but it is absolutely essential that you can do them in a calm manner in real life situations. When you’re on challenging dives in Raja Ampat you will want to make sure each of these basics is second nature. If you have any questions about dive skills, leave us a comment in the box below.

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The Plight of Raja Ampat’s Coconut Crabs Tue, 28 May 2019 05:02:29 +0000 You might come to Raja Ampat looking for underwater life but you’ll find the nature on land pretty incredible as well. One of the strangest and frightening for those of us with arachnaphobia, is the coconut crab.

Locally known as ketam kenari, they are not only the largest species of crab in the world, but also the largest living arthropods. They can reach up to a massive 1 metre from leg to leg and often weigh around 4 kilograms. This is one huge crab species!

Coconut Crab Behavior

The Plight of Raja Ampat’s Coconut Crabs

As a terrestrial crab, you might see these crabs walking through the jungle or on the beach. They are often photographed heading up coconut palms to find their favorite food.

What makes them even more special than just their sheer size is how intelligent they are. Once they’ve found a coconut they will take it down to the ground to strip the husk off. They then carry the coconut back up to the highest point of the tree and throw it to the ground cracking it open. It might take a bit of effort but they do love coconuts!

Conserving Coconut Crabs

The Plight of Raja Ampat’s Coconut Crabs

Unfortunately, people love to eat crab and coconut crabs are no exception. Their highly prized meat has led to them being hunted so extensively they are now an endangered species. Although they have been protected under Indonesian law since 1989 the law is only loosely upheld and they can still be found for sale. It is also unfortunate that the crabs are under the jurisdiction of the forestry service, which has no patrol boats.

This isn’t only happening in Raja Ampat. In the South Pacific and French Polynesia populations have dwindled so low that it is very rare to see them on islands with any human inhabitants. Many places in the world have banned or put strict limits on the number of coconut crabs that can be caught to save them from going extinct.

What You Can Do

The Plight of Raja Ampat’s Coconut Crabs

Although you won’t be offered coconut crab at Papua Paradise Eco Resort, you may visit other islands where locals are trying to sell them. There is still a high rate of poverty in Raja Ampat and some people are willing to risk breaking conservation laws to make money.

There are reports of locals selling coconut crabs at the famous lookout spot at Piaynemo island. This is a major stop for tourists in Raja Ampat and can provide a good living for the sellers. However tempting it is to buy these crabs you should say no and report the sellers to your guide or the dive and boat staff.

To lessen the chances of tourists, who might not know coconut crabs are endangered, buying the animals there has also been a movement within the homestays in Raja Ampat. A circular reads, “No, we will not cook your coconut crab”. By refusing to cook coconut crab the sale and eating of this species can be lessened.

The Plight of Raja Ampat’s Coconut Crabs

There have also been plans floating around to create a crab sanctuary where confiscated crabs are released. If it could be proven that tourists would pay to visit a ‘coconut crab island’ locals might be much less likely to catch and kill them.

If you are in Raja Ampat and see someone selling coconut crabs, do your part and report them. Together we can help raise awareness and protect this amazing species.

Have you ever seen a coconut crab? Do you find them beautiful or scary? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

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Where to Find Red Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat Tue, 14 May 2019 05:24:22 +0000 Birds of Paradise, locally known as the Cendrawasih, are one of the iconic symbols of Papua. Many Papuans believe these birds are the reincarnation of fairies flitting around their jungles.

There are actually 38 species in the Bird of Paradise family, but one of the most sought out around Papua Paradise Eco Resort is the Red Bird of Paradise or Cendrawasih merah. This species is endemic to Indonesia and is found on the islands of Batanta, Waigeo and Gam.

Tours to search for these birds are offered through Papua Paradise, and are the perfect way to explore a little of the islands above the water.

What you’re looking for

Where to Find Red Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat

Red Birds of Paradise are large birds. The males can grow up to 30cm long, often with around 40cm more of spectacular ornamental plumage when they are fully grown. The males are the more impressive of this species, as with most Birds of Paradise. They have an emerald green face, dark green pompoms about each eye and glossy red plumes with black corkscrew shaped tail wires. The smaller females have a dark brown face and no red plumes. They are altogether less showy than their fancier mates.

Environmental importance

Birds of Paradise eat insects and fruit but it’s the fruit in their diet that makes them such an important part of the ecosystem. They are very important in the dispersion of fruits seeds. The fact that they are agile and can reach the more difficult to access fruits makes them that much more crucial to the forests of Raja Ampat.

They also have the interesting adaptation that their stomachs are less destructive to seeds than other animals so seeds are healthier and more likely to sprout when they are dispersed in droppings. There are a number of fruit trees on the islands of Waigeo and Batanta that are thought to rely solely on seed dispersal by Birds of Paradise.

Mating displays

Where to Find Red Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat

If you’re very lucky you might see the fantastic displays that male Red Birds of Paradise put on to court the females. Males get together in groups called leks and display together in static postures, fanning and dancing with their brightly coloured wings, plumes and tail tapes. Their breeding season isn’t well known but it’s thought that they display from at least July to September.

Threats to Red Bird of Paradise Populations

This species, like many others, is on the verge of being listed as threatened. The greatest threat to all Birds of Paradise is the destruction of their habitats. Logging, agriculture and development on the islands is destroying their homes and pushing them away from their natural food sources and the safety of their environment.

These birds have also been targeted in the past for their beautiful feathers. Thankfully, this trade is all but died out in the early 20th century and didn’t damage the populations too badly. Their plumes are still used in the traditional dress of many local tribes but again, in small enough amounts that the populations are not badly damaged.

Tours to see Red Birds of Paradise

Where to Find Red Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat

Are you interested in a tour to see these amazing birds? This tour leaves Papua Paradise at around 4.30am from Birie Island and takes about 30 minutes by boat and 45 minutes trekking through untouched rainforest with a knowledgeable guide. If you’d like to know more about the Red Bird of Paradise trip or other tours offered at Papua Paradise, leave us a question in the comments section below.

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Breathing Techniques to Help You Dive More Efficiently Tue, 30 Apr 2019 09:39:06 +0000 When you do your dive training you learn how to dive efficiently to extend your bottom time and also keep yourself calm and relaxed. However, you might still notice that other divers seem to use less of their air than you do. Why does this happen and what does it mean about the way you’re breathing? Let’s discuss and see if you can learn some breathing techniques to help you dive more efficiently.

How to breathe ‘right’ while diving

Breathing Techniques to Help You Dive More Efficiently

When you first learn to dive the first thing you’ll be taught is to never hold your breath. This is something beginners tend to do as a reflex when they go underwater. After a few dives it becomes second nature to breathe more normally but some people do still hold their breath absentmindedly. Focus mindfully on your breath as you enter the water, and make sure to find a rhythm without holding your breath.

This calm, natural breathing is what you want to aim for. You will probably need to inhale longer than you would above water to get the oxygen into your lungs. Counting in for 4 slowly, holding for 2, and then exhaling for 4 is a good rule of thumb to work to. This is especially important in challenging diving situations. Raja Ampat has some very difficult conditions that take a calm diver with steady breathing to negotiate.

You’ll also be using your breath to adjust your buoyancy. Once you have descended and have found your neutral buoyancy, you should be able to maneuver higher and lower in the water with only the amount of air you are taking into your lungs. This can take time to master but will save you using your BC to change your buoyancy levels. In turn you will use less air from your tank.

Breathing techniques to learn for diving

There are techniques many divers employ to extend their air supply. Many of these come from other sports or practices and work brilliantly while scuba diving.


Breathing Techniques to Help You Dive More Efficiently

Freediving has long been used as training for scuba dives. Many freedivers who also scuba are able to make a tank last much longer than other divers. Martin Stepanek, a 13 time freediving champion says “Freediving techniques build more-proficient breathing habits and a stronger ability to listen to our bodies, which can result in decreased gas consumption and more-enjoyable scuba dives.”

Freedivers are also generally more in touch with the sensations in their body when they dive. They know how to slow their bodies even further when they feel like they are coming to the end of their oxygen supply. They also react calmly and easily to the sensations that come and go that are caused by pressure when you dive to deeper depths.


Breathing Techniques to Help You Dive More Efficiently

Yogic breathing techniques are also a way to control your intake of air and extend your tank. A full yogic breath entails filling the lungs slowly and completely. At full capacity the lungs will expands the ribs, stomach and chest. Using these parts of the body as markers you can learn to inhale and exhale more slowly and efficiently.

Segmented breathing is also another common yogic technique that can control the breath. This entails inhaling and exhaling in short even segments rather than a continuous breath. Controlling this with your diaphragm is a very good way of lessening the amount of air you use by using it more skillfully.

Get fit!

Breathing Techniques to Help You Dive More Efficiently

The more physically fit a diver is, the more efficiently they will be able to use oxygen. Generally those that get regular cardiovascular exercise like running, cycling and swimming, the better they are at breathing and the better their body is at using the air efficiently. A healthy diet also contributes to the way your body uses energy and oxygen.

When you dive, there is much more to think about than just getting underwater and swimming around. An efficient breathing technique will allow you to enjoy your dives more, keep you calm in tough situations and also let you stay under longer. Who doesn’t want that when they are diving somewhere as incredible as the dive sites around Papua Paradise Eco Resort in Raja Ampat?

Do you do anything to allow you to breathe more efficiently while diving? We’d love to know in the comments below.

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Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat Thu, 04 Apr 2019 09:17:33 +0000 Separating mainland West Papua and Batanta and Waigeo islands, the Dampier Strait offers some of the very best diving in Raja Ampat. This is thanks to the strait’s topography – the Indonesian Throughflow is squeezed through the strait causing strong currents. In turn the currents bring vast numbers of schooling fish and larger predators. So what can you expect when diving in the Dampier Strait? Let’s talk about some of the sites…

Cape Kri

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

If you’re looking for variety of species on a dive, then Cape Kri should be your first stop. This world-record setting site is where no less than 374 species of fish were counted in just one dive! Tons of small reef fish, schools of jacks, batfish, barracuda and snapper are just a few of the fish you’ll see.

You can also expect sharks, turtles, and grouper that come to feed on the smaller fish and nutrient rich plant life.

Sardine Reef

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

To the east of Kri is a small underwater hill covered in soft coral, bushes of black coral, huge gorgonian fans and masses of coral heads. This is Sardine Reef, where huge schools of sardines, fusiliers, butterfly fish, damsels and banner fish can feast on the nutrients in the water.

Larger predators like black tipped reef sharks, white tipped reef sharks and even the occasional grey reef shark cruise around feasting on the easy pray. This is the perfect opportunity to watch the food chain in action!

Arborek Jetty

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

Arborek may be better known as a stop to see the culture of a local village in Raja Ampat, but it’s also a pretty good dive site. It’s well photographed and can be a little crowded, but the selection of critters and vibrant coral is great.

From camouflaged frogfish to nudibranchs of every colour and swirls of schooling fish, it’s an underwater photographer’s paradise.

Blue Magic

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

Between Mioskon and Cape Kri is the famous Blue Magic. This reef starts at around 8 metres and drops down to 30 metres. Everywhere you look teems with life, colour and movement.

Every surface is carpeted with hard and soft corals that are home to everything from the teeniest shrimp to wobbegong sharks. This site is a must-dive in Raja Ampat.

Mike’s Point

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

Named after the son of one of the first divers to really explore Raja Ampat, Mike’s Point is the eastern tip of Kerupiar Island. This island was famously bombed in World War II because it looked like a Japanese warship.

Now, it’s one of the most popular dive sites in Raja Ampat thanks to the incredible marine life that has inhabited the slopes and plateau of the site. Hard and soft corals cover the rocky features and schools of barracuda, jacks and yellow striped sweetlips frequent the area.

Dive with Caution

Diving the Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat

The dives in the Dampier strait are truly breathtaking, but of course with the currents that bring the life, also comes an element of danger. Gangga Divers at Papua Paradise Eco Resort will assess your readiness to dive in this area before going out and you will also have to self-assess your confidence level.

Certain dives, for example Mike’s Point, can have extreme currents and sudden downdrafts. At certain times some sites may be too dangerous to dive, or will be available only to divers with at least 50 dives under their belts.

To learn more about where Gangga Divers dives, or find out if diving in the Dampier Strait is for you, leave us your question or comment below.

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Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat? Tue, 19 Mar 2019 04:37:46 +0000 Raja Ampat off West Papua is a dream diving location for scuba divers from all over the world. However, this marine paradise is also an area of strong currents, which can be difficult for even the most experienced of divers. In this article you’ll learn what to watch out for to stay safe in Raja Ampat, the best dive sites for novices, and also if you might need more dives under your belt before you go.

Just to note, it is possible to learn to dive in Raja Ampat but for the purposes of this article a beginner diver is someone with around 20 dives.

Why is Raja Ampat said to be a difficult place to dive?

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Raja Ampat is at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Indonesian Throughflow, where massive amounts of water pass through the islands, creates strong currents that can be hard to negotiate. Of course it’s these currents that also feed the incredible reef systems and make the biodiversity so breathtaking.

The currents mean divers must be skillful drift divers, which isn’t usually something beginners are adept at. Down currents can be very strong and for divers that aren’t used to drift diving, very scary.

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Raja Ampat is also remote and dive sites are generally quite a distance from medical help. The only decompression chamber is in Waisai, over 50km from Papua Paradise Eco Resort.

The Best Dives for Beginners in Raja Ampat

With all this said, it is possible to dive in Raja Ampat if you have a PADI Open Water certification. The dive guides from Gangga Divers at Papua Paradise Eco Resort will assess your skill level before you get in the water. They would never take a diver to a site above their skill or confidence level.

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Before booking a dive trip to Raja Ampat you should be fully confident with all of your scuba gear. A must is being confident in a controlled descent and ascent. You should also be able to control your buoyancy and manage your air consumption. These may seem like basic skills, but they should be mastered before thinking about diving in Raja Ampat.

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Often Gangga Divers will start with shallower easier dives to get divers used to the currents when they arrive in Raja Ampat. Some of these starter sites are Mioskun, Manta Sandy, Fansisco’s Peak, Fam Island, and Frewin Island.

A few of the no-go sites for less experienced divers would be Mike’s Point, Cape Kri, Sardine Reef, and Blue Magic.

Are You Ready for Raja Ampat?

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Raja Ampat is remote and takes some planning to get to, not to mention the cost of a trip. If you feel you might need to get some more dives under your belt before you book a trip to Papua Paradise Eco Resort, you might want to first look at one of Lotus Hotels other resorts.

Villa Almarik in Gili Trawangan, Lotus Bungalows in Bali and Gangga Island Resort & Spa all have Gangga Divers centres and offer a wider range of beginner dives. You can also book combination trips for more than one resort, so Raja Ampat could be your second stop in Indonesia.

Can Beginner Divers Dive in Raja Ampat?

Let us know in the comments below if you’re still unsure whether you’re ready to dive in Raja Ampat or not. We can answer your questions and also give you advice on how non-divers can also have a great time at Papua Paradise.

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How Tourism Actually Helps Marine Conservation in Raja Ampat Tue, 05 Mar 2019 09:19:45 +0000 Raja Ampat is a remote part of Indonesia in the province of West Papua. Over the past decade, research has shown this area to be one of the most biodiverse in the world and has become an incredibly popular holiday destination for divers. Because of this, access has become easier with more flights, boats and homestays and resorts opening. This may seem like a negative thing for Raja Ampat, but in fact, it is proving to be just the opposite.

The Growth of Tourism

How Tourism Actually Helps Marine Conservation in Raja Ampat

In the not so distant past Raja Ampat was a nickel mining area. No tourists visited and the Indonesian government had no interest in the area for anything other than mining. Local people also fished for a living, sometimes by destructive methods.

However, as scuba divers and marine biologists began to travel to the more remote eastern parts of Indonesia, they discovered the absolute wonder of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity. It was soon realized that Raja Ampat was far more important to marine conservation than anyone had ever thought and agencies like Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Nature Conservancy started to move in.

How Tourism Actually Helps Marine Conservation in Raja Ampat

Now, especially with social media and online articles so easy to access, divers and also non-diving travelers dream of visiting Raja Ampat for its stunning views, breathtaking array of flora and fauna both above and below water, and also its unique culture.

Keeping Tourism Eco-Friendly

How Tourism Actually Helps Marine Conservation in Raja Ampat

As we’ve been seeing more and more over the past few years, beautiful places can be destroyed by mass tourism. Often infrastructure and laws are lacking and leave areas open to environmental problems like lack of waste disposal, overcrowded roads and damage to marine life.

Thankfully in Raja Ampat local rules, government intervention, and help from non-profit conservation organizations began early in the tourism ‘boom’ and have minimized any damage that tourism causes.

How Tourism Actually Helps Marine Conservation in Raja Ampat

In fact, the influx of tourists has had an incredibly positive effect on the environment. This can be seen in resorts like Papua Paradise Eco Resort where guests come from all over the world specifically to see the beauty of the area without making a negative impact on the environment.

How Tourism Has Saved Raja Ampat

Saving Raja Ampat’s Marine Biodiversity

Local people in Raja Ampat have a great respect for their surroundings, but they are also generally poor and need to feed and clothe their families. Destructive fishing methods, building tourism facilities, mining and drilling for oil are all pretty quick and easy ways to make money. This is why local people needed to be educated and shown that their greatest resource was actually keeping the beautiful place they lived in as pristine and natural as possible.

Through numerous education programs about the eco-system of Raja Ampat, most people on the islands have been able to secure themselves a much better living than they would ever have had through other methods. They guide tours, work in guesthouses or resorts, show tourists their unique culture and arts, and work together with government and non-government agencies to protect their precious home.

Fam Islands Raja Ampat Tours

Of course there is still work to be done but with the local people on the side of the government and conservation teams, there is a much better chance of success.

If you’d like to learn more about what’s being done to preserve Raja Ampat read Saving Raja Ampat’s Marine Biodiversity

Visiting Raja Ampat

Diving Responsibly in Raja Ampat

When you visit Raja Ampat you will pay a Rp1 million fee to enter the Raja Ampat Marine Park. This is included in the price of your stay at Papua Paradise Eco Resort and is valid for one year. This fee goes towards conservation programs in the area.

You may also want to read our blog about Diving Responsibly in Raja Ampat.

What do you do to keep your trips to areas like Raja Ampat as eco-friendly as possible? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat Tue, 19 Feb 2019 08:42:52 +0000 Diving in the Raja Ampat archipelago is magical enough in the daytime, but just imagine what it’s like at night. Each night the sea around Papua Paradise Eco Resort comes alight with a bioluminescent show of light and fluorescent colours. Not many people are lucky enough to dive with such incredible beauty. If you would like to be one of those fortunate divers, read on to learn more.

What is the Purpose of Bioluminescence and Florescence?

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

Marine biologists have studied bioluminescence for decades. They have found that marine organisms use their fascinating capability to ‘light up’ in a number of ways.

We generally see bioluminescence triggered by organisms being disturbed by movement of the sea, other animals or boats. However, they also show their lights to attract a mate or in response to an attack. Certain fish also use their light to attract pray, sometimes dangling it in front of their mouth like a lure.

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

It’s also notable that bioluminescent organisms can be found in any depth of water but are most common in the deep sea. This indicates that marine creatures use bioluminescence as a form of communication.

Florescence seems to have similar reasons to bioluminescence, but even less is certain about the process. Some marine biologists believe there are symbiotic relationships between the zooxanthellae (algae) that give corals their bright colours. It’s also possible the florescence is a type of sunlock, protecting marine organisms from sun damage.

What Might you See in Raja Ampat?

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

You don’t have to search out bioluminescence and florescence in Raja Ampat. Corals, sea fans and anemones that are so beautifully vibrant in the day, become fluorescent in the nighttime.

You will probably also witness the glow worms Odontosyllis enopla flickering bright green. They use their flashing lights to attract mates. Many reef fish including gobys, cardinalfish and goatfish also fluoresce at night.

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

However one of the most interesting bioluminescent creatures found in Raja Ampat is the bobtail squid. The squid itself isn’t bioluminescent but has a specialized organ on its body where the bioluminescent bacterium V. fischeri live. This symbiotic relationship keeps the bacteria fed with sugars and amino acids and stabilizes the squid’s circadian rhythm and keeps it safe from predators.

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

Simplifying the Glowing Seas

This is a very simplified explanation of what is happening in the seas by night. There have been in depth studies into all kinds of bioluminescence and florescence and still nothing is 100% certain. However, what we do know for sure is that there is nothing more breathtaking than diving at night with marine organisms glowing all around you.

Magical Night Diving in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is one of the best places in the world to experience this due to the lack of ambient light, excellent visibility, and the low density of divers at most dive sites.

If you’d like to arrange a night dive with Gangga Divers at Papua Pradise Eco Resort, you will be able to book upon check in. How do you feel about night diving? We’d love to know in the comments below.

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