the winding waterway of the passage between gam and waigeo island in raja ampat

Daytrip to the Passage between Gam Island and Waigeo in Raja Ampat

Departure time from the resort: 8:00am
Arrival time back at the resort: approx. 4:00pm
Time to first dive site: around 30 min.
Included: Morning snacks, drinks, boat ride, picnic lunch, village visit.
What to bring: Sun cream, a hat and camera.

“One of the most […] picturesque landscapes I have ever seen…”
is what Alfred Russel Wallace wrote. He was travelling through the narrow passage between Waigeo and Gam Island in Raja Ampat as the first westerner in 1860. Following the footsteps of Wallace we explore this winding waterway with its beautiful mushroom islands. Seemingly time has stood still since the early explorer passed through the area all those years ago.

West Gam Island and Hidden Bay

Departing after breakfast we head to the western tip of Gam Island in Raja Ampat.  Our first dive and snorkeling site is Citrus Ridge, named so for it’s brightly coloured orange and yellow corals. Here snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy the sight of various marine life. For example schooling barracuda, Lionfish, Angelfish, as well as Turtles. Further we find beautiful soft corals and bommies and delightful Pgymy Seahorses, plus much more.

From here we enter the Hidden Bay; on of Raja Ampat’s gems. With a narrow entrance it is easy to overlook. But once inside a long narrow channel with coral reefs and small sharks, finally split into a maze of rock islands and side bays. We wander through here for an extremely scenic cruise (definitely get your cameras out!). Afterwards we stop on a small isolated jetty for our morning tea/coffee break.

The Passage – A Unique Place in Raja Ampat

Heading off again, we then moved further north around Gam Island, and finally enter the most famous Passage.  This unique ecology feels unlike anywhere else in Raja Ampat. A narrow passage of water separates Gam and Waigo island, each side punctuated with rising limestone cliffs. It resembles a river flowing between the two islands. Accordingly, the nutrient rich waters that are drawn through at a rapid rate by the tides support a vast wealth of marine biodiversity. Above water the sheer limestone cliffs make this a place excessively beautiful. Likewise underwater an abundance of soft coral and unique marine ecology exists.

The current can be quite like a roller coaster! However, along the ride through this shallow channel divers and snorkelers may encounter Giant Trevally, Bumphead Parrotfish, maybe a Turtle or Shark, and if extremely lucky a manta ray or eagle ray might come flying by! For macro lovers and photographers – stick to the edges where the mangrove lined cliffs create yet another micro-ecology of sponges, critters, Archer Fish and more.

Lunchtime and a Scenic Way Home

Lunch follows, at an isolated homestay nestled at the foot of limestone cliffs covered in lush rainforests. From this location the emerald green waters sprout mushroom islands, and the water is calm and cool for a refreshing dip.

The boat ride back to the resort continues the loop around Gam Island, passing by a remote fishing village and of course the stunning scenery of the island itself. Upon arrival home, for those that still have the energy there’s time for a sunset or night dive!

Other Interesting Daytrips Offered by Papua Explorers