THE PASSAGE IN RAJA AMPAT
Departure time: 8:00am
Return time: 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 when he was travelling through the narrow passage between Waigeo and Gam Island as the first westerner in 1860.
Following the footsteps of Wallace we explore this winding waterway with its beautiful mushroom islands, where seemingly time has stood still since the early explorer passed through the area all those years ago.
Departing after breakfast we head to the western tip of Gam Island. Our first dive & snorkel sit is Citrus Ridge, named so for it’s brightly coloured orange and yellow corals. Here snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy the sight of schooling barracuda Lionfish, Angelfish, Turtles, beautiful soft corals and bommies, delightful Pgymy Seahorses plus much more.
From here we enter the Hidden Bay; on of Raja Ampat’s gems. With a narrow entrance easy to overlook, 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!) before stopping and a small isolated jetty for our morning tea/coffee break.
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. Resembling a river flowing between the two islands, 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; and underwater an abundance of soft coral and unique marine ecology exists. The current can be quite like a roller coaster, but along the ride 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.
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!