26 March - 5 April 2021
Dive into one of the world’s most breath-taking coral reef ecosystems with Dr. Simon Pierce, MMF co-founder and principal scientist, and Dr. Elitza Germanov, senior scientist for MMF’s Indonesian research and conservation program.
This expedition can take a maximum of 14 guests. All prices are in USD per guest and based on double occupancy.
Master cabins: $6,800 [4 cabins avail.]
Double cabins: $6,600 [2 cabins avail.]
Twin cabin: $6,500 [1 cabin avail.]
> 11 day / 10 night liveaboard cruise on the MV Coralia
> Up to four dives a day (air or nitrox)
> All meals and snacks, everyday
> Hot and cold soft beverage selection
> Tanks, weights, belts
> Transfers to and from Sorong
> Presentations from Dr. Elitza Germanov and Dr. Simon Pierce
> International or domestic flights
> Sorong accommodation
> National park and port fees (~$250 pp)
> Dive courses
> Dive gear rental *
> Alcoholic beverages **
> On-board massages
> Use of on-board satellite phone
> Encouraged gratuity
> Travel insurance ***
* Included for returning Coralia or Papua Explorer
** Guests can bring alcohol without corkage fees
*** Dive insurance required, general travel insurance is
Indonesia’s waters are home to iconic marine habitats and World Heritage Sites featuring the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity – with a Conservation International status of ‘megadiverse'.
We look forward to sharing our unique perspective and
in-depth knowledge of the area with you, as we explore the truly magical underwater world of Raja Ampat.
PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM AND A TEAM MEMBER WILL BE IN TOUCH
Introducing your expedition guides
Dr. Elitza Germanov | Senior Scientist, Manta Ray Program
Dr. Germanov started MMF's work looking into the harm of plastics – particularly microplastics – on manta rays and whale sharks. Her work has been focused within the coral triangle in the Philippines and Indonesia. She has resided in Indonesia for the past 10 years clocking 100s of dives in the biodiverse waters. She is also the scientific advisor to Yayasan Megafauna Laut, an Indonesia registered charity concerned with studying megafauna populations, their health and their impact from anthropogenic threats.
Dr. Simon Pierce | MMF Co-Founder
Dr. Pierce founded MMF’s flagship research program on whale sharks, and is a world expert on the species. Simon works globally on whale shark conservation issues, and led the most recent IUCN Red List assessment that classified whale sharks as endangered. He is also a scientific advisor to the online global whale shark database, and regional co-chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.
We are excited to welcome you on board this expedition of a lifetime, as we explore the waters of Raja Ampat, home to the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world.
The Raja Ampat Regency covers over 40,000km2 of land and sea and features more than 1,500 islands, with biodiversity levels considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Triangle. With an abundance of marine life, you will be diving alongside 1,350 species of fish, six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, 27 varieties of marine mammal and large populations of both manta ray species.
Our research teams have been monitoring manta rays in Raja Ampat for the last five years in a bid to enhance conservation efforts for these gentle giants. We look forward to sharing our unique perspective and in-depth knowledge of the area with you – one of the only locations in the world with virtually guaranteed sightings of both reef and giant manta rays.
The expedition will start and end in Sorong from where we will transfer to the Waisai regency.
The MMF research team has been studying manta rays around the Dampier Strait for over five years. We will seek both reef and giant manta rays as this is the peak season in the region. We’ll visit the best manta cleaning stations and feeding grounds in the area and have the opportunity to dive at the most exciting locations for other species such as Cape Kri, Mayhem, Sawandarek Jetty, Sardine’s Reef, and Blue Magic.
Raja Ampat is one of the only locations in the world with large populations of both species of manta ray
We aim to showcase the diversity of life and ecosystems within these seascapes while heightening your experience with our scientific insights. There’ll be opportunities to genuinely explore the area, including unique mangrove dives and drift snorkels through dynamic reefs that thrive in currents. You will be provided with equipment and guidance to enjoy the thrilling currents in a relaxed manner.
A visit to Raja Ampat wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Wayag. Uninhabited, and incredibly picturesque, Wayag Island is an icon of Raja Ampat. Covering a total area of 155,000 hectares, Wayag is known for its beautiful atolls and extraordinary underwater life, including a reef manta ray nursery. Breathtaking at every turn, we’ll find pristine beaches and unique Karst islands that resemble mushrooms sprouting from the sea. The hike to Wayag peak will surely be a highlight!
While in the north, we will also visit Kawe, diving the famed Eagle Rock and Black Rock, home to even more manta rays, sharks, and game fish. The soft corals bloom in a variety of vibrant colors in this region and the currents support abundant life. We’ll also aim for a world-class night dive at Aljui Bay, where we will hunt for enigmatic critters such as ghost pipefish and little-known octopus.
We’ll have the opportunity to explore the gorgeous palm-lined islands and limestone formations in the region around Penemu and the Fam islands. The blacktip reef sharks and schooling fish that frequent Melissa’s Garden ensure this is a memorable dive.
We will then head to the far reaches of Raja Ampat with a visit to the southern sections of Misool. This community-protected region explodes with life, with some of the world’s healthiest and colorful coral reefs. Here we will seek out reef and giant manta rays, and their smaller relatives, the devil rays.
This region has extraordinary pelagic life, including game fish, sharks, gigantic fish schools, and great macro life such as pygmy seahorses and unusual nudibranchs. Misool has an abundance of stunning dive sites, private bays for kayaking and paddle-boarding, and calm anchorages where we can dine under the stars. We like to allow ourselves to linger for several days to dive as much as possible and explore the beautiful area with its iconic karst limestone formations before returning to the Dampier Strait region.
* This is a suggested schedule and one that has worked well for us in the past. Opportunistic changes in this schedule or itinerary due to conditions, animal movements or unpleasant weather will be made at the discretion of the captain, the cruise director and the dive expedition leaders.
YOUR EXPEDITION VESSEL AND DIVING
Introducing the new liveaboard MV Coralia, your vessel for this MEGA Expedition – one of the finest boats in the region and recently voted the World’s Best Liveaboard! A classic wooden Phinisi, the MV Coralia was built specifically for dive liveaboards with a commitment to conserve the surrounding environment. Aboard Coralia you will be well taken care of by the dedicated local crew, with a 1:1 staff-guest-ratio. This 48-meter schooner is ideal for travel through the Raja Ampat archipelago.
There are eight spacious cabins, all large and air-conditioned, with modern amenities and ensuite bathrooms. Warm freshwater showers, towels and hairdryers are available in every room. The four luxurious master cabins on the main and upper deck all have large wrap-around windows and private balconies, with a sofa and sun chair, for checking out the scenery and sunsets. Housekeeping staff will make up your cabin daily, and also do a turn-down service in the evenings. A laundry service is also available onboard.
But you shouldn’t stay in the cabin! The expansive main and upper decks each feature outdoor dining and leisure areas, with plenty of sofas and loungers, to enjoy the spectacular views, eat, sunbathe or simply relax.
Get even more relaxed with a massage at the spa on the top deck, or cool down in the air-conditioned lounge and restaurant on the main deck. There's a fish ID library here, and free WiFi is available whenever there is local cell phone data reception.
The food is great! Both Indonesian and international dishes are freshly prepared by a qualified chef, with vegan and vegetarian options available. From early breakfast, before the first dive, followed by second breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack and dinner, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
As a specialist diving vessel, the Coralia has full equipment, a massive dive deck with warm showers, a private changing room, a dedicated air-conditioned camera room for photographers, and a choice of (free) nitrox or air fills. After night dives you’ll get warmed up with some hot chocolate and warm towels. Rental gear is available (booked in advance) if you prefer not to travel with dive paraphernalia.
We’ll be diving in small groups from two dive tenders, with one dive guide accompanying up to four guests. The dive team consists of Coralia’s two experienced cruise directors, who are also PADI instructors, and three dive guides. Detailed briefings are held in the restaurant while equipment is set up by the friendly crew. If you’d like to continue your dive education, all sorts of dive courses and specialities can be conducted over the trip.
Feel like a break, or not a diver? No worries at all. Raja Ampat isn’t just a paradise underwater. We’ll be visiting secluded islands, awe-inspiring panoramic viewpoints, hiking and birdwatching. There are stand-up paddle boards and kayaks available for exploration, or just enjoy relaxing on this luxurious vessel in spectacular tropical seascapes.
In the evenings there’ll be night dives available at some sites, or Elitza and Simon will be giving presentations about their latest marine biology discoveries. Simon is a professional photographer and will be offering photography tutorials, presentations and advice throughout the trip. There’ll be plenty of time to simply chill out, chat, go through your photos or take in the night sky too.