Simply stated, Raja Ampat has some of the very best diving in the world, but with around 1500 islands, a land area of about 15,000 km² and a total area of around 40,000 km², it really is a big place and the reality is that you could dive “Raja Ampat” for months on end and still not see it all.
The Four Kings can be divided up into three distinct and quite different areas – starting with the Dampier Strait that separates the main islands of Gam and Waigeo in the north, from Batanta to the south.
But there is more to Raja Ampat than the Dampier Strait and the northern island of Waigeo offers some very interesting and quite different diving.
Waigeo itself and the area around the island of Misool in the south.
All three areas have one thing very much in common – currents…
Two words you will quickly learn in Bahasa Indonesia are “arus kencang” and you will hear them in the rapid interchange between the dive guides and the boat boys, as they discuss the practicalities of safely immersing a group of “bule’s” (slang for foreigners…) in the waters of Raja Ampat.
Arus kencang means strong current and the emphasis given to those two words will give you an instant insight in to what awaits you below.
The currents are the result of the Indonesian Throughflow as it makes its way through the Dampier Strait and the islands of Raja Ampat.
It is literally the very lifeblood of the area for its waters carry the rich nutrients from the deep basins of the Pacific Ocean to the north-west of Raja Ampat.
The amazing biodiversity of the area, and the currents that flow through it, are two sides of the same coin… and a basic understanding of this mechanism is the key to truly enjoying one of the best diving experiences there is.
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