The Raja Ampat islands of Batanta, Waigeo, Salawati and Misool are now famous in scuba diving circles. Lying off the north eastern side of West Papua (or Irian Jaya as it was known in the past) most liveaboard itineraries focus on the very special dive sites around Batanta and Waigeo. However, heading further south there are equally impressive dive sites around Misool and along the coast of Western Papua near Triton Bay.
The north and south regions are surprisingly different to each other yet both are marked by stunning topside scenery. Beneath the water, the southern area is more about steep pinnacles and submerged reef mounds mobbed by huge – really huge – schools of fish.
The southern-most section of some liveaboard schedules involves diving off the West Papua coast with many sites inside coastal bays, including the stunning Triton Bay. Visibility tends to be lower than elsewhere, but the bonus is an outstanding number of large animals from reef sharks to Napoleon wrasse to manta rays. Soft corals, especially black corals, are prolific around these coastal regions.