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juvenile harlquin, or many-spotted, sweetlips

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Tour, Oct, 2016 Trip Report

Raja Ampat 2016 trip report. Overcast and downright rainy at times, our snorkeling tour to Raja Ampat seemed like it might not be ‘one for the books’. I never mind being wrong in this regard! Our first few day, though rainy, consisted of spectacular snorkeling. Visiting our sites on the south side of Dampier Strait and around the Fam islands we were treated to excellent visibility, easy currents and magnificent reefs and fish action. Our walk up to the top of Penemu afforded us fantastic views of the maze of limestone islands that are sprinkled around Penemu.

Our time is Wayag left our guests breathless as we cruised amongst the narrow channels between bays of jungle-draped, mushroom-shaped limestone islands. The shallow water throughout the tiny archipelago produced many hues of blue and green that complimented the beauty of the islands. Many of our sites around Waigeo and Gam possessed some of the best visibility in recent memory and with the tides that seemed to always work in our favor, drew in massive schools of fish that hovered over techno-colored hard and soft corals. During one snorkel session we found three Raja Ampat epaulet sharks, along with the pewter angelfish, about a dozen nudibranchs (that helped contribute to our species count of 21 for the trip) and juvenile barramundi cod. Of course, I think most folks would say that the dugong we saw around Batanta was the highlight! It allowed us to get pretty close and didn’t swim off until it gave us a good look as well. Was this a trip for the books? Absolutely!

Raja Ampat never ceases to amaze us and our guests. Its stunning beauty and lush reefs are easily among the best in the world and we feel very privileged to be able to bring snorkeling enthusiasts to this wonderful place on planet earth. We look forward to our next visit to Raja Ampat in Feb 2017!

We’d like to thank the Sea Safari 8 and its crew, who were absolutely fantastic and we much appreciate their attention to all of us both in and out of the water.