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Dampier Straits dive sites

With 30 dives sites within a 10-km radius of Kri and Mansoar islands and another dozen at least within range of the day boats. There are too many dive sites to list all of them. Below is a little taster of what you can see.

Cape Kri

At the Northeast point of Kri island the currents sweep into a channel between Kri and the small island of Koh. At this point beneath waters churning in the current, huge schools of big-eye trevallies, barracudas and snappers can be seen hanging over the drop off. At the base of the reef at 38 meters an ancient snagged anchor rests next to a bommie with a dense school of banded sweetlips. A large shallow coral garden crowns the reef top with blacktip reef sharks patrolling amongst the overlapping maze of hard corals with feeding hawksbill turtles. Car-sized Queensland groupers down to the diminutive ever-present pygmy seahorse can be seen on this phenomenal and always-surprising dive site! Dawn and dusk are feeding time so divers can experience this site at its awe-inspiring best.

Sardine Reef

Sardine reef is quite simply one of the best reef dives in the world, where divers witness the phenomenal diversity of Raja Ampat in full force. Where the current strikes this offshore reef and splits, a dazzling array of fish congregate, swarming fusiliers spin audibly above, pursued by giant trevallies, packs of bluefin jacks and Spanish mackerel. Batfish can gather in their hundreds, while multitudes of schooling bannerfish feed in the current. Grey reef sharks, blacktips and whitetips can also be seen along with the wobbegong waiting in ambush on the sea floor. Coral bommies dot the slope covered with many colourful species of dendronephthya soft corals and up to three separate species of pygmy seahorse can be found amongst them. On the current-swept reef top a resident school of thirty massive bumphead parrotfish crunch on the coral, keeping the divers company on a safety stop, who hang from their reef-hooks like kites in the wind. Upon surfacing, many divers comment that this is the best dive they have ever done!! Photographers love this dive site and have to return to change from wide angle to macro! The occasional Giant Manta also glides past on the way to the cleaning stations at Blue Magic.

Manta Sandy

If the many reefs are not enough this area also boasts some of the best manta diving in the world! Nowhere else can offer reefs of such diversity along with a year round possibility of manta diving. There are two main manta sites just half an hour away. One, Manta Sandy, is a cleaning station where up to 10 mantas can be seen vying for a position above the two rocks where wrasses clean these giants. We get enormous 4 meter wide black mantas, looking like a negative photographic image, their gills are highlighted in white, along with the other more common white-bellied variety. Another site nearby, Manta Slope, mantas circle above in the sun while divers hook onto the reef while the current arcs overhead and down the steep slope below. Divers can be caught unaware while giant demonic-looking black mantas cruise by behind them. This trips out of our 10km range, but is offered once a week without any fuel surcharges!

Blue Magic

From 2 metres + Tawny Nurse Sharks to tiny 2cm Hippocampus Denise pygmy seahorses. The reef top is covered in hard coral with some big coral heads and some tabling Acropora corals well over three metres across. We can usually find one or 2 Wobbegong sharks here and often a sleeping Raja Ampat Epaulette shark (The Walking Shark). There is a resident school of Big eye trevallies and many large barracuda. Green turtles can be found here as well as Black Tips, White Tips and the occasional Grey Reef Shark. In season it’s a Giant Manta magnet with several cleaning stations on the 10-metre deep reef top. And if the big stuff bores you, there’s plenty of macro here, starting with pygmy seahorses. The magnificent dive ends with a blue water safety stop drifting over and away from the reef. One of my favourite dive sites anywhere in the world.

Mios Kon

10 minutes out – an island populated by thousands of flying foxes protects a shallow sloping reef named Mios Kon. Here hundreds of bluelined snapper school close to the shallow reef, large gorgonian draped bommies rise and wobbegong sharks lie in wait below for hapless fish to swim past their nose. Leaffish can be found at the secluded foot of the bommies and an ancient 1 meter+ gaint clam sits, almost a mini-reef in itself, soft corals cling to its shell, and scorpion fish in turn using them for cover. Flawless overlapping plate corals grow on the reef top where the newly discovered black pontohi pygmy seahorse can be found. Mios Kon is great dive site to escape from the exposed currents.

Fam Islands

90 minutes from Kri or Sorido, there are six different dive sites here with white limestone cliffs plunging in blue lagoons, fnatastic coral covered gardens and walls and deserted beaches for surface intervals and lunch. Arguably the best reefs of Raja Ampat.

The Passage

Between the islands of Gam and Waigeo, the underwater scenery is totally different. It feels like swimming in a river, looking up through the clear water at the overhanging trees, until you drift past a giant gorgonian fan and a couple of blacktips swim by.


General Dampier Straits diving videos




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