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Scuba Diving Raja Ampat - How do the moon phases affect scuba diving?

New Moon In Raja Ampat
Yann @yannsebastianharz

The moon can indirectly influence scuba diving through its gravitational pull, which causes ocean tides. Tides are the rising and falling of sea levels caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun on Earth's oceans.

How does this affect the dive planning?

Overall, while the moon itself doesn't have a direct impact on scuba diving, its gravitational influence on tides can indirectly affect various aspects of the diving experience. Divers need to be aware of these effects and trust professional dive guides for their recommendations of dive sites based on their level. Our dive guides want each diver to enjoy their time underwater by being safe and comfortable. Raja Ampat has a huge selection of dive sites and by trusting our local knowledge, you will have time of your life over here.

Currents: The changing tide levels due to the moon's gravitational pull can create currents in the water. During the Full moon and new moon, you will have creater currents in the area.

We have dive sites that require to use of reef hooks, and dive guides rather help you hooking you into the correct place, to maintain your safety while you levitate in the current. We give a briefing on how to use it but it’s better for first-timers to be communicative about their ability to dive with currents while using the reef hook.

Raja Ampat has all year-round currents, during the full moon and new moon you will experience stronger currents, by the high tidal changes. The strongest currents during the new moon and full moon phases are typically experienced around the time of high tide and low tide. During high tide, water movement can be more intense as the tide pushes water into a certain area. During low tide, water rushes out as the tide recedes, creating currents that can be challenging for some of the scuba divers.

The impact of the moon phase on currents can vary depending on the specific dive site. Some dive sites might be more influenced by tidal currents, while others might be sheltered from strong currents due to natural features like reefs or underwater structures. Diving in stronger currents requires more advanced diving skills and experience. If you're a beginner or have limited experience with current diving, it's recommended to choose dive sites that are known for milder currents or to dive with a knowledgeable guide.

Marine Life Activity: Some marine creatures, particularly those that are tide-dependent, might exhibit different behavior during different phases of the tidal cycle. Divers might witness changes in the activity and movement of marine life based on the changing tides influenced by the moon. We always want to have some currents to be able to see big creatures and lots of fishies. We do a current check before each dive and change the location if the currents are too strong for our divers to enjoy their time. Too strong or not enough current, you will have less fishy dive.

Safety Considerations: Strong tidal currents can present challenges for divers, especially if they are not experienced in dealing with current diving.

We take people's wishes into count when we do dive planning for our divers, we want everyone to enjoy Raja Ampat. The name of the dive sites aren’t important, our dive planning is based on tidal changes that change every day.

Every diver has a different level of handling currents, so it is best to respect the ocean and trust your guides while doing your first dives with us, in this way, we are able to know your level and comfort of currents and it is easier for us to make planning for you for the following dates.

If you are a beginner or not comfortable with strong currents, you should plan your holiday between the Full moon and the New moon to void the strongest currents. We think everyone can learn to dive with the currents and Raja Ampat is a very good place to learn to dive with currents, if you trust our local knowledge by choosing the best dive sites for you.

New Moon Raja Ampat Kri Island
Yann @yannsebastianharz

New moon

Scuba diving during a new moon, when the moon is not visible from Earth, also comes with its own set of considerations and potential challenges.

Marine life: During the new moon phase, when there is minimal moonlight, certain marine life species tend to be more active due to the darker conditions.

Many nocturnal predators become more active during the new moon, as the absence of moonlight provides them with better cover for hunting. Animals like sharks, barracudas, and moray eels might venture out in search of prey.

Night diving in New Moon

The absence of moonlight during a new moon results in darker conditions at night dives. charged and in good working condition.

During the tidal changes, we plan our night dives in the location which are covered by the currents. Just behind our dive center on the other side of the island, there are famous dive sites called Yenbuba jetty which provides a unique and memorable experience and have huge biodiversity of marine life. It's important to prioritize safety and these dive sites will make your night dive experience wonderful.

During the new moon period, you have a higher change to witness the famous blue ring octopus. Octopuses are more active during the night, and their increased activity could be accentuated during the new moon.

Blue Ringed Octopus In Raja Ampat
Blue-Ringed Octopus

Night diving in a new moon phase you will see the bioluminescent dinoflagellates which is an incredibly enchanting and otherworldly experience. Bioluminescent dinoflagellates are microscopic organisms that emit light when disturbed or agitated, creating a mesmerizing display of underwater light.

Like in any night dive stay vigilant and focused on your surroundings. Maintain proper buoyancy control and avoid disturbing the environment, as reduced visibility can make it easier to inadvertently damage sensitive marine life.

Full Moon In Raja Ampat
Yann @yannsebastianharz

Full moon

Creatures During the full moon phase, when there is ample moonlight, certain marine life species might exhibit increased activity due to enhanced visibility and illumination. Some marine creatures, such as certain types of fish and sea turtles, rely on moonlight for navigation during their migrations. They might be more active during the full moon when moonlight aids their journeys. Some marine species time their reproductive activities to coincide with lunar cycles, including the full moon. Coral spawning events, for example, often occur during specific moon phases.

Night dives Scuba diving during a full moon can present both benefits and challenges, much like diving during other lunar phases. A full moon can provide extra natural light to the underwater environment, enhancing visibility during night dives. This can make it easier to see marine life and underwater features. During the full moon period, we choose our night dive location with care, we choose the locations like Yenbuba, Ransiwor, and Warahnus dive sites to void big currents during your night dive.

Dive Planning:

Dive planning during the new moon and full moon phases requires careful consideration of the unique conditions presented by each lunar cycle. Our professional dive team will plan the best dive sites for you based on your level of diving stronger currents. Be honest about your diving skills and experience. Diving in strong currents requires advanced buoyancy control, navigation, and awareness. If you're a beginner, opt for dive sites known for milder currents. Being communicative underwater and land with the team ensures the best Raja Ampat experience.

We always prioritize safety. If you're unsure about the conditions or your ability to handle strong currents, or the dive guides recommend you different dive site than your wish, best to trust our team members' local knowledge. Raja Ampat and Soul scuba divers offer multiple dive sites and each of the dive sites is as good as the other when you time it well. Don’t dive the dive site names, trust our knowledge and follow the flow ;)

Regardless of the lunar phase, thorough dive planning involves a local understanding of tidal patterns, currents, local conditions, and our divers diving capabilities. Prioritize safety, consult with our dive guides, and tailor your dive plan to match your skill level and comfort in managing currents. Remember that each dive site is unique, so research and preparation are key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

Beginner planning to dive into Raja Ampat

We think everyone can dive in Raja Ampat, it is a good practice ground for divers to learn how to dive within stronger currents.

For beginners, it's advisable to plan your dive holiday between the new moon and full moon, this way you will have the best advantage to learn step-by-step diving with stronger currents.

Scuba diving in Raja Ampat, you have good visibility all year around, and as mentioned before we have a huge selection of dive sites suitable for every level.

If you're interested in exploring dive sites with stronger currents, consider taking advanced diving courses that include current diving training. These courses can equip you with the skills and techniques needed to safely navigate currents. SSI specialty currents waves and tides or completing your advanced course with Soul scuba divers.

Moon Calendar for 2023 & 2024


New Moon

Full Moon

August 2023


31.8 Super Sturgeon Moon

September 2023


29.9 Harvest Moon

October 2023


29.10 Hunters Moon

November 2023


27.11 Beaver Moon

December 2023


27.12 Cold Moon

January 2024


26.1 Wolf Moon

February 2024


24.2 Snow Moon

March 2024


25.3 Worm Moon

April 2024


24.4 Pink Moon

May 2024


23.5 Flower Moon

June 2024


22.6 Strawberry Moon

July 2024


21.7 Buck Moon

August 2024


20.8 Sturgeon Moon

September 2024


18.9 Harvest Moon

October 2024


17.10 Hunters Moon

November 2024


16.11 Beaver Moon

December 2024


15.12 Cold Moon

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