BEST TIME TO VISIT RAJA AMPAT
Soul Scuba divers are open all year around (except Sundays, read more our previous blog post). Raja Ampat is located very close to equator line and this makes the weather comparable to high mountains. It is very hard to predict when it will rain or when it will be sunny. If you look into too much weather forecast from your app, you will discover that it rains every day all year round in Raja Ampat.
What people don't take into account is that there is more than 1500 islands in Raja Ampat and it covering area as big as 40,000 square kilometers.
Main island of Raja Ampat are "Four kings" Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool. Raja Ampat is rich on marine biodiversity which includes more than 600 species of hard coral, 1,700 species of reef fish, and numerous other marine animals such as sea turtles, manta rays, and sharks.
October to May you have a chance to witness reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) and giant Oceanic Manta rays (Manta birostris) and mobula rays. May to October we have better visibility, because there will be less liveaboards and less tourist around.
different weather condition
Why diving in rain it is amazing?
Fish are more active during and after rains, all the fishies are out from the reef so you have more fishy dives than in sunny days.
There are few reasons why fish is more active during rain,
Increases oxygen levels in the water
Cools down the water temperate which makes it refreshing for the fishes specially in our water +28 degrees all year around
Rain stirs up the food source and nutrients in the water which makes fishes more active on their feeding behaviors.
Ofcourse it effects tiny bit on the light but hey you cannot have everything right ;) You can rent a torch for dives which make it more interesting to see the true colors of the coral reef and different creatures. This will also change your focus from the big fishes and big school of fishies into coral reef living creatures that you might not notice while focusing bigger creatures. You will find how dense the coral reefs are with tiny small creatures that often less noticeable Read more about that on our previous blog Night dive
You can hear the beautiful sound of rain underwater and don’t forget to look up, it is very hypnotizing to witness different view of the rain. Rain would be silly reason to cancel your dives in the morning, you will get wet anyway.
Scuba diving in thunderstorm it is not recommended therefore we will postpone our dives until the weather clears out. Like mentioned before weather changes very fast and it is very unlikely that thunderstorm would last the whole day. Our staff members will keep the spirit up while we are waiting in the dive center for the weather to pass. We haven't had any days when we need to cancel diving for the weather reasons.
Everyone who comes here to dive with us are on holidays and everyones wish is to have sunny all day all year around. In fact when it is partly cloudy people enjoys much more specially when we go to do land activities in our adventure trips. Don't worry you still get your tan even its cloudy ! You don't want to be called at "bule goreng" ( fried tourist). If its cloudy and rainy in the morning, you shouldn't be worried about it. Normally it will clear out in an hour or so. Example when we have Piaynemo trip planed and it is rainy, we still start to head towards to Piaynemo (it is one hour away from Kri island). If it looks stormy or too windy when we pass Arborek, we can always change the plan to dive around Arborek that has many beautiful dive sites also (Manta cleaning stations are near to Arborek island).
When you dive with us more than one week, you will have better change to tick of your wishlist dive sites. Read more about our previous blog two week stay.
How to prepare yourself in different weather conditions before coming here
Rain/wind proof jacket
For the surface interval you can bring your rain jacket, its also a good idea to bring jacket to the boats for our adventure trips for the longer travel time to be protected from the wind. Our boats has a net system in the roof so you can storage your dry bags and small bags in there.
Sunglasses, hat and reef safe sunscreen
Sense the weather is changing fast in Raja Ampat it might seems in the morning it will be cloudy day, don't be tricked. Most of the days sun will rise through the clouds.
Why people is talking about low season ?
Most of the people come here during October-May to dive with Manta rays, this is the peak season for Raja Ampat and our water gets very busy with liveaboards and divers. Some of the dive sites aren’t that enjoyable and as we are local dive center we know how to avoid the crowds.
Manta rays comes to Raja Ampat during the “winter’ months for holidays and their using the cleaning station to get their parasites to be clean like in the Spa. Rich plankton flow attracts the mantas to several cleaning station around the Raja Ampat. Our popular cleaning station sites are; Manta ridge, Manta slope, Manta Sandy, Lao Lao and Blue Magic. Avoid the crowds and plan your holiday in "off season", plankton flow is less which means our visibility is +50 meters during May - October.
How we plan our dives
Raja Ampat is knows for its strong currents, area between Waigeo and Batanta is called Dampier straight. Soul scuba divers are based in Kri island which is between these two main islands, middle of Dampier straight.
Dampier straight area has challenging currents and you need to keep this in mind when planning to come to dive in Raja Ampat. Saying this you need to be very careful when doing water activities. Our professional team will guide you around safely while scuba diving and will give you tips where you can snorkel around Kri island. Soul scuba divers provide SMB and reef hooks part of the scuba diving equipment. Our dive guides will assist you if you haven't used one before
How we plan the best dive plan for you
Trusting Soul scuba divers as a guides around Raja Ampat and dive planning, you will have safe diving while experiencing the best dive sites in the world. We are planning our dives based on tidal changes, people wishes and divers ability to handle currents (certification or number of dives don’t really mean much over here).
Saying this we want to know all of our divers in an easier dive sites first, to have an idea which dive sites are suitable for your level of handling currents. Easy dive site don't mean that you don't see amazing creatures. We have a privilege location to be near by all the famous dives sites. We will take everyones wishes into count, if you are patient with your wishes, we will take you in the dive sites when the conditions allows us. We are checking the current's at the surface before each dive sites to make sure the dive site is suitable for our guest's. For beginner divers Raja Ampat is good place to learn how to dive with strong currents. We will start with easier dive sites (like with everyone), taking you step by step for more challenging dive site depending on your comfort level. Being communicative with your guides underwater and inland makes everyones dives more enjoyable. We don’t want to anyone to have a bad time underwater. Read more in our previous post Beginner can dive in Raja Ampat