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.
The highlight of the area, the record breaker (a couple of dozens of new species of fish, and another couple of newly found coral species…and we are just starting…), so far the star of the show is the recently found Epaulette shark, the only known shark which walks on its pectoral fins. It has over 20 dive sites; the soft corals are as good as in Misool area. The black coral forest never seems to end and the reefs are boiling with life. All kind of colourfull fish move around, new species of wrasses and gobies fight to introduce themselves to the divers. The topography is varied, bommies, some caves and a few hard corals. In places like Bat Cave and Little Komodo giant groupers are hiding under the rocks. In Little Komodo and 7th Heaven everything can be experienced.
But Triton Bay is more than that. There are more reasons to come to this remote area: the landscape is gorgeous, ancient paintings decorating caves and the village of Lobo is a friendly place surrounded by a 1000 metres high cliff…
Not enough?? What about enjoying the resident pod of pilot whales? Yes, we know you like to take some macro shots and do some muck diving, well, here is the biggest difference with Misool, we can regularly find critters and some dives are just perfect for that: pygmies (denise and bargibanti), nudies, devil scorpion fish, wonder puss, frog fish, leaf fish, ornate ghost pipe fish… Certainly not to be missed!
How to Dive Triton
At the time of writing, liveaboards are the only viable option we recommend to visit the dive sites of Triton Bay. Itineraries with Triton Bay often also include Raja Ampat and/or the Banda Sea.
Those liveaboards that visit Triton Bay schedule the trips during the main Raja Ampat diving season – October to April. Outside of that time the winds and rain can cause unpleasant conditions. At this time some liveaboards choose to visit more sheltered spots in the area such as Cenderawasih Bay.
West Papua experiences 2 wet seasons, namely November/December and July/August. Rain is a possibility in West Papua not only in rainy season. Water temperatures tend to remain reasonably constant: from 27°C (May to October) to 30°C (November to April)
How to get there:
- Triton Bay Divers is located on Aiduma Island, 30 nautical miles from the town of Kaimana in the Indonesian province of West Papua. Journey time from Kaimana to Aiduma approximately 90mins speed boat ride.
- There are daily flights from Jakarta (transit Ambon) to Kaimana (KNG), West Papua.
- If traveling from Sorong, there are flights via Fak Fak on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. All other days you fly via Ambon.
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