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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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April 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Misool Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

from the April, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

When divers talk about the world's best diving, Raja Ampat in Indonesia is often the topic. After all, this area off West Papua -- home to 1500 islands, cayes, and shoals -- contains more hard coral and fish species than in any other region -- 550 hard coral species and 1400 fish species. If there is any destination on your diver's bucket list, this should be it.

If you're a North American, it's a long way from home: two full days, plus or minus, to get there, and the same for returning home. Travelers from the East Coast often fly to Jakarta through Dubai or Istanbul, while from the West Coast, Seoul and Singapore are common non-stop options. From Jakarta, it's another two-hour flight. Most itineraries require an overnight somewhere in a hotel; even then, you'll arrive jet-lagged and out of sorts. So, at least 10-14 days at your destination makes sense, as does having a good travel agent to put it all together for you.

Whether you stay on land or hunker down on a liveaboard, you'll have differing dive experiences. In this issue, we'll feature both a liveaboard -- the Damai II -- and a resort, Misool Resort, as well as an article by our senior editor, John Bantin, who has dived the area four times, spending many weeks there.

Misool Resort

Misool ResortAfter my first backward roll into the waters of Misool, I was awed by the huge sea fans up to six feet high and wide. So abundant were the colorful sponges and soft corals, I felt like I was in an over-stocked flower shop. The schooling fish extended as far as the eye could see, which is rather far in the 50- to 75-foot visibility, in toasty 85-degree water....

Noted marine biologist Dr. Robert Erdmann (author of 214 scientific articles and science adviser for films by BBC and NatGeo) wrote about Misool: "There is greater diversity . . . . a larger number and greater diversity of fish, coral, and mollusks . . . . on these reefs than anywhere on earth. A single football field-sized patch of Misool's reefs has nearly five times the number of coral species as the entire Caribbean Sea."

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