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Diving in Cenderawasih Bay

West Papua, New Guinea Island

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...Highlights: whale sharks, manta rays, great macro life/ marine diversity...
...Cenderawasih Bay's diving environment: healthy reefs, wreck diving, beginner and advanced divers, off the beaten track...

The best known diving in the West Papua area is Raja Ampat, an archipelago surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. However, there is much more to this remote area of Indonesia as liveaboard operators and adventurous scuba divers are beginning to discover.

As liveaboard routes venture further east, the underwater treasures of Cenderawasih Bay reveal a great diversity of diving and a real sense of the pioneer spirit - of going where few others dare. Cenderawasih's marine diversity has earned it the name "The Galapagos of Indonesia's reefs" by none other than Dr Gerald Allen. As an indicator of biodiversity, the bay has 4 species of turtle: green, hawksbill, Pacific ridley and leatherback, as well as much sought-after marine mammals such as dolphins and dugongs. A vast array of reef fish and a wide variety of dive sites are further reasons why this region is up and coming at high speed. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions for Cenderawasih

Kwatisore Bay - The first thing everyone talks about in Cenderawasih Bay are the whale sharks of Kwatisore Bay, near the town of Nabire on the bay's southern coastline. There are several places in the world that offer an encounter with a whale shark and some that offer an encounter with more than one. However, nowhere really promises the same density of whale sharks in crystalline waters and on scuba. Show more

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How to Dive Cenderawasih

At the time of writing, liveaboards are the only viable option we recommend to visit the dive sites of West Papua and Cenderawasih Bay.

Note that it is also possible to combine a visit to Cenderawasih with a visit to Raja Ampat on the same cruise. This would be ideal if you want to visit both of these world class diving destinations of West Papua but do not have the time for 2 separate safaris.

For more information on the charter routes and durations, and all the other travel information you might need to visit Indonesia, check out our Cenderawasih Bay liveaboard section.

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Cenderawasih Bay Diving Season

Some Indonesian liveaboards visit Cenderawasih Bay from June to October. During the months of July to September, strong winds and rain can cause rough seas in the open areas of West Papua such as Raja Ampat. Liveaboards use this change in the weather to focus on more sheltered routes such as Cenderawasih. The famous whale sharks are present in the bay throughout the year.

The Papua provinces of Indonesia experience 2 wet seasons: - November/December and July/August, however, it might rain in Papua at any time, not only in rainy season. Water temperatures are relatively constant, varying from a low of around 27°C from May to October, up to a high of 30°C between November and April. For more on the climate and sea temperature in Biak, Cenderawasih, visit the Weather AtlasOpens in a new window.

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Where is Cenderawasih Bay and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of Indonesian Papua, showing the location of Cenderawasih, and its host country Indonesia. Here, you will find information on how to get to Cenderawasih Bay.

Map of Papua/West Papua (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Indonesia (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Currents: Moderate to strong
Surface conditions: Normally calm
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: Unknown, but >50
Recommended length of stay: 10 - 12 days

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Useful References

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