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Liveaboard Diving in Batanta
What To Expect On a Batanta Liveaboard
Liveaboards in Batanta are the best way to experience this diverse area. Batanta is the smallest of the four main islands of Raja Ampat in Indonesia and a divers paradise. These four islands are nicknamed ‘The Four Kings’ after an ancient legend that claims these islands’ four kings hatched from eggs. While Batanta might be slight in size, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago and a perfect addition to your Raja Ampat dive cruise.
The island is mountainous with lush rainforests along the sides of the mountains and divers on a Batanta liveaboard dive trip can hope to see some stunningly diverse wildlife in addition to the underwater wonders. Birdwatchers might spot sulphur-breasted cockatoos and birds of paradise. The island’s rainforest is also home to the beautifully coloured blue spotted tree monitor and wild boar. This really is a nature lover’s paradise which makes sailing in Batanta an all round amazing dive itinerary.
The island has a strait on both its northern and southern ends, these were both charted and the northern strait named by the explorer William Wilson in the 18th century. Wilson named the small channel of water Pitt after his own ship the East Indiaman Pitt. This stretch of water between Salawati and Batanta, and the Dampier strait to the West, are both protected zones for cetaceans. On your live aboard in Batanta will not only will you enjoy stunning dive tours, but also amazing scenery on land.
Batanta liveaboards are actually new to diving the area, as most liveaboard cruises previously did not really feel the difficulty of navigating the straits was worthwhile. The area experienced a real boom in diving in 2008 when Burt Jones and Maureen Shimlock explored the area and included it in their book about scuba diving in Raja Ampat.
The first thing you will notice about your Batanta dive cruise is that it differs greatly from the majority of the diving in Raja Ampat. The huge coral encrusted outcrops of other areas are instead replaced by dark black volcanic sand. When you first dive in Batanta might be a bit of an adjustment but when you get down there though, the sandy bottom comes alive.
There are critters all over in Batanta so Macro lovers should be on full alert for blue ringed octopus popping up from holes in the sand. Cuttlefish can come for a close-up too and if you keep a keen eye out there are frogfish camouflaging themselves on rocks.
Dive Sites of Batanta
Liveaboard boats in Batanta will hopefully visit Black Beauty dive site, which is inside of a nicely sheltered bay in what is otherwise a fairly choppy strait. The site has a sloping black sand bottom with a fair amount of flora growing on it. There is so much to see critter wise that liveaboards will often do several dives here so you can take it all in. Macro photographers could make a gallery of the varieties of pipefish from a just few dives in this bay and frogfish seem to be all over the place. The algae can make the visibility a little lower than other areas, but it should still be between 10 and 20 meters.
Just along the coast from Black Beauty, Happy Ending dive site has a similar topography with a black sand slope and hosts of critters. The water flowing into the bay from the nearby river means nutrient rich water but slightly lower visibility than other areas.
Top Tips for Divers
- The currents and river water that flow into the bays here can make the water a little colder than in other parts of Papua so bring extra thermal protection so you can stay down longer. Despite the slightly rougher conditions in the straits the dive sites inside the bays are very mild and suitable for beginners.
- Despite the slightly rougher conditions in the straits the dive sites inside the bays are very mild and suitable for beginners.
Getting to Batanta
At this time the best and only way to dive Batanta in Raja Ampat is by taking a diving liveaboard from the city of Sorong. Luckily Batanta is relatively close to Sorong which means you can be there within a few hours’ sailing. There are numerous diving liveaboards available from Sorong including customised motor yachts with luxurious accommodation. Also very popular in this area are the huge traditional Indonesian sailing boats. These sail boats offer an incredibly peaceful and authentic diving cruise while you enjoy Batanta.
Batanta Diving Reviews
- 9.5 Exceptional
- 4 Verified Reviews
Fans are huge and the coral fields very impressive. Never seen a Hump head Parrot fish before! They are huge individually so in a school were awesome.
Diving Batanta in October on the Mutiara Laut
Excellent dive sites. For me the most interesting was a dive where I was able to see a lot of mantas. Water was so warm that I was able to swim without a wet suite.
Diving Batanta in December on the Mermaid I