Cenderawasih Bay Snorkeling
Cenderawasih Bay Snorkeling
Snorkeling in beautiful Cenderawasih Bay is on par with it's famous Indonesian counterpart, Raja Ampat. It is however far less visited and thus even more remote and unspoilt, resulting in a truly wild and pristine experience. The biodiversity is up there with many other world class locations, featuring the largest of all fish to the very smallest. A snorkel trip to Cenderawasih Bay will introduce visitors to an underwater world that people only dream of, with every colour imaginable, life so vibrant it has to be seen, and conditions more favourable than an aquarium. If you're considering a journey to or through Indonesia, make sure you consider this stunning region - it's off the beaten track but the secret is slowly seeping out!
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Marine Life In Cenderawasih Bay
Any snorkel tour to Cenderawasih Bay will give visitors the opportunity to swim with the full range of tropical reef life. With a keen eye, snorkelers may be able to spot some macro life as the likes of Pygmy Seahorses, Nudibranchs, Tiger Prawns and Sea Snakes are commonly seen in these waters. The richness of the area is showcased by the fact that 4 separate species of Turtles make the place their home - Green, Hawksbill, Pacific Ridley and Leatherback - which even in this world class marine environment is a treat!
Perhaps the main attraction and a particular reason why people come to snorkel in Cenderawasih Bay, is due to the Whale Sharks which are almost always seen. As opposed to other areas on the planet where these majestic creatures are normally seen alone, here they can be seen in high numbers, from young to old, making for a truly unique encounter.
Best Snorkel Sites In Cenderawasih Bay
Kwatisore is THE place in Cenderawasih to snorkel with Whale Sharks, and by Whale Sharks, I mean plenty of them! Over the years these friendly giants have been attracted to the fishing platforms of the local fishing villages where they have cleverly worked out where to get a regular meal. The photo opportunities are endless, as it's not uncommon for visitors to be in the water in and amongst the largest fish of them all for hours on end.
Further north exists the beautiful reef at Tanjung Mangguar, with a fabulous coral garden supporting a wide variety of reef fish and also attracting Manta Rays from time to time.
Snorkeling at Pulau Auri showcases some of the best coral formations in not just Cenderawasih Bay, but Indonesia as a whole. There's some gigantic fans, and all manner of hard and soft corals, giving great hiding places for critters such as lobsters and defiant boxer crabs. The visibility is really good, ensuring that any underwater photography enthusiast will be able to capture some great snaps.
Best Time To Snorkel In Cenderawasih Bay
Snorkeling in Cenderawasih Bay can produce a memorable experience at any time of year. Specifically, the regions's most famous inhabitant - the Whale Shark - can be seen annually. The area is relatively sheltered compared to Raja Ampat (which can be subject to strong winds and rougher seas during some months) making snorkeling conditions more favourable. The most popular time to visit is probably between June and October, but take the term 'popular' in it's loosest form, as Cenderawasih is almost always quiet and peaceful. Water temperatures are very pleasant, ranging from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius.
How Do I Get To Cenderawasih Bay?
Cenderawasih Bay is off the tourist trail, and takes some determination to reach! Having said that, it's completely worth the effort and if you've made it this far it's definitely a good idea to spend a few days exploring what's on offer underwater. Logistically it can be hard to know where to start and how to go about travelling in the region, and so a great choice it to visit this area on a liveaboard boat. These tend to depart from the ports of Manokwari, Biak or Nabire, each of which have small domestic airports that can be reached from the larger regional hubs of Ambon and Ujung Pandang. These in turn have good connections to the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta.