The sample itinerary below highlights what you can expect on one of our cruises to Raja Ampat. Each cruise is unique; navigation and dive sites may vary slightly due to weather conditions and visibility.
DAY 1 | Embarkation in Sorong
We will pick you up either at your hotel or Sorong airport and take you to the harbor, where our crew will welcome you onboard Calico Jack. Following refreshments and a short tour of the ship, you will be briefed on safety, the diving operations, and life onboard. We will set sail at approximately 11 am (or when the last guest has boarded) and cruise through Sele Strait to reach the East of Misool, navigation of approximately 12 hours. This will allow you to get acquainted with the ship, set up your dive gear & cameras, and meet and socialize with the other guests and friendly crew.
DAY 2-6 | Southern Raja Ampat/Misool (16-18 Dives)
Misool is located South of Raja Ampat and is famous for its steep rocks with vertical walls, a profusion of soft, colorful corals, sea fans draped brilliantly over the reefs, and plenty of fish. The islands around East Misool are grouped by area. These are the areas you can expect to visit (weather permitting) and the most popular dive sites we frequent:
Balbulol (No Contest, Dangerous Kayak, Love Potion, Number 9, Pet Rock): Schools of Platax, snapper, and bump head parrotfish can be found at these dive sites, including barracudas and jacks surrounding the pinnacles. You will spend the night in the hidden lagoon, a very special anchorage inside a narrow bay enclosed by towering rocks. We will take the dinghies to explore another lagoon located further into the rocks. As night falls, you will see and hear the magnificent Palm Cockatoos roosting along the rainforest edges.
Daram (Candy Store, Warna Berwana, Andiamo): Andiamo is a large, stunning reef with a submerged pinnacle covered in sea fans and surrounded by schools of fusiliers and batfish. Blacktip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse can also be found here. Candy Store, named the first divers to explore this reef, felt like kids in a candy store, is covered in huge sponges, beautiful soft corals, and sea fans. In the valleys, schools of Fusiliers, butterflyfish, and barracuda gather.
Warokaraket/Boo Island (Shadow Reef, Jamur Boo, Yellit Kecil, or Besar) + Night Dive: Shadow Reef, also known as Magic Mountain, is one of the top-rated diving sites in Raja Ampat. An offshore pinnacle with a long and narrow ridge, shoals of bannerfish, pyramid butterfly, and yellow snappers can be seen cavorting on top of the ridge, persistently stalked by giant trevallies, orange-spotted jacks & longnose emperors. The ridge goes progressively down, with yellowtail barracudas patrolling the upper sector and white tip and grey reef sharks found nestled under the large coral tables. At the end of the peninsula is a cleaning station where oceanic manta rays come to be cleaned from parasites by wrasse and other reef fish.
Boo Rock or Jamur Boo is known for the “windows” or rounded openings on the end of an enormous rock that completely pierce the reef from the surface down to five meters deep. Although the two rocks appear separate from the surface, they are connected underwater by a magnificent reef draped in soft corals and brimming with fish. Reef sharks, parrotfish, surgeonfish, schooling batfish, fusiliers, snappers, and moray eels are all found here, as well as a wide variety of nudibranchs, unicornfish, octopus, and green turtles. Yellit Kecil’s (while sharing all of its neighboring sites) main characteristic is many Nembrotha nudibranchs that can be observed on the ridge.
Wayilbatan (Dunia Kecil, Barracuda Rock, Four Kings, Wedding Cake) + Night Dive: The Wayilbatan area offers impressive dive sites with a remarkable range of marine diversity topography. At Wedding Cake, schools of batfish, trevallies, barracuda, and pygmy seahorses congregate. You will have the opportunity to take in the scenic landscapes with some kayaking and paddle boarding amongst the most spectacular hidden lagoons in the region in the afternoon. Four Kings dive site is made up of four underwater pinnacles covered in soft coral and colorful tunicates. You can swim from one rock to the next, enjoying the soft corals, psychedelic colors, and abundant fish life. Be sure to look out for turtles here.
Yilliet (No Contest, Dangerous Kayak, Love Potion, Number 9, Pet Rock): In the early morning, we will take short navigation to dive into the Fiabacet area, where colorful soft corals and beautiful sea fans smother the reefs. A deep underwater ridge connects the islands of Boo in the East to Kalig in the West. In certain areas, the ridge moves up shallower to form the park’s incredible dive sites. These include Batu Kecil (also known as Tank Rock), Nudi Rock, and Whale Rock. Here you will find one of the most extensive reef systems in all of Raja Ampat, offering a fantastic range of marine diversity. You can expect to see abundant and healthy fish life, a galore of pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, colorful anemones, and reef sharks.
Wagmab (3 Rocks, Goa Farondi): Located 20 km from Misool Island, this islet of Farondi is a popular dive site in Raja Ampat due to its unique and distinctive landscape, which consists of tunnels, caverns, boulders, and colorful walls. The western face of Farondi Island has two large caves with a shallow reef and a dramatic cliff north of the headland. Here, a shallow garden of stony corals gradually becomes a sandy slope home to large gorgonian fans and Barbiganti pygmy seahorses.
Goa Besar, situated south of Farondi, consists of superficial shelved gardens of yellow-colored soft corals, wall tops blanketed with plate corals, leather corals, yellow and purple sea squirts, rounded hollows filled with coral shrubberies, sponges, and red ornamental ghost pipefish. Tunnels in the caves collide with green soft coral trees and sponges and house night-time snapper and sweetlips. Late in the afternoon after your third dive, we will depart North and set sail for an overnight cruise to Penemu Island; navigation of approximately 12 hours.
DAY 7 | Penemu (3 Dives)
Early in the morning, we will arrive at Penemu’s My Reef dive site, where you will enjoy one of the largest fish populations in the area. This site is awe-inspiring, mainly when the current is strong. After breakfast, you will dive Melissa’s Garden; the most well-known site in the region, famous for its extensive and healthy hard coral reefs, as well as Galaxy; a large reef with abundant marine life. In the afternoon, after your third dive, you will take a short boat tour to Penemu and walk up to the famous viewpoint above Penemu’s star-shaped lagoons. Here, you will have time to kayak and paddleboard amongst the incredible karst limestone landscape before sunset and dinner on board.
DAY 8 | Wofo (4 Dives)
We start the day with early navigation to the Wofo Island area, the most northern point of our cruise. Here, in the morning, you will dive at Wofo’s the Black Forest, a stunning dive traversing the deep black fan landscape rising to a beautiful and pristine shallow reef. The second dive is at Wofo Tembok (a wall dive) and finally Teman Wofo. The evening will be passed on the beach, experiencing one of Calico Jack’s famous beach BBQ parties, where the crew will entertain and socialize with you as you relax on our giant bean bags under a pagoda, explore the beach and meet the local hermit crabs.
DAY 9 | Gam (3 Dives)
An early morning’s navigation brings us to the stunning Mangrove Anchorage in the passage of Gam and Yangeffo. Here you will find some of the most spectacular dive sites in West Waigeo: Citrus Ridge, Mayhem, and Way Pretty Shallow. In the right conditions, you can expect some of the highest voltage diving in Raja Ampat, with currents bringing massive schools of barracudas, three species of Fusiliers, trevallies, batfish, bump head parrotfish, wobbegongs, as well as black and white tip reef sharks.
DAY 10 | Arborek (4 dives)
After waking within the mangroves, we will make the short journey to dive at Lalosi, a hard coral sea-mount with an incredibly diverse sea life range when the currents are strong. From here, we dive at one of the most reliable Manta ray congregation spots in all of Raja Ampat, the famous cleaning station, Manta Sandy. It is easy to spend a whole day observing these majestic creatures as they somersault through the water, feeding on plankton and being cleaned by several species of wrasse and butterflyfish. In the afternoon, we’ll make our way to Arborek in Dampier Strait, where you will visit the local village and see the traditional way of life for these island people before enjoying a night dive at the Arborek Pier. In the shallows, the posts at Arborek Pier are covered in soft corals, with pipefish and cuttlefish dwelling deeper below. On the reef, giant clams nestle among soft corals, providing shelter for hermit crabs, flatworms, and skeleton shrimp.
DAY 11 | Dampier Straight (2 Dive)
The final dive will be in the morning at Cape Kri, where you will discover some of the largest big fish concentrations in Raja Ampat. Large schools of trevallies, barracudas, bannerfish, sweetlips, tuna, and snappers congregate on these sites. Large grey reef sharks can also be seen. In the afternoon, we have time to relax on one of Kri’s stunning secluded beaches before sailing back to Sorong, where you will arrive later in the evening.
DAY 12 | Disembarkation in Sorong
After breakfast and the last exchange of photos and memories, the crew and Calico Jack will say our fondest farewells and transport you either to your hotel or airport.
Marine Life: At least 75 percent of all coral species can be found in Raja Ampat. Divers can expect a range of topography from soft corals and sea fans to hard corals, seagrass beds, mangroves, shallow reefs, deep drop-offs, caves, black sand, and white sand. Giant manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, cuttlefish, pipefish, various seahorse species, and massive schools of reef fish are the norm, plus the delightful wobbegong sharks and epaulet sharks inhabit these waters too.