Wayag Island, Raja Ampat : The Ultimate Underwater Beauty
Wayag Island is one of the islands within the Raja Ampat district in the province of West Papua. The island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life covering a total area of 155,000 hectares (about 383,013.3 acres).
Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Along these beaches, tourists can see fairy tale panorama, more captivating than Leonardo DiCaprio’s getaway in “The Beach”. The crystal clear waters around Wayag Island appear like unreal windows to various types of flora and fauna that live underwater.
Wayag Island never ceases to amaze. Divers, especially, have been overwhelmed not only by the rich underwater displays, but also by the panoramic beauty of the island as they climb up to its highest platform and observe coves and atolls around. It is a dream come true, truly a dream fulfilled.
The island is 10 km north of the equator. Liveaboards are the best choice for travelers with a love for adventure and romance. Social contacts with other travelers will only be a call away. Dive briefings are enriching, so that just being there with other divers and the exotic looking staff, you will feel as if you are already drawn into the depths of Wayag’s surreal beauty
Atolls above the surface and vibrant colors of reefs and countless water species under the water are what Wayag Island has to offer before your very eyes. There is a species of fish called Kalabia, which is the welcoming ambassador of Wayag among the other sea creatures. If you have heard about Wayag Island rumored as having the best views both underwater and above, this is a fact, and not mere gossip.
In addition to Wayag Island, the Raja Ampat islands have also an amazing park of colorful coral reefs around Jef Fam islands, known as the Melissa’s Garden, a cluster of small rocky outcroppings surrounded by a large reef. Here are large clams as big as 1 meter hiding at the base of the rocks, Wobegong sharks lurking under the coral, more jacks and barracudas, schools of bumphead parrotfish, sea fans with camouflaging pigmy seahorse, they are all there around Kri island. A salt river separating Waigeo Island from Gam Island is rich with archer fish and countless species of goby. Photographers will never want to leave this area, which is also called The Passage. You can also see manta fish and the remains of an aircraft from World War II at Wai island.
When diving in the Dampier strait, tame manta rays and thousands of fish of various types will surely accompany your dive. Misool Island in the southern part of Raja Ampat is also known for its underwater beauty, atolls and caves of stalactites. If you want to take a break from diving, there are many other experiences to enjoy around Raja Ampat, from trekking and exploring, to visiting traditional villages. So its many wonders, in so little time.
Wayag Island is located in the West Waigeo area of the Raja Ampat Islands, northwest of the large island of Papua. Several connecting flights are needed to reach Papua. Then you must sail to Raja Ampat by boat.
First, fly to Sorong’s Domine Eduard Osok Airport, in West Papua. Sorong is the entry point and nearest city to Raja Ampat. There are several airlines to choose from Jakarta or Makassar to Sorong; e.g., Merpati Air, Express Air, and Lion Air.
For sea transportation, ships calling on Port Sorong are the Dorolonda, Labobar, Gunung Dempo, Sinabung, and the Tatamailau. Upon your arrival in Sorong, you can take a fast boat from the Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, the capital city of the Raja Ampat district. The journey takes around two to four hours. Then from Waisai you must take a longboat to Wayag which takes some six to eight hours. Rental of this longboat is about 6 million IDR (about US $550) per day.
Alternatively, you can hire a speedboat to take you straight from Sorong to Wayag for a five-hour journey. This will cost about IDR 9 million (about US $750 ) a day.
How to get around in Wayag Island actually depends on where you are staying. So, plan your trip carefully and decide where to stay. If you choose to stay in one of the resorts on one of the Raja Ampat Islands, you will need a boat to visit Wayag Island. But if you choose a liveaboard package, you just need to sit back and enjoy the breeze in your cabin and let the schooner pass the beautiful islands.
Liveaboard packages are a comfortable alternative, and you can find these boats in Sorong, or as far away as Bali which is their marketing hub and port for businesses offering dive packages. Some of the liveaboards are very luxurious, and some are unique and quite fantastic. The facilities are inclusive. Many agree that liveaboards are indeed the best alternative considering time and convenience. At around US$ 300 a day, this is actually good value for money. Liveaboards usually run 10 day cruises out of the port of Sorong, in West Papua.
It will not take a long time to travel around the unique beaches of Wayag Island. But it takes very good physical condition to enjoy the beautiful panorama from the top of an atoll, as you must climb the atoll’s steep walls for about 30 minutes.
A dinghy is probably the best means to go island hopping in a day. It is a beautiful interruption between your diving, sleeping and eating routine on your vacation in the Raja Ampat Islands.
When hiring a speedboat as alternative, observe the surrounding islands and stop at the clear water to cool yourself after a long hour of the fast seafaring trip. Taking a speedboat is convenient as you can decide your own program.
If you want to visit Wayag Island, you must have a guide who understands navigational conditions in this area. During certain seasons, waves can be quite high and are dangerous for ships. If you like snorkeling and diving, you must bring your own equipment, because there are no rental facilities on this island. You may rent equipment from your diving organizers who usually keep extra units.
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic Indonesia