Why is Raja Ampat’s Misool a Bucket List Dive Destination for Travelers Around the World?
“I’d like to be under the sea in an octopus’ garden in the shade”
The words of Ringo Starr in the Beatles’ Octopus’s Garden come to mind when I reminisce about my time diving in Misool. Vibrant soft corals, sea fans, and feather stars in a rainbow of colors provide a “little hideaway beneath the waves” and are at the forefront of my memories.
The vivid beauty of Misool’s reefs is simply unmatched. Paired with the area’s relatively easy diving conditions, this beauty attracts divers from all over the world.
Many divers consider this area to offer the best diving in Raja Ampat…which is saying a lot, since Raja Ampat is already known as one of the most amazing dive destinations on the planet. Unmatched biodiversity and stunningly healthy reefs make for truly world-class diving.
During Raja Ampat’s ideal diving season – November to April – Indonesia’s many liveaboards flock to the area to take advantage of excellent weather conditions. Warm water, nice visibility, and relatively mild currents give this area a slight edge over some of Indonesia’s other regions with tougher diving conditions.
Misool is home to a 300,000 acre preserve, located in the south of the Raja Ampat chain in the West Papua province. Established in 2005, the Misool Private Marine Reserve has expanded over the last 15 years, and its protection of the area has enabled a rapid growth of coral cover and marine life.
Best Dive Sites in Misool
Boo Rock, aka Boo Window, is a rock island that is one of the most widely photographed and recognizable dive sites due to its picture windows where you can catch the sun’s rays shining through a set of two narrow swim-throughs. Upon splashing in to this site, your dive guide will direct you to a pinnacle located just off Boo Rock where currents bring in schools of batfish, grunts, whitetip sharks cruising by, and wobbegong sharks hiding under massive plate corals.
Macro lovers will have no shortage of critters to find when scanning sea fans for pygmy seahorses or barrel sponges for hairy squat lobsters. But the real highlight of this reef is in less than 30 feet, where the bottom is so prolific with soft corals, anemones, feather stars, tunicates, and sea fans that you won’t be able to find a bare spot. Just above the reef are an abundance of pastel-colored basslets and anthias darting in every direction. It’s like being in the middle of Times Square.
Magic Mountain is a pinnacle located just 20 feet below the surface and is susceptible to high currents. The pinnacle acts as a stopping ground and cleaning station for both oceanic and reef mantas, turtles, and more. Just off the sloping walls of Magic Mountain, divers can watch endless schools of fusiliers passing by, orange spotted and bluefin trevallies, and whitetip reef sharks out cruising out in the blue.
How to Dive Misool
Liveaboard diving is truly to the best way to explore the Raja Ampat area, especially Misool. Such remote, spread-out dive sites require substantial travel time. On liveaboards, this travel time is spent comfortably enjoying beautiful scenery and gourmet dining.
When planning a trip to Raja Ampat you will find a variety of liveaboard options ranging in levels of luxury and length of itinerary. Whichever option you choose…. MAKE SURE IT GOES TO MISOOL! All Star Liveaboards now offers two liveaboard options in Indonesia from the brand new ultra-luxury All Star Velocean to the charm of our traditional Pinisi liveaboard, All Star Aurora, both of which include diving in Misool.
No matter where in Misool your dive operator chooses to dive, it’s bound to be exciting!