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Questions about choosing a Raja Ampat liveaboard

Discussion in 'Indonesia' started by Dogbowl, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
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    DOOO EEET NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE :D

     
  2. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    Hang on...can I just mention something about DO EETTT BEFORE ITS TOO LATE...

    Raja Ampat, or Empat is NOT New. A couple of weeks ago I gave a man a copy of a 1990s magazine about the unexplored Raja Empat, when there was only one phinisi out there. He's still doing it but understands the landscape of functioning as a LOB in a heavily competitive market is changing rapidly.
    That magazine and a few others I have of same vintage offer trips to Verde Island and Komodo - they were established then.
    I was alerted to some caves and early carvings around misool and other RA destinations and found the research....Misool was gone over with a fine tooth comb in 2000 - which is still almost two decades ago.

    "Build it and they will come"

    It's not a matter of get there before it's too late, it's a matter of appreciate that it's still there in a lot of cases. Supply is meeting growing demand from targeted international markets and domestic markets, yes, Indonesians do dive and not just as guides. Cheap air fare, more choice of routes and connections, more hotels built at Sorong and a divers cafe, hotels and airports at Banda Neira, Boats with WiFi....we asked for it, we now have what we wanted.

    Problem is "We" now includes some of the worlds most populous nations with disposable incomes. If anyone thinks there's going to be a cap on Phinisis, or resorts, you're kidding yourself. If anyone thinks boats and resorts will book out years in advance...don't worry, I'd hazard a guess they will build more boats and More resorts.

    Overall though, we should give a bit of credit to the people who put the hard yards in to get these areas declared national parks, to form LOB associations, to work with locals so the inevitable impact of dive tourism is softened a little bit.

    The fact RA is still making eyes twinkle all over the world almost three decades later is a testament to the resilience of a somewhat managed dive destination, and nature being given a chance to find a way, in spite of us.

    Just no PNG Ok?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  3. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
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    After a few trips to Indonesia (Banda, Sulawesi) and two weeks diving at Komodo in 2016 was confirmation of all of the above... I was amazed at the numbers of both land and LOB operators and the sheer volume of divers coming and going from Labuan Bajo (LBJ) a relatively 'remote' place but with easy connections to Bali.

    Sadly the environment is being hammered despite the best efforts of some of the more aware dive operators at LBJ...
    In 2017 the local community and stakeholders of LBJ collaborated to arrange a large-scale cleanup of the town's coastal areas and nearby islands. Around 170 people collected more than 3,300kg of trash which was separated into 124 sacks of recyclables for the local recycling sites and 135 sacks of general rubbish transported to the municipal landfill area. Another event was planned for June 8 2018.
    www.worldoceansday.org
    The trouble is this goes all the way back to local village level and and the need for plastic litter awareness programs from the Indonesian Government starting in schools. Outside the relatively cloistered dive environment most Indonesian locals are more focused on providing the next meal for their families vs getting stressed over whether the PET soft drink bottles are being recycled correctly. Much is just thrown into the river, and flushed into the ocean during the next heavy rain. Little of the funds raised via international tourists seems to be going to the right areas... the dilapidated state of the Komodo National Park HQ on Rinca is a prime example.

    SO... the current Wild West free-for-all oversupply in Komodo and RA may come to an abrupt end if international divers feel they have travelled half-way round the world to dive in a shark-finned aquatic rubbish tip, and vow never to return.

    Certainly some of the divers on the trips I went on felt this way... not really an answer because all that does is 'kick the can' as divers find the next unspoiled paradise and the situation repeats in 20 years.

    Can PNG fend off a similar fate?
    I certainly hope so...
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
    Wingy and billt4sf like this.
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I do not plan to ever return to Bunaken. It's the worst I've ever experienced and how the turtles there are still alive astounds me. Totally gross.
     
    billt4sf likes this.
  5. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Including individual with visionary and dedication to marine conservation such as Andrew Miners, the founder of Misool Eco Resort, as shown in the following documentary video of how Andrew & his team built the resort from a shark finning camp site and worked with the local community & authorities to make the area becoming no take zone, expanded & continue to enforce it by employing the local leaders to become rangers, patrolling the area, inspecting suspicious boats cruising the area, continuing to educate the local school children, etc.

    Your money would be well spent & support the local community for protecting the world richest reefs.

     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  6. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
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    Just my empat Rupiah comment: It’s Raja Ampat. Western Indonesians (e.g., Javanese) pronounce & spell “empat” for 4, but Eastern Indonesians (e.g., Ambonese) pronounce it as “ampat”. Since it is located in the eastern part of Indonesia, hence, the local pronounciation rules. Now you know where I came from. :)
     
  7. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    Interestingly, the article using Empat was written by an Australian Woman for Sportsdiver. The man she was interviewing is Swiss with a home in Ambon and family ties to Maumere. Who knows what he or she used as the "proper" spelling. There are some great conservation initiatives going on - but we're standing on the edge of an avalanche with a bamboo straw and a shiny new set of color coded rubbish bins (Rinca rangers station a couple of weeks ago). All the people reaching out to educate the next generation give me hope, I watched a cool documentary using underwater images in a fashion contest for inspiration for costumes.
    There's a long way to go and hats off to all those trying to make a difference.

    Will PNG ever suffer the same fate? Not for a long long time IMO. Everyone who goes to Moresby when parliament is sitting should go for a laugh. You have security checking in the most amazing array of weapons and everything from guys with Nambas, guys with Nambas and a boars tooth through their noses to a guy with Huli style facial decorations in a 3 piece suit. Question time was suspended indefinitely. Wonder if it has been restored lol.

    The thing about PNG is it's tribal. There are inter tribal conflicts that will never go away because it is their custom and they're holding on strong to that regardless of mining companies. Good on them. To get an idea of the PNG mindset - watch Ross Kemps Dangerous world episode on PNG. It's on YouTube.

    And we whiteys certainly have no place telling them what to do....the missionaries often found that out the hard way.
     
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  8. Fibonacci

    Fibonacci Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
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    Years ago I worked with a guy who was a District Patrol Officer (Kiap) in PNG up to independence in the 1970's.
    He regaled us with some amazing stories and wonderful Kodachrome photos from those days.

    In 2002 his wife ended up co-editing a collection of hair-raising PNG air travel stories from the 1960's to 1980's:
    And Then The Engines Stopped... Flying in Papua New Guinea
    http://pacificinstitute.anu.edu.au/...nks/Pandanus/And_Then_the_Engines_Stopped.pdf

    By all accounts not much has changed :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
    Wingy likes this.
  9. Dan

    Dan ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
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  10. billt4sf

    billt4sf Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    +1
     

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