Question Raja Ampat liveaboard for snorkelling AND diving

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Mocamps

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My husband and I plus our son and his wife would like to visit Raja Ampat around Christmas/New Year 2022.
We’d like to go on a liveaboard but I won’t be diving so I need a liveaboard that’s good for snorkelling as well.
Any recommendations please?
It will be our first time there and I guess we’re looking at a mid-price. We don’t need too fancy but do want en-suites. And our daughter-in-law prefers nitrox. Ideally we’d like something where most things are included and there aren’t too many extras. I’m leaning towards the Aggressor but worried that it’s not suited to me snorkelling?
Any advice much appreciated.
 

drrich2

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I've been on live-aboards but haven't been to Raja Ampat; I'd like to go and have been looking into it. Your post got me curious and I'd like to find out more, as it may help others help you.

1.) Your profile says you've got 100+ dives and you've been certified over 10 years, and you're going to Raja Ampat, held as one of the greatest dive destinations on Earth, preferring a live-aboard...and don't plan to dive, just snorkel?

I know there are a host of health issues, pregnancy and so forth that take people out of diving temporarily or permanently. Just pointing out how jarring your scenario sounds.

2.) Have you been on a live-aboard before? I ask because in other places I've done live-aboards, the dive group tended to be at depths well below what a snorkeler could follow, and Raja is known for some currents. It's my understanding the viz. isn't on par with Cozumel, either. What I'm getting at, were you planning to follow the dive group by snorkeling at the surface, or do you envision snorkeling off the main boat while smaller boats take the divers off to do their diving, or a smaller boat taking you to a shallow area to snorkel?

3.) With the practical concerns your group faces, what made land-based resorts less appealing? I admit some of the highly reputable ones are expensive. Just putting the idea out there.

If you're U.K. based with 100+ dives you're probably seasoned enough to've thought all this out, and I mean no offense. Just hoping to get the specifics nailed down. Best of luck.
 

Dan

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Best combination of diving & snorkeling are usually done from a dive resort. I have stayed in Raja Ampat Dive Lodge, Misool Eco Resort and Raja4Divers Resort. They have plenty of snorkeling sites around the resorts.
 
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Mocamps

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I've been on live-aboards but haven't been to Raja Ampat; I'd like to go and have been looking into it. Your post got me curious and I'd like to find out more, as it may help others help you.

1.) Your profile says you've got 100+ dives and you've been certified over 10 years, and you're going to Raja Ampat, held as one of the greatest dive destinations on Earth, preferring a live-aboard...and don't plan to dive, just snorkel?

I know there are a host of health issues, pregnancy and so forth that take people out of diving temporarily or permanently. Just pointing out how jarring your scenario sounds.

2.) Have you been on a live-aboard before? I ask because in other places I've done live-aboards, the dive group tended to be at depths well below what a snorkeler could follow, and Raja is known for some currents. It's my understanding the viz. isn't on par with Cozumel, either. What I'm getting at, were you planning to follow the dive group by snorkeling at the surface, or do you envision snorkeling off the main boat while smaller boats take the divers off to do their diving, or a smaller boat taking you to a shallow area to snorkel?

3.) With the practical concerns your group faces, what made land-based resorts less appealing? I admit some of the highly reputable ones are expensive. Just putting the idea out there.

If you're U.K. based with 100+ dives you're probably seasoned enough to've thought all this out, and I mean no offense. Just hoping to get the specifics nailed down. Best of luck.
Good questions and I just didn’t want to be too long-winded. I HAVE done a lot of diving but it was mainly a long time ago when I was much younger and braver. I’ve just lost my nerve I guess. Actually I think it always scared me and now I just admit it! And don’t do it anymore. I’ve seen most of the stuff I want to see and we’ve been to some amazing places like Sipidan in Borneo. That was at my peak!!

But I don’t want to stop the others diving and I love the whole liveaboard/dive resort experience. I find it totally relaxing! Just living in my swimsuit! We’ve been on liveaboards in the Red Sea, Maldives (twice) and Similans, and I loved them all! I didn’t dive much in the Maldives but on one of the boats there were other non-divers and they ran snorkelling and island trips and that was a better experience so that’s what I’m hoping to find out. If there are any of those then I’ll investigate them. But if not, I’ll just go along and enjoy being on the boat and reading my book!
My husband and I are also hoping to add some time on either end and that will be land-based but I haven’t started the research on that yet.

By the way, I’m interested that you say the visibility isn’t great and compare it with Cozumel because I was expecting it to be in a different league to Cozumel. We were very disappointed by the diving and snorkelling there. If Raja isn’t much better I might have to have a re-think about whether it’s worth all the effort and expense of getting there. I was expecting it to be more on a par with Sipidan. Have I got that wrong?
Thank you for your interest.
 

Dan

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By the way, I’m interested that you say the visibility isn’t great and compare it with Cozumel because I was expecting it to be in a different league to Cozumel. We were very disappointed by the diving and snorkelling there. If Raja isn’t much better I might have to have a re-think about whether it’s worth all the effort and expense of getting there. I was expecting it to be more on a par with Sipidan. Have I got that wrong?
Thank you for your interest.
The visibility is good enough for me to go there 8 times in the last 17 years of diving. Check out my last trip video.

 

drrich2

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y the way, I’m interested that you say the visibility isn’t great and compare it with Cozumel because I was expecting it to be in a different league to Cozumel.
With the disclaimer I haven't been to Raja Ampat and am going off what I've read about it from multiple sources over quite some time, some clarification. I wasn't claiming I read it was bad, just that from what I read in a comparison (years ago; I think it was a comparison with Komodo), it wasn't on par with Komodo (note: southern Komodo sites can have lower viz. than northern I'm told) or the best viz. destinations. Adventure In You has Your Complete Guide to Raja Ampat Diving, which states: "Visibility is typically pretty decent, between 10 and 30 meters depending on the dive site." I subscribe to Undercurrent; a report on Sorido Bay Resort for Dec. 2019 gave viz. at 20-50 Ft/ 6-15 M. Blue Water Dive Travel has a page discussing dive conditions for Raja Ampat that gives "Visibility: Ranging from 30 to 70 feet."

That's not bad! It's just not on par in terms of the visibility I associate with Cozumel and the Cayman Islands (which I, at least, consider amongst the best for visibility I've seen personally). I brought up the viz. in case you had ideas of snorkeling overhead looking down on a group of divers, which probably wouldn't work out even if the viz. were stellar.

As you read reviews, you'll see Raja Ampat is indeed portrayed as in another league. But its greatness as a dive destination is not rooted in having greater viz. than other options.

Have I got that wrong?
Nothing I have found suggests that!
 

Damselfish

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By the way, I’m interested that you say the visibility isn’t great and compare it with Cozumel because I was expecting it to be in a different league to Cozumel. We were very disappointed by the diving and snorkelling there. If Raja isn’t much better I might have to have a re-think about whether it’s worth all the effort and expense of getting there. I was expecting it to be more on a par with Sipidan. Have I got that wrong?
Thank you for your interest.
Unclear what is being compared to what here.
The diving in Raja is great, I'd expect much better than anyplace in the Caribbean including Coz. The viz on average may not be as good as Coz but not too bad either. But Raja is about the sealife not the viz.
Many liveaboards don't have a lot of good snorkeling opportunities. It depends where you are, some places just lend themselves more to it than others The combo of viz/currents/depth/etc you might experience on a Raja live aboard may not lend itself to snorkeling a lot.
 

Centrals

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My husband and I are also hoping to add some time on either end and that will be land-based but I haven’t started the research on that yet.

If Raja isn’t much better I might have to have a re-think about whether it’s worth all the effort and expense of getting there. I was expecting it to be more on a par with Sipidan. Have I got that wrong?
1. Islands hopping in R4, snorkelling is common and you might get the chance to see dugong!.
2. Sipadan is very very ordinary if compare with R4.
 

Lorenzoid

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We’ve been on liveaboards in the Red Sea, Maldives (twice) and Similans, and I loved them all! I didn’t dive much in the Maldives but on one of the boats there were other non-divers and they ran snorkelling and island trips and that was a better experience so that’s what I’m hoping to find out.
I haven’t been on a liveaboard where there were non-divers, though I have heard it’s not uncommon. I have never heard of snorkeling from a liveaboard, but it sounds like you’re saying some run excursions from the liveaboard to suitable snorkeling sites. Very interesting to hear. Sorry I have no information relevant to RA, but I wanted to thank you for raising an interesting topic some of us may not be aware of. Until now, my reaction to the question of a non-diver snorkeling on a liveaboard trip would have been along the lines of “Are you kidding?”
 

Darnold9999

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Tough question. Never seen a snorkeler on a liveaboard in RA. Better opportunities on a land resort where I have seen them. I would have said that it would work, but some locations where everyone is diving you will need to go to a completely different location. Logistics will also be an issue. You will not be able to snorkel from the main boat at all at any site so will need to be taken to the snorkeling site by boat, which is usually busy monitoring divers. They are going to have to monitor you as well as you will not want to be alone in the water. Doable but not simple, and will only work where the snorkeling site is near the dive site so the boat drivers can monitor both at the same time. My rough guess would be 50% of day dives might work - possibly less.

On the comparison between RA and Cancun. Not even close.

Not sure why you think Aggressor would not work. It is very typical for the region. If it would not work then none of the liveaboards set up for diving will work. You will need to find a boat that does snorkel tours.

I would get in touch with Underwater Tribe in Bali and see if they can do something for you. They know all the boats in Indonesia and may be able to design something that would work that we as divers would not know about.
 
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