Raja Ampat Liveaboard vs Misool

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ladiver33

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Hi! My wife and I are looking at trips in 2022. We have been diving in quite a few spots across Indonesia over the years but never made it to Raja Ampat.

If I could sum up our wild life preferences we LOVE macro / muck and pelagics (sharks, mantas, even blackwater). We don't care too much for coral and the smaller to medium sized fish. Maybe better said we love all things big and small but not much in-between.

We were weighing the pros and cons of doing a Liveaboard va a stay at Misool Eco Resort.

We are a bit younger and enjoy a bit more challenging dives. We love to fit in 4+ dives a day.

Right now we are not thrilled with the idea about living on a boat with strangers given covid concerns BUT it wouldn't be a deal breaker.

Would I be correct in assuming that a 9 to 10 day Liveaboard would likely present a more wide array of dive sites va MER?

How is MER for macro and muck? I assume its not as great as Tulamben or Lembeh for that interest but is it better than most other places (I realize that's a bit silly of a question?)

One final question : Has anyone successfully done a Misool to Ambon trip (or vice versa). Would we have to fly back to Jakarta and then all the way back?

Any insight on the above would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance !
 

peeweediver

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What you truly like is probably not in one place...muck and really big. We did a 10 day Raja live-a-board and then 5 days land based...not at Misool. The live aboard did a day and 1/2 around Misool and the mantas were great, but I enjoyed other parts of Raja more. There is muck in Raja but not quite like Lembeh or Ambon. Few sharks compared to Galapagos, Cocos, Socorro, etc. Raja is about diversity, amazing coral and huge schools of fish...not really big stuff like whale sharks or whales, except for Mantas. Understand your covid concerns, and I say that while knowing I'm boarding a live-a-board to Socorro in just over 2 weeks (and also flying for the first time since March 2020). A bit of yikes, but fingers crossed. I do think all live-a-boards are doing their best to be safe. Our Socorro boat has testing required even if Mexico doesn't require it. Galapagos for only the vaccinated, etc. When Raja live aboards start up again in earnest, that's when you'll know what is being done for safety.
Anyway, you have two great choices in Misool Eco Resort or a live-a-board, but neither will give you everything. If you can do Misool then Ambon, that would be great except still lt much in the way of sharks.
Good luck.
Rob
 

Lorenzoid

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Right now we are not thrilled with the idea about living on a boat with strangers given covid concerns BUT it wouldn't be a deal breaker.
Just on this (minor, I suppose) note, I was discussing this recently, and it was mentioned to me that different boats have different covid protocols. For example, some boats require proof of vaccination, others require test results, etc. On some boats--and I would think this is common in Indo--the dining is outside on the deck, so you don't have to spend time cooped up in the main "salon" area with others for meals. Mealtimes are the only times you're likely to spend any significant time in an enclosed common area with other people. Under present conditions, liveaboards with dining outside on the deck appeal to me for that reason.
 
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ladiver33

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Under present conditions, liveaboards with dining outside on the deck appeal to me for that reason.

Agreed! We were lucky enough to do a Galapagos trip this year and we were quite surprised that the dining was done inside. That's right when we learned 14 out of the 16 American guests already had covid earlier in the year 😳
 
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ladiver33

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Anyway, you have two great choices in Misool Eco Resort or a live-a-board, but neither will give you everything. If you can do Misool then Ambon, that would be great except still lt much in the way of sharks.

This is a perfect summary! Thank you Rob! That makes a lot of sense. Sounds like most of Amobon is closed up for early 2022. We are currently in Baja right now! Which boat are you taking out.
 

Diver Rick

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My wife and I couldn't decide either, so we're doing 10 days at Misool, then a week on a live aboard in Komodo. Originally cancelled due to covid, now planned for Sept 2022.
Will let you know how it goes when we get back!
 

peeweediver

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This is a perfect summary! Thank you Rob! That makes a lot of sense. Sounds like most of Amobon is closed up for early 2022. We are currently in Baja right now! Which boat are you taking out.
Solmar V. Then, in January, it’ll be the Calipso in Galapagos. Hope you had a great trip there.
 

Ucarkus

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There is decent critter diving in Dampier Straits, so, I would think Misool is second choice. Raja Ampat is about biodiversity, abundance of fish and soft corals.
I was there in Jan 2020 last time and it was perfect timing for Mantas. Resort diving is as good as lob, if not better because you can dive each dive spot at best conditions.
Lob is good if you want to do both Dampier and Misool at the same trip. If you are concerned about dining with others in lob I would say go for a good resort in Dampier. I did a lob and resort holidays in quick succession and I would choose a good resort over lob, diving is comparable with very nice land experience as well. It a bit of shame to get stuck on the boat after so many hours of flying.
 
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ladiver33

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I would say go for a good resort in Dampier

Just learned about Dampier and after a quick look and reply from a resorst, the rates and availability for early 2022 is WAYYYYYYYYYY better than Misool. And we'll happily shave a few hours off that transfer time. I think we might have found our winner :)

Super appreciate that recommendation !

Ps. Worth a mention that "big changes" are expected to be announced tomorrow re : Indonesian entry policy for tourists. As covid rates are dropping there one could assume it will likely be a big step to "opening back up".
 
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