“The Captains’ choice! Just ask the record number of Superyacht Captains that have cruised the Raja Ampat area in the last six months”, enthused Richard Lofthouse and Captain Jimmy Blee of Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia.
Captain Rick, from a well-known 50 metre superyacht, told the APS agents: "This place is truly amazing - the diversity of activities we can offer our guests combined with the natural beauty and friendly people make Raja Ampat the perfect cruising location for us. We love the place."
Raja Ampat translated means ‘The Four Kings’, a name derived from the four major islands in the group nestled on the tip of Papua’s Birds Head peninsula. A Raja Ampat cruising journey takes you through one of the world’s most exceptional marine areas and stunning sea and land scenes. Renowned for its biodiversity, Raja Ampat encompasses over 40,000 square kilometres in the northeast seas of the Indonesian Archipelago where the Pacific becomes the Indian Ocean.
The resulting currents stir up nutrient-rich water in the tropical climate, nurturing magnificent coral reefs and unparalleled marine life. A main attraction of Raja Ampat is the seascape, with incredible diving that reveals the most bio diverse coral reefs in the world. Diving the many dive sites of Raja Ampat is an otherworldly experience where you can view over 1,300 species of fish, 603 species of hard coral, which includes 75% of all known coral species in the world), 57 species of mantis shrimp and 15 mammal species.
Above water is fantastic as well, with islands cloaked in tropical jungle filled with unique flora and fauna, karst forests of rare orchids, sea eagles, tree kangaroos and beautiful birds of paradise. Being located right on the equator, the Raja Ampat islands boasts amazing natural rainforest and thousands of species of birds, highlighted by the much sought after ‘Bird of Paradise’.
In the vicinity of the four mountainous main islands are hundreds of small islands to explore. In addition, the Karst area is a beautiful and original natural phenomenon, with unique flora and fauna as its attractions and offering opportunities to trek around the islands and find hidden beauties like waterfalls and ancient caves.
Exotic locations, like the Ayau islands comprised of small islands on a very large atoll, wait to be seen and explored. Many of the islands in this archipelago offer white sands with a large seabed connecting one island to another. There are also islands with special sands that the local community calls “Zandplaat”, a unique habitat for local vegetation. On these islands one can also watch mothers and children of local tribes as they continue a long tradition of catching sea-worms (Insonem).
To get a sense of Raja Ampat history, other land attractions include a visit to North and West Waigeo where you can see a traditional bamboo flute (suling tambur) performance. These performances usually take place during a religious festival, on Independence Day (August 17), and during visits from important officials or leaders. World War II caves, where the Dutch and the Japanese army built bunkers and a place where locals will sometimes perform a war dance, are on North Waigeo. Nearby the ever-flowing waterfall of Salawati is another sight not to be missed before departing the area.
An interesting natural phenomenon can be seen every year-end in front of the Urbinasopen and Yesner villages when visiting East Waigeo. A light comes out from the ocean and wanders around on its surface for about 10–18 minutes, then disappearing and only to be seen again at the following year-end. Local inhabitants in both villages call this phenomenon, the “Sea Ghost”.
Another ancient attraction can be found on Tomolol, home of caves in the area with paintings of huge human palms and animals, painted by ancient cave dwellers and still in existence today. Lofthouse notes, "The feedback we at APS Indonesia get from the diving in Raja Ampat starts at ‘breathtaking’ and ends when ours clients run out of superlatives! All of our clients both owners and Captains rave about their Raja Ampat experience." He reports Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia handles 90% of all superyachts coming to Indonesia and has a 100% market share of all superyachts over 50 metres visiting Indonesia.
A Captain in the area for 17 years, Jimmy Blee adds: “After having the privilege of guiding recent boats, such as Octopus, through Raja Ampat I can honestly say it is my favourite destination in Indonesia to cruise. The jungle, the people, and of course the seaways are magnificent. It is a challenge to service boats in this remote part of the world but through persistence we have all the logistics and systems in place to provide everything our clients need."
Captain Jimmy and Richard, proud members of AYSS, said: “We are far and away recognized by all current Captains as the best logistic and service provider for not only superyachts in Indonesia, but luxury boats in general, currently managing three vessels out of Bali.”