Meet the mantas and other megafauna of Indonesia on our 8, 11 or 13-night

Special MANTA & MEGAFAUNA Cruises with Dr Andrea Marshall

2017 Raja Ampat 11N Cruise: Embark SORONG, 14 February 2017 - Disembark SORONG, 25 February 2017

Andrea Marshall Biography

Educated in the USA and Australia, Andrea now lives permanently in Africa spearheading the conservation efforts of manta rays in Mozambique.

Andrea's PhD research (conducted through the University of Queensland), on the population ecology of manta rays, was the first ever doctoral thesis to be completed on these enigmatic animals.

Her recent discovery of a new giant species of manta ray in 2008 was one of the largest new species to have been described by any scientist in the last 50 years.

She is known as the Queen of Mantas for her outstanding contribution towards a greater understanding of (and protection for) these gentle giants.

MANTA NEWS: In March 2013, at the CITES plenary session on listing sharks and mantas, oceanic white-tip sharks, 3 hammerhead species, porbeagle sharks, sawfish and MANTAS were all protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention)! The Bahamas supported the listing, recognizing sharks are worth more alive than dead by citing over 80 million US dollars in tourism. Liberia supported the proposal and asked for CITES help in its waters, citing concerns over policing its 560km of coastal waters with only 1 coast guard! The Maldives delegate said; "in 2011 we banned shark and manta ray catches because they are worth more when conserved via alternative livelihoods like ecotourism".

Regarding the CITES results, Dr Andrea Marshall said (via HER BLOG); "these iconic marine giants have made history again. This time not with the marvels of their biology, with their feats of endurance, or even with their unparalleled grace and beauty, this time they have made history as a trendsetter in a new age of ocean conservation."

Did you know? "The different species of manta rays have very different distributions, however ... the two Manta species are sympatric in a few locations around the globe including Mozambique, Hawaii, and Indonesia but at most of these locations, geographical separation, fine-scale habitat use, or seasonal movement patterns typically keep them from coming in contact with one another."

  • Find out more about Dr Marshall, her work at the foundation and the megafauna she studies, at HTTP://MarineMegafauna.ORG
  • Keep up to date with this specific trip at our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

  • Dive RAJA AMPAT with Andrea Marshall

    14 ~ 25 February 2017

    On this trip, not only do you visit some of the most stunning dive sites in the world - with some of the greatest diversity in terms of coral and fish life - but you'll also be diving in a great location for manta rays and we have tailored this trip to prioritize opportunities to dive and snorkel with these incredible pelagic creatures. We're delighted that Dr Andrea Marshall (Queen of Mantas) will be offering regular talks for guests on the cruise, sharing her insights and vast experiences of studying and diving with mantas.

    Your adventure begins at the port city of Sorong at the western edge of West Papua (previously known as Irian Jaya). Sorong is almost equidistantly located between Indonesia's famous ''island of the gods'' - Bali - and the capital of neighboring Papua New Guinea - Port Moresby (roughly 1,060 nautical miles east of Bali, versus 1,080 west of Port Moresby).

    Famed as the world's epicentre of marine biodiversity, the Raja Ampat area offers vibrant underwater colours but also majestic landscapes; a perfect destination for keen photographers. The waters of the region's 1,500 virtually untouched islands, boast over 1,300 reef fish (25 endemic species), 600 hard corals and 75% of all known coral species, plus 13 marine mammals and 5 species of endangered sea turtles. Jump in at Neptune Fan Sea for a great drift dive, rushing along a gulley past giant colourful gorgonian seafans. Wobbegong sharks hide under colourful coral shelves, mandarinfish dance together at sunset and the elusive Epaulette "walking" shark comes out at night. Plus, of course, we will visit Manta Sandy, Blue Magic and other dive sites that are well-known for finding congregating mantas.

    We are also pleased to announce that proceeds from this trip will also be supporting Andrea's work at The Marine Megafauna Foundation.

    Read more about this destination at our page on DIVING RAJA AMPAT.


    Set sail from Sorong at the western edge of Papua, for a 12-day/11-night cruise, ending back in Sorong. Raja Ampat offers the most striking biodiversity on the planet. Famous dive sites such as Misool, Dampier Strait, Manta Sandy and Boo are all on the agenda. This area is known for its vibrant underwater colours but also its majestic landscapes, making it a perfect destination for keen photographers. The only problem with diving here is that you'll be so spoiled by the near-perfect conditions that you may never want to leave.

    As many divers know, Indonesia is located in the very centre of the Coral Triangle and the variety of species seen underwater is truly astonishing. In certain bays and around small islands, you can find more species than in the entire Caribbean. In Raja Ampat, Gerald Allen (world-famous ichthyologist) counted the incredible number of 284 different species of fish during a single dive. In the same area, 465 different species of corals were found. As a result, scientists nowadays believe that this destination is the world's current no. 1 spot in terms of biodiversity.

    In terms of water temperature and recommendations for wetsuits, for most dive sites in Raja Ampat you can expect 27-30C+ (80-86F+) so a 3mm wetsuit or even a skinsuit is usually fine. For repetitive diving days you may start to notice the cooler thermoclines more than usual, so prefer to wear a slightly thicker wetsuit and/or a hood, but usually 3-5mm is sufficient. We don't recommend gloves as this can encourage divers to touch corals or delicate reef areas, but for night dives, where you could be more likely to bump into fire coral etc, many divers do prefer earning a full length suit and hood/gloves.

    SAMPLE CRUISE ITINERARY "Raja Ampat (Mantas)"

    12 Day/11 Night Sorong-Sorong Cruise

    Day 1 Embarkation in Sorong

    Raja Ampat means 'Four Kings'. In an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands there are four main islands or 'kings' - Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta, Misool. The majority of Raja Ampat is in Marine Protected Areas. These islands usually experience varying visibility depending on the weather conditions and warm water around 27-30C (81-86F).

    Day 2-4 Misool, Raja Ampat (9-10 dives)

    Misool is in the south of Raja Ampat and we will dive at the many small islands in the southeast. Southeast Misool is famous for the profusion of colourful soft corals and sea fans beautifully draped all over the reefs. Take a look at some photos taken in this area in our SOFT CORAL HEAVEN PHOTO ALBUM.

    We will stay three and a half days in the Misool area, on Day 5 we will complete 1-2 dives before traveling to the central part of Raja Ampat. There is a possibility to visit Tomolol Cave that has a river-sized waterway running through it. We take a 30-minute tender ride through a pearl farm and into the rugged interior. Once at the cave we float and paddle our way inside to enjoy the amazing rock formations. There is a large opening at the other end and also aa 'secret' cave to explore. This tour is dependent on receiving permission from the pearl farm and local village.

    Find other trips with Andrea Marshall:

    As with the other special megafauna cruises, Andrea will be offering regular talks for guests; sharing her insights and vast experiences of studying and diving with ocean giants.

    2014 Alor & Komodo 13N Cruise: Embark MAUMERE, 5 May 2014 - Disembark LABUANBAJO, 18 May 2014 - CLICK HERE

    2016 Komodo 8N Cruise: Embark BALI, 6 July 2016 - Disembark LABUANBAJO, 14 July 2016 - CLICK HERE

    2016 Komodo Focus 11N Cruise: Embark LABUANBAJO, 16 July 2016 - Disembark BIMA, 27 July 2016 - CLICK HERE

    2017 Raja Ampat 11N Cruise: Embark SORONG, 1 February 2017 - Disembark SORONG, 12 February 2017 - CLICK HERE