Discover the photographic potential of West Papua on our
13 night Special PHOTO Cruise with Matthew Meier
Matthew Meier Biography
Matthew is a professional underwater, nature and travel photographer based in San Diego, California.
Matthew studied commercial photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, completing their Masters program. His work has appeared in magazines, books, in museums and as fine art prints.
For the past several years, Matthew has served as an editor and rep for X-Ray Magazine, an International Scuba Diving publication, often traveling to photograph and write travel stories for the magazine.
His latest story on diving in Cuba may be viewed with THIS LINK.
Dive RAJA AMPAT & TRITON BAY with Matthew Meier
18 ~ 31 March 2015
View the stunning dive sites of Raja Ampat through your lens, plus take this rare chance to explore the lesser known sites of Triton Bay. Appreciate the colours, diversity and beauty of these famous reefs, as well as the fascinating creatures that call them home, as seen by a photographer’s eye.
Start your ‘dive photography’ journey from 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).
After 13-nights exploring all the famous dive sites of Raja and Triton, end back in Sorong with a log-book packed with fun, adventure and photo skill building. Come ready to learn from professional underwater photographer Mark Strickland as we take you (and your camera) to visit some of the most photogenic dive sites in the world and meet some of the most unusual creatures in the ocean.
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. Wobbegong sharks hide under colourful coral shelves and the elusive Epaulette "walking" shark comes out at night. Jump in at Neptune Fan Sea for a great drift dive, rushing along a gulley past giant colourful gorgonian seafans. Manta Sandy is well-known as one of the most consistent spots for finding congregating mantas.
Read more about this destination at our page on DIVING RAJA AMPAT.
Set sail from Sorong at the western edge of Papua, for a 14-day/13-night cruise, ending back in Sorong. Take in all the popular dive sites of Raja Ampat, in all its colourful glory, as well as the less visited dive sites of Triton Bay.
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.
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.
Still in West Papua, but further south from Sorong, is the Triton Bay area. As a relatively new spot for diving, there’s no risk of overcrowding at these dive sites. The reefs are stunning, packed with vibrant varied corals and the fish life is incredible with big schools. It’s common to feel like you’re the first diver these fish have ever seen and being surrounded by so much fish life will be a truly unforgettable experience. At many sites you’ll find expansive black coral forests and it’s quite common to find the famous ‘walking shark’ here as well as wobbgegongs.
As a hotspot for critters, due to nutrient-rich waters, the visibility in Triton Bay can be a bit unpredictable but with so many sites to choose from we can tailor out time in the area to suit the best spots. The area is also a good chance to see dolphins and even sometimes whales, as they pass by the Gulf of Triton. Two of the popular Triton Bay dive sites (both named after the famous dive explorer Larry Smith) are called Larry’s Heaven and Little Komodo, giving you some idea of how impressed he was with the area’s dive potential.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 & Triton Bay (Photography)"
13 Day/12 Night Sorong-Sorong Cruise
13 Day/12 Night Sorong-Sorong Cruise
Day 1 Embarkation in Sorong
Day 2 Dampier Strait
The strait that flows between Waigeo and Batanta is rapidly becoming famous, as it offers some of the most spectacular diving in Raja Ampat - as a result of the nutrient-rich ocean currents passing through here. Everything which makes for a wonderful dive can be found in this channel of water. Beyond the usual delights and the satisfaction of spotting prized macro subjects such as Pontohi pygmy seahorses, there are surprises to be found on every dive here, as waters from several oceans meet up offering a real mixture of ocean life. Ironically, sardines are about the only reef fish not found at the site of Sardine Reef, but you won't even notice as you drift past schools of fusiliers, surgeonfish, trevallies, rainbow runners, sweetlips and bannerfish. The fish life practically block out the sky, as they swarm over the reef, which is stunningly decorated with sea fans, soft corals and huge orange elephant ear sponges encrusted with pastel colonies of tunicates. One of the most unique thrills of this site is being able to hear 'fish thunder' - the loud booming sound made when a large number of fish move rapidly through open water. Cape Kri, Blue Magic, Chicken Reef, Kerupiar Island and Mioskon are all dive sites in Dampier Strait full of these wonders.