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BIOGRAPHY / William Tan

A keen follower of Cousteau’s documentaries of the underwater world, William has been a certified diver since 1994. William Tan has been fascinated with the creatures of the sea since childhood. While studying at the Johns Hopkins University (USA), much of his spare time was spent gazing at the extensive marine collection of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Officially, he plays the violin with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra but he still makes time for assignments with dive magazines, tourism organizations and resorts, which allows him to travel extensively in the Asia Pacific region (albeit without his prized antique Italian violin).

William believes that cultivating knowledge and understanding of marine life is the key to long-term concern for and preservation of our rich marine heritage.

As a photographer he is famed for his captivating macro images, specializing in close-up shots of photogenic marine life, but he is a master of all underwater photography skills and a patient teacher. His photographic book “Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise”, published under the commission of the Indonesian government, sees him collaborating with Hong Kong’s leading underwater photographers Stephen Wong and Takako Uno.

  • Find out more about William Tan’s photographic style in the magazine interview at THIS LINK
  • Keep up to date with this specific trip at our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

CRUISE OVERVIEW

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.

BEST OF BORNEO 23-31 Aug 2025