Best Time to Dive Raja Ampat
|Even with poor visibility great photos are possible
Up Close with Corals & Fishes
For the diving alone, your time underwater, I agree. There is really no best season for being underwater in Raja Ampat.
The waters of Raja Ampat are unbelievably warm with an underwater temperature year round ranging from 28-30C / 82-86F depending on the dive site. This is true all year round.
Visibility varies from one day to the next throughout the year. There is no best time to dive Raja Ampat to ensure good visibility.
The best chance for getting good visibility is to join a liveaboard doing a round-trip within Raja Ampat that will work to get you to the best conditions during your trip. While the visibility may be bad in the north, it can be quite clear in the south, or green in the west and clear in the east and so on.
There is no reason to dive day after day in bad visibility unless your trip is one way and the ship must keep on a specific itinerary to reach its final destination on time, or you have chosen a land-based trip to a resort where your dives will be within a limited range.
However the best time to visit Raja Ampat topside can be different. I believe the best time to dive is also when there is sunshine, little rain, calm seas, and light to zero wind (so no choppy seas).
|Sip your first cup of morning coffee watching
An Amazing Sunrise at Batanta, Raja Ampat Islands
In my 16 years of taking small groups to dive in Raja Ampat, the most reliable time to enjoy seas like a mirror; nights with the sea so calm we don't know the ship is moving; easy boarding of the dive tenders and gentle rides to the dive sites has been in the mid-October to mid- December time period.
Mid-June to mid-September can have ferocious winds and therefore horizontal rain. Most of the liveaboards pull out of Raja Ampat during that season and locate themselves in other areas where the weather will likely be nicer. Even many of the resorts in Raja Ampat and the Moluccas close during that period of time. Perhaps if they could move too, they would do it in those months!
If you can only take your holiday in June-Sep. other parts of Indonesia can be a better choice.
That said, one of the advantages of Raja Ampat over other dive destinations is that there is always someplace interesting that is diveable. Years ago I did a couple of dive trips to locations where the weather was bad and it completely eliminated any possibility of diving. BTDT. Never again!
Each year I have a choice of when to charter a ship for my small group dive trips in Raja Ampat. Of course I pick the dates I know from my personal experience and research are the best for our trips, mid-October - mid-December. I join each of the trips and I love blue skies and sunshine! There are no guarantees of course, and sometimes we have a 1/2 day of rain, or gray skies but on average a trip has only 1/2 day of rain during this season.
My favorite route is Sorong to Sorong simply for the reason that a round trip gives us many options for changing our itinerary based on current weather and visibility within Raja Ampat.
The area is small enough with plenty of dive sites so on a 12-14 day round trip liveaboard cruise there are nights when we can sit at anchor to enjoy the sunset, and the peace, calm and beauty of the lagoons and beaches then wake at sunrise to come out on deck and listen to bird calls while sipping our morning coffee.
"Here's the point: Deb Fugitt's trip to Raja Ampat that I took a couple of years ago probably was the high point of all my diving. It's not for sissies, but it ain't ice diving either (current may be a bit more variable than the Galapagos). A few plusses: the crew knew where I was in that sometimes-rapid current, even when I may not have been so sure; the crew didn't baby me (I'm old), but they knew when to help out; the boat was convenient for divers (what you needed, where you needed it, camera station well located at the stern, eg., separate wash tanks for camera gear, eg., a shower room for you and your wet suit, large equipment room, cabins that were just large enough not to lose things in, space topside to get away when I needed to."