Above & Below Photography
Sorido Bay Resort
Kri Eco Resort
Raja Empat Islands, Irian Jaya,
Papua Diving (formerly Irian Diving) is under the direction of Max Ammer, one of the owners. The operation consists of the upscale Sorido Bay Resort, rustic Kri Eco Resort, and a liveaboard dive boat for further explorations.
For something a bit different different, try this land-based dive trip that has some of the best diving we’ve seen in years. You’ll fly to Sorong, on the Bird’s Head Peninsula of New Guinea, where you'll be met by someone from Papua Diving. Then, depending on the schedule, either overnight in Sorong or take the 2 hour boat ride to Kri Island that day.
The islands here are beautiful and sparsely populated. White sand beaches surround them and the heavily forested interiors are home to spectacular bird life, marsupials, cassowaries and a bevy of butterflies.
The diving is wonderful—big fishes, little fishes, tons of fishes, gorgeous sea fans and soft corals, enormous clams, pygmy seahorses, pictured dragonets, wobbegongs, manta rays and loads of critters too! We found harlequin crabs, soft coral and sponge crabs, umpteen commensal shrimps and a colorful Lamellarid (a lumpy mollusk that looks a bit like a big nudibranch). We loved it and shot 2 rolls of film on every dive. Most dive sites are nearby. For those sites further away, all day excursions are planned. One area has many rock islands like those found in Palau.
Water temperatures run 83-86ºF with 60’ - 100’ visibility. The best aggregations of fishes are in areas of currents but that doesn’t mean you’ll be swept away. We found the staff to be expert at picking out the best times to visit the best sites and the areas of least current and most fishes. Remember that the strongest currents are around the times of new and full moons.
Sorido Bay Resort is an upscale resort with a small number of private bungalows, en suite facilities with hot and cold water, air con, internet access, restaurant, and much more. Diving is available 7 days a week at Sorido Bay. The upscale bungalows here are in addition to the standard accommodation at the nearby Kri Eco Resort.
If you want a change of pace from diving, the staff is happy to escort you on land tours to see Wallace’s Red Bird of Paradise on a nearby island, to visit waterfalls, go hiking, or birdwatching.
Kri Eco Resort: Unlike Sorido Bay Resort, this is not a luxury operation, but rustic doesn’t mean uncomfortable. The Eco Resort is clean, well-run, easy going, and incredibly relaxing. Thatched bungalows sit over the water along the pier. The bungalows are basic with bamboo floors, a table and seats. The bed is covered by a mosquito net and each bungalow has 2 windows and a doorway for good cross-breezes and a veranda with bamboo chairs. On the beach, 50'-200’ from the bungalows, are several western toilets with water. Each has its own thatch building and is very private. There are several open-air shower enclosures with big drums of sun-warmed well (brackish) water and dipping ladles, also very private. A separate open-air dining bungalow is at the water’s edge. The family-style meals are generally a nice selection of fish, rice or noodles, vegetables and fresh fruits. Special meals can be arranged too.
Each Eco-bungalow has 2 rooms separated by a thatch wall. Bath towels, pillows and sheets are provided. A generator supplies 24-hour, 220V power for lights and strobe charging. Be sure to bring adaptor plugs (2 round pins) and converters if necessary. If you like to read in the evenings you may want to bring a small booklight to make reading easier. You may want to bring along a boat towel although they will supply one if you ask. Verify in advance that a room fan will be available for you.
There is no boat diving on Saturdays from the Eco Resort, however, you can snorkel on the house reef or partake of land adventures. The staff is happy to escort you on land tours to see Wallace’s Red Bird of Paradise on a nearby island, to visit waterfalls, go hiking, or birdwatching.
January to March have more cloudy days with afternoon showers while other months have clearer skies with showers. Land temperatures run about 85ºF year round and water temperatures average 83º-86ºF. Diving is good all year. Chloroquine-resistent malaria is prevalent in Irian Jaya. You may want to check with the Centers for Disease Control for the latest travel recommendations.
Contact Reef and Rainforest, 1-800-794-9767, for reservations.