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Located off the northwest tip of Bird's Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. It encompasses more than 9.8 million acres (40,000 km²) of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua (province) of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya.

According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin the marine life diversity is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat are possibly the richest in the world. The area's massive coral colonies show that its reefs are resistant to threats like coral bleaching and disease - threats that now jeopardise the survival of corals around the world, though the area is remote and relatively untouched by humans. In addition, Raja Ampat's strong ocean currents sweep coral larvae across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to replenish other reef ecosystems. Raja Ampat's coral diversity, resilience, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection, as human activity here has the potential to be catastrophic.

Over 1,070 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleratinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands), and 699 mollusc species, the variety of marine life is staggering.Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.

To address these issues, the Conservancy launched a new project to protect Raja Ampat, working in close partnership with the government and communities to:

1. contribute to a comprehensive conservation action plan to protect Raja Ampat's reefs and forests;
2. help incorporate marine protected area management into long-term planning and policy; and,
3. establish a network of marine protected areas for Raja Ampat.

The Conservancy's ultimate goal is to protect Raja Ampat's magnificent reefs while sustaining the livelihoods of local people.

For further information, please contact:

The Nature Conservancy
Coral Triangle Centre
Jalan Pengembak No. 2
Sanur, Bali, 80228
tel +62.361.287.272
fax +62.361.270.737
email info@coraltrianglecenter.org | www.coraltrianglecenter.org | www.nature.org

The Nature Conservancy is a private, international, non-profit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 14 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 80 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. On the web at www.nature.org.

Diving Season

Raja Ampat diving is superb just about all year round. The term High Season is of little meaning here since there is such an expanse of sea visited by only a few liveaboards that "diver soup" is not really a danger. May to September is light rainy season, and Mid-July to mid-September sees some small surface swells, but not usually serious enough to interfere with your enjoyment.

Sorido bay Resort

The new "Sorido Bay Resort" offers western comforts in traditional Papuan setting. It is a combination of modern and traditional building methods to create a balanced and comfortable resort. This resort is built for the more demanding diver and specially the UW photographer.

The resort has all comforts but is completely integrated in nature and has one of the worlds richest dive sites as its house reef. The boats used for dining are silent (Honda 4 stroke engines) and all diving is tailor made and personalized.