Local Guide to Raja Ampat Dive Sites #02 Sauwandarek Jetty
Located in the southwestern part of the Mansuar Islands in Raja Ampat, you will find a small village known as Sauwandarek. The slightly dilapidated appearance of the village from afar and the old structures surrounding the working pier might not look like much. Yet this small village is home to a truly unique and incredible diving experience.
The jetty is located in a natural bay which protects it from the stronger currents known to flow around Mansuar, creating a perfect diving spot and a natural refuge for marine species in the area. Additionally, the dive site’s proximity to the strong currents of the Dampier Strait brings with it the masses of schools of fish and a safe, natural environment for the turtle species that inhabit Raja Ampat.
The dive site is a gently sloping reef that extends to the east and west of the jetty structure. The reef slopes are littered with impressive rock formations covered in colorful hard corals and abundant soft coral growth, from massive gorgonians to anemones of all colors and sizes. The topography of the dive site is one of the most impressive in all of Raja Ampat. The dive site is home to an abundance of macro life. By trying to comb the coral formations finely, it is possible to spot nudibranchs, pipefish, blue-ringed octopus and even pygmy seahorses if you are lucky.
For those more interested in large marine species, Sauwandarek is also the perfect diving spot. Often on the way to the dive site you can spot dolphins swimming playfully in the wake of the boat, and at certain times of the year pilot whales can be spotted in the distance.
The dive site itself is well known for the turtles that inhabit the reef. One of these turtles is a massive female green turtle that has taken up residence in the crevices of rock formations. Divers are often treated with her majestically emerging from her hiding places for picture-perfect photographic opportunities. The dive site is also home to a large school of Bat Fish which is usually found around the pier. This group is known for teaming up with divers and having fun around them the whole dive.
Just off the slopes of the reef, divers will often spot barracuda or humphead parrotfish making their way along the coast, especially at the turn of the tide, the perfect time to dive the site. Depending on the rising and falling tide, the dive starts from the west or the east. However, regardless of where you start, you will most likely end your dive in the shallows around the pier, an area where large numbers of small schools of fish eagerly await the attention of divers. With such an abundance of fish in such a small area, divers often don’t know where to look.
Sauwandarek Jetty is one of the best hidden gems in the area, offering divers of all skill levels an easy yet amazing year-round diving experience.
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