Whale shark lovers view Cenderawasih as more or less the pinnacle when it comes to quality encounters with their favourite marine creature. It is quite likely, as you hang a few metres below the surface and local fishing platforms, that several whale sharks will be all around you. Newborns, juveniles and fully grown adults all gather around to feed on the small fish that scatter around the platforms. They also seemingly enjoy the massaging effect of scuba bubbles as they scoop up their free breakfasts, swimming around and about the awestruck human beings.
When not playing with the biggest fish in the sea, you can also explore a number of interesting World War II wrecks. The area was a hotbed of fighting, and a large number of planes and boats from both the Japanese and Allied sides slipped to their watery grave in the greater West Papua area. Several wrecks can be dived near Manokwari in Cenderawasih Bay.
There are also muck diving sites which are earning high praise from experienced critter hunters for their diverse and plentiful macro-life. [More details on these dive sites: Cenderawasih Bay].
Cenderawasih Bay - It is possible to join itineraries that concentrate solely on Cenderawasih Bay. These are usually between 7 and 10 nights' duration and begin and end at ports within the bay. On these trips you can spend all your time on the whale shark dives, macro dive sites and wrecks in Cenderawasih Bay.
More frequently, itineraries include the bay as part of a Raja Ampat & Cenderawasih Bay cruise. There is quite a range of trip durations to choose from covering this route, from 6 to 12 nights. On these cruises you will dive the sites of Cenderawasih as well as some of the northern dive sites of Raja Ampat such as Fam, Yanggefo Kri Island. [More details on these dive sites: Raja Ampat].
Note that diving safaris to Cenderawasih Bay are not restricted to boats represented within our Raja Ampat liveaboards section. Several boats in our Komodo liveaboards section also run trips there.
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A number of Indonesian liveaboards visit the Cenderawasih Bay region between the months of June and October. From July to September, rain and strong winds can cause choppy open-sea conditions in areas of Raja Ampat. So to avoid these conditions, some liveaboards follow sheltered routes to and in Cenderawasih Bay. The world-renowned whale shark dives take place all year round.
Indonesia's Papuan provinces experience 2 wet seasons: - July/August and November/December. It may rain in Papua at any time, rainy season or dry. Water temperatures remain reasonably constant, from around 27°C (May to October), up to high of 30°C (November and April).
Ports of Departure and How to Get There
Cenderawasih Bay liveaboard cruises depart from a range of ports within the bay. These can include Manokwari, Nabire and Biak. The more frequent trips of Raja Ampat & Cenderawasih Bay may also use one of these ports, as well as Sorong in West Papua. Manokwari is accessed from Jakarta via Ujung Pandang. Biak enjoys direct flights from Ujung Pandang and Jayapura. Nabire airport is accessible from Jakarta and Surabaya via Ambon. You can fly to Sorong direct from Jakarta, or from Bali via Ujung Pandang or Manado.
Most people fly into Indonesia to Jakarta (Java), Manado (Sulawesi) or Denpasar (Bali). More information on: how to get to Indonesia.
You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. Whichever ports your boat uses, the boat operator normally provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand). We will send you full departure details during the booking process.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
Places to Stay
If you plan on staying in Indonesia before or after your diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.