Andrew Miner, who has been based in Indonesia for over 10 years and operated his own cruise ship Irian Jaya Sakti, now leads the Misool dive team. They have meanwhile explored over 60 dive sites within a one-hour boat ride of the resort, and there are many more waiting to be discovered. 20 world-class dive sites are located within a 10 minute ride from the resort. Some of the more famous dive sites (all within the 425 sq km Marine Protected Area established in 2006) include Fiabacet, Boo, Magic Mountain, Yilliet, and Gorgonian Passage.
Misool's Dive Centre is located in the North Bay, built on stilts over the water. The Dive Centre is spacious and airy, with dedicated wet and dry areas to suit professional videographers, photographers, and recreational divers alike.
The wet room is furnished with plenty of camera tables and work stations. The kitting up platform is quite roomy. Please note that the resort's dive shop does not rent wetsuits, mask, snorkel or fins, so you will need to bring those with you. Advance notice must be given for BCD, reg and dive computer hire.
Within the dry area, there are comfortable lounge chairs and a monitor for viewing the day's images. The sunny veranda is perfect for drying out between dives and enjoying the topside views.
Typically, 2-3 boat dives are offered daily with unlimited and unguided house reef diving, and the thorough dive briefings emphasise individuality and protection of the environment. Dives are conducted in small groups, and gloves are not permitted. Due to their extremely remote location, the dive profiles are very conservative with a maximum depth of 30 metres (100ft).
Misool offers all the comforts of a land-based holiday resort, the variety and quality of diving is comparable with live aboard diving, The diversity of Raja Ampat's underwater topography is simply astounding, abounding in all manner of reef systems with walls, pinnacles, caves, swim throughs, sea mounts and lagoons.
Visibility is generally 25+ meters (80+ft), with temperatures around 26-28C (78-82F). For most divers a 3mm wetsuit is sufficient.
Raja Ampat is home to the world's richest reefs and dive sites. At the heart of the Coral Triangle, the region sprawls over 180,000 square kilometers and boasts the majority of the world's reef-building corals. In fact, in an area the size of two football fields, scientists discovered more than six times as many coral species as live in the entire Caribbean Sea. There are over 700 species of mollusks and 1,200 species of fish. Counted among those is the newly discovered 'walking' epaulette shark, commonly seen on night dives on the Misool house reef.
Misool's house reef is a shore dive, easily accessed at any time from either the end of the jetty, the dive centre, or the steps leading down from your Water Cottage accommodation. On a rising tide, jump off the end of the jetty and enjoy an easy drift North through the channel, which is exposed to variable current. Schooling horse-eyed jacks congregate under the pier, joined by massive schools of fusiliers and shoals of passing anchovies. Several very large groupers make their home in the depths under the jetty, and they often appear to inspect visitors to their reef. Larger black tip reef sharks are regularly patrolling the deeper areas, as well as the occasional grey reef shark.
As you drift north through the channel, the topography shifts from a gentle slope to steep wall, festooned with colourful soft corals, huge gorgonian sea fans, and sea squirts and tunicates in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Careful inspection of the many rocky outcroppings, coral bommies, and overhangs is always rewarded with a treasure. A close look at Muricella and Annella sea fans often reveals the elusive Bargibanti and Denise pygmy seahorses. Large and colourful crinoids often cling to the fans as well, hosting a menagerie of colour-coordinated cling fish, crinoid shrimp, and arrowhead crabs.
If you time your dive just right, you'll have a good chance of seeing the stunning Mandarin Fish, who make their appearance just before sunset. A little patience will be rewarded with a display of their wildly psychedelic courtship ritual. They are joined by the spectacular displays of several species of Flasher Wrasse. We also regularly spot the newly-discovered 'walking' Epaulette Shark in the shallows, scooting along with their pectoral fins and hunting for their next meal.
You'll also find innumerable species of nudibranchs and flatworms. These range from the gaily coloured black and orange spotted Nembrotha to the huge white Ardeadoris egretta, edged with a lemon yellow frill. It's not unusual to spot up to 10 different species of nudibranchs and flatworms on a single dive. The reef wall is also home to an unrivalled variety of soft corals, hard corals, and sponges, in all colours of the spectrum. We've even got fluorescent hard corals!
The House Reef is particularly well suited to photographers and those who enjoy observing unusual animal behaviour. Inspect holes in the sandy substrate and you may find the unlikely duo of goby and shrimp. These two share a burrow: the goby keeps a look out on behalf of himself and the blind shrimp, alerting it to danger with a wiggle of its tail. In exchange, the shrimp keeps the burrow tidy. Stop to watch it bulldoze the sand and pebbles away from the burrow with its claws. We also regularly see octopus hunting or mating in the shallows, and the occasional blue-ringed octopus flashing its vibrant spots in warning.
Guests are welcome to dive the house reef in buddy pairs anytime from 8.00am to 8.00pm if booked on an unlimited dive package.