The island nation of Indonesia straddles the equator between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and lies at the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’ - the epicentre of the world’s marine biodiversity. Nowhere on ...
The Kaimana Marine Protected Area - with Triton Bay at its heart - is the final frontier of diving in Indonesia. First surveyed in just 2006, the entire region is still being explored and new dive sites are being located every year. With its unique underwater habitats, colourful soft corals, incredible fish life and endemic species, Triton Bay stands as a time capsule from the past - remote, pristine and awaiting exploration.
The diving in Triton Bay is quite distinct from other locations in West Papua. Rather than prolific hard corals and good visibility, Triton Bay’s high level of nutrients means reduced visibility, but a lot more fish life. In fact the high biomass of species such as grouper, sweetlips and snapper was one of the main reasons that led to Kaimana and Triton Bay being declared a Marine Protected Area. Dive sites in the bay are home to giant groupers, napoleon wrasse, eagle rays, schooling barracuda and jacks and a huge range of other reef fish, including clouds of baitfish, anthers, fusiliers and surgeonfish which gather in huge numbers to feed on the rich plankton. Triton Bay is also home to some very interesting macro diving - including flasher wrasse and pygmy seahorses - and is great for spotting wobbegong and walking sharks.
Triton Bay’s dive sites are characterised by beautiful carpets of colourful soft corals, huge black coral bushes that appear green underwater, cascades of boulders that tumble down into the depths, current swept islands in narrow channels, sheltered bays and reefs, dramatic overhangs and caverns, walls and pinnacles. The wide range of underwater scenery mirrors the incredible biodiversity that can be found in Triton Bay. Today there are a number of established sites - including Black Forest, Little Komodo, Aquarium, Larry’s Heaven, Batu Jeruk, Batu Jatuh, Bo’s Rainbow and Disneyland - that were first discovered whilst the bay was surveyed, but more are being discovered every season. There are also blue water mangroves dives and if you are luckily, Bryde’s whales can be seen around the bay.
One of Triton Bay’s biggest draws are the whale sharks which congregate around fishing platforms known as ‘bagans’ to feed on anchovies and other baitfish caught in the nets. These platforms target different species of fish at different times of year so encounters with the whale sharks are never guaranteed. But if divers time their visit to the dark of the moon when the fishing around the bagans is at its best, they stand a very good chance of swimming with these huge sharks.
Many of the dive sites in Triton Bay are perfect for snorkelers as well as divers. The marine life is prolific and the the reefs shallow and easily accessible. Given the reduced visibility in the bay, as well as the extremely remote location and range of other choices that offer such good snorkeling, Triton Bay may not be the best destination for non-divers or snorkelers, butit is certainly possible. And snorkeling guests always have the opportunity to encounter the giants of the sea - whale sharks!
Triton Bay is located in the far south of the Bird’s Head Seascape in West Papua, about as far from civilisation in Indonesia as it is possible to be! At the mouth of the bay lie a number of islands - Namatota in the northwest and Aiduma and Dramai to the southeast - which funnel currents into the bay and create the perfect conditions for the growth of soft corals in the nutrient-rich waters. To the east and west of Triton Bay are large estuarine areas that have effectively isolated Triton Bay’s marine creatures and helped to create the unique habitats and endemic species that are found today.
Triton Bay was first surveyed by scientists in 2006 who recommended the creation of the Kaimana Marine Protected Area that now extends along the coast either side of Triton Bay. The scientists’ attention was drawn to the large numbers of bigger reef fish such as grouper and snapper, the unusual soft corals and black corals that dominate the underwater landscape in Triton Bay and the many endemic species that they discovered. The survey team also noted that the Kaimana area is an important turtle nesting area, has a population of Bryde’s whales, whale sharks and probably spawning grounds for groupers - testament to the pristine conditions in this incredible area.
Like much of Misool and Raja Ampat in West Papua, Triton Bay has spectacular scenery with dramatic karst cliffs, isolated pinnacles and islands, and beautiful deserted beaches. However, their is plenty of evidence to suggest humans have lived in and around Triton Bay for thousands of years and in several areas, prehistoric rock art decorates the limestone cliffs. Perhaps these ancient artists where drawn to the incredible marine life that attracts divers to Triton Bay today.
The closest airport and sole point of entry is Kaimana to the northwest of the bay. The easiest route in is to fly from Jakarta via Ambon or Sorong. Garuda and Lion both have services to Kaimana, but the Garuda service flies overnight so visitors arrive early in Kaimana - perfect timing to meet the onwards boat - and the airline also has a great deal with additional luggage allowance for divers. It is also possible to fly from Bali, but this involves stops in Makassar and Ambon, before reaching Sorong and on to Kaimana.
From Kaimana, Triton Bay Divers on Aiduma Island is 30 kms by boat.
Currently there is just a single resort in the Triton Bay area - the aptly named Triton Bay Divers on Aiduma Island. A number of liveaboards also visit the bay and the islands further north, either as part of extended Raja Ampat trips or as part of trips to the Forgotten Islands in the Banda Sea.
Triton Bay has two main wet seasons - November and December, then July and August. However, the diving season is dominated by the winds that arrive with the south east monsoon from June to September. These strong winds can create rough conditions in and around Triton Bay, making diving very difficult. Like in Misool, the resort closes down during this period and liveaboards will focus on other areas.
The rough summer seas bring with them cool water so the period immediately after the monsoon - from September to December - can be very good. The water is cooler and visibility is less, but the fish life is incredible and there are plenty of ‘critters’ to find. Triton Bay begins to warm up again from December to May which brings better visibility. Water temperatures are between 26 - 28C in the cooler months, 26 - 29 or even 30C in the warmer months.
Fancy two weeks to explore some of Indonesia’s finest diving in the pristine surroundings of Triton Bay? This package includes accommodation for 14 nights, transfers on the resort’s weekly transport boat, 30 dives plus a trip to see the local whale sharks. Prices for single occupancy are available, as well as packages if you would like to do less diving. Please let us know your preferences when making your booking.