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 earth can visitors experience such a range of spectacular diving - from encounters with huge whale sharks and oceanic manta rays, to muck dives with beautiful Rhinopias and the exceedingly rare psychedelic frogfish.
With 20 years experience and dive operations across Indonesia, Scuba Republic are able to offer unique yet affordable services with high levels of professionalism. Covering the entire eastern archipelago, Jaya caters to all experience levels of divers embarking on epic journeys from Komodo to Raja Ampat.
- 20 years of experience operating liveaboards in Indonesia
- Traditional phinisi schooner built by hand over 18-months
- Travels seasonally between Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park
Starting 20 years ago with their expedition liveaboard, Jaya, Scuba Republic have explored most of Indonesia’s remotest areas. Now encompassing a chain of dive operations, Scuba Republic offers unique yet affordable services and high levels of professionalism, experience and fun - all at great value for money. With some of the most comfortable liveaboards in Indonesia, and covering the entire eastern archipelago, Scuba Republic can cater to all divers. Their flagship liveaboard, the Jaya roams the seas seasonally between Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park, passing through the Banda Sea and Alor on its way.
Raja Ampat is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands and reefs surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo - the ‘Four Kings’ from which Raja Ampat takes its name. The area is part of the newly-created province of West Papua and, despite its allegiance to Indonesia, the islands of Raja Ampat feel very much like part of a different world. Although resorts are being developed throughout the archipelago and liveaboards run regular schedules around its famous sites, this string of beautiful islands still holds on to a lingering promise of exploration and discovery.
Papua is home to an incredible diversity of flora, fauna and cultures with the rugged terrain and relatively late development having helped to preserve the unique biological and cultural diversity. Much of the mainland is made inaccessible by rugged mountains and dense jungle and new endemic species are being discovered here every year. Below the surface of the sea, the rich reefs of Raja Ampat are a similar treasure trove of unique species; in fact, Cape Kri on Mansuar Island in the Dampier Strait holds the record for the most number of fish species recorded on a single dive. Raja Ampat is so species-rich and such a vital area for reef conservation that the entire area has been protected as part of the Bird’s Head Seascape.
Komodo National Park is situated close to the coast of Flores, with Sumbawa and the Sape Strait to the west. Covering over 1,730 square kilometres, the park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. The park’s rugged terrain is dominated by jagged peaks and mountain slopes covered in dry savannah and dense stands of deciduous forests. Erosion has carved the coastlines of the islands into deep bays, inlets, channels and isolated beaches, creating some of Indonesia’s most spectacular scenery. Locations such as Komodo’s ‘Pink Beach’ and the incredible view from Padar looking across back-to-back, circular bays, are worth the trip alone!
Komodo’s dramatic landscape continues beneath the waves and the waters are some of the richest marine environments in the world. In fact, the reefs, channels, seagrass beds and mangroves are home to over 1000 species of fish and 250 species of corals. The channel surrounding theses islands funnels huge volumes of water between the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in nutrient-rich upwellings and dramatic currents that sweep past the islands, creating the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of marine life and superb diving. The national park was founded in 1980 to protect its infamous resident - the Komodo dragon. This extraordinary species is the world’s largest land-dwelling reptile and can still be observed in the wild on both Komodo and Rinca islands.
Scuba Republic’s expedition vessel, Jaya, was built by hand in 1999, and designed as a six-sailed, traditional Phinisi schooner. Today, it moves seasonally between Komodo and Raja Ampat, hitting all the top spots in each region, and accommodating up to 14 guests below deck in 4 twin cabins and 2 triple cabins, each equipped with air-con and power sockets. The shared bathrooms provide freshwater showers, shampoo and soap. On the upper deck, guests can find a shaded area with 4 small separate tables and round-the-edge seating, providing plenty of space for lounging, eating or enjoying the scenery. The sundeck is equipped with beanbags for napping, sunbathing or stargazing.
Jaya’s dive deck incorporates plenty of tank spaces around the edge and a central area for storing fins and masks, hanging space for wetsuits, and freshwater containers for torches and cameras. DIN tanks and battery charging stations are available. Additional safety features onboard Jaya include life rafts, life jackets, emergency positioning radio beacon, fire alarm, fire extinguisher and emergency oxygen kit. Jaya’s experienced captain has been running the boat since the very beginning, bringing exceptional knowledge and experience to the trip. Prices include 3 meals a day, light snacks, tea, coffee, and drinking water as well as fresh towels and linen.
Jaya’s 7 day ‘Best of Dampier’ trip departs from Waisai, completing a check dive at Friwen Bonda, a beautiful reef teeming with colourful fish. Start the next day with a drift dive at Sardine or Chicken Reef before slowly moving towards Arborek Island to explore the south side of Pulau Mansuar where two spectacular jetty dives await you at Yenbuba and Sawandarek village. Enjoy a dive at Citrus Ridge and then move north to dive Chanel No.5 and Pearl Farm Pier. Off the southeastern coast of Kawe guests can see majestic manta rays and eagle rays and finish the day with a dive at Eagle Rock. Wake up with a dive at My Reef, followed by Melissa’s Garden and moving on to Kerou Channel. Towards the end of the trip, guests can experience famous sites such as Mayhem, Manta Ridge and Blue Magic, followed by one final dive on the last day, before heading back to Waisai.
Jaya departs from Labuan Bajo, heading for the National Park and reaching Sabayur Kecil for a check dive in the afternoon. The following day is spent exploring the north of the park, visiting adrenaline-filled sites such as Crystal Rock, Castle Rock and Cauldron. Enjoy the rocky canyons and vibrant coral gardens of the Golden Passage before heading east to sites including Tatawa Besar and Siaba Besar. Continue exploring the Lintah Strait, hoping for mantas at Makassar, pelagic at Batu Bolong and leaf scorpionfish at Mauan. On the final day of the trip, the Jaya searches for rare creatures including sea moths and frogfish at Wainilu before trekking with Komodo Dragons on Rinca and heading back to Labuan Bajo.