Cenderawasih Bay, where whale sharks gather with the fishermen


Cenderawasih Bay, here on the east coast of West Papua, Indonesia, is the next frontier in distant Indonesian diving offering whale shark as the main attraction. Whereas Raja Ampat in West Papua, is still considered a remote location by many, Cenderawasih Bay is much more off the track. Diving is only allowed here for five months a year, thus the dive spots are relatively unspoiled and untouched.

Cenderawasih Bay offers clean, serene waters and a diverse range of diving opportunities, including encounters with whale sharks and marine animals, outstanding macro, and some noteworthy Japanese WWII wrecks. Expect spectacular cliffs with extensive sponge life and schooling fish on the outer archipelagos, while numerous and healthy reefs could be found throughout the area’s 18 islands.

whale shark gathering in bagan for food.
source :

How to go to Cenderawasih Bay

Access to Cenderawasih Bay is limited only to liveaboards, so the only way to go there is by a liveaboard cruise. Liveaboard cruise usually start from Manokwari so you need to make a domestic flight from international airport to Manokwari. Cruises usually only go there when the weather is good, which is at around July to October when the water is clear and calm. Still, expect some rain in your journey cause rain can happen anytime.

What you can do in Cenderawasih Bay

Source :

In Cenderawasih Bay, the main attraction is swimming with the whale shark. But if you’re not into swimming, you can also view them from above the water. The whale shark came to the bagan by themself to get some fish from the fishermen. And the fishermen would hand feed some puri fish to the whale shark for good luck. You can also dive into the action and feed them yourself, by paying a sum of fee to the fishermen. If you’re lucky you can meet a school of whale shark when you visit there. The whale shark come to these area all year long. Unlike in other places where they can only be found at a certain time.

You can also meet another animal beside whale shark. You can also spot another smaller creatures like dolphins and turtles decorated with colorful corals and fishes. There are also tiny seahorse called pygmy seahorse filled with little spots on its body.

A collection of haunting WWII-era shipwrecks surrounding Manokwari and Biak depict West Papua’s stormy past. The Shinwa Maru, the most impressive of the wrecks, is located in 30 meters of water. The wreck can be viewed by less experienced divers, but only suitably trained divers should attempt to enter the wreck. More difficult wreck diving sites is available in these seas, with numerous sites well exceeding recreational diving restrictions. You’ll have plenty of time to tour Cenderawasih’s lesser-known local landmarks when you’re not diving the wrecks. Shallow, light-filled coral gardens, muck diving-friendly slopes, and infinite mangrove-studded coastal spots await.

Read more Komodo Island tour