miso2Indonesia Diving Holidays | Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat

Misool Eco Resort is an exclusive dive resort and conservation centre located in remote southern Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Our private resort island is nestled deep in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, in the very epicentre of marine biodiversity.

Our island and our scuba diving sites are surrounded by our own 1220 sq km (465 sq mi/300,000 acre) No-Take Zone, and inside the 46,000 sq km Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary which we helped to create. We are located 165 km (105 miles) from the nearest port, and the nearest village is 20 km away by boat.

Our resort island, Batbitim, is a true tropical hideaway, just south of the equator and fringed with powder-white beaches and pristine coral reefs. With a maximum capacity of just 32 guests and a staff-to-guest ratio of 3 to 1, we offer exclusive diving holidays, surrounded by the world’s richest reefs.

Your stay at Misool Eco Resort directly supports our numerous conservation initiatives and provides sustainable employment opportunities to local people, entirely decoupled from the extraction of marine resources.

Misool Eco Resort’s Conservation Centre is a registered Indonesian charity called Misool Baseftin. Our approach to conservation is broad, ranging from reef restoration projects with our Rangers, building kindergartens in local villages, and steering legislation on the new Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary we helped to create along with Shark Savers in October 2010. Here are just a few of our Conservation Centre’s ongoing projects:

Ranger Patrol: Our 1220 sq km No-Take Zone is patrolled by our team of 10 local Rangers. Using 2 dedicated boats, our Rangers enforce the regulations of our area, which include a complete ban on fishing, netting, shark finning, harvesting of turtles or their eggs, bombing, use of cyanide or potassium borate, etc. Thanks to diligent and relentless patrolling, the incidence of infractions is now extremely low. You can read more about our Ranger Patrol and our No-Take Zone here.

Kindergarten Project, Fafanlap: In late 2010 we expanded our No-Take Zone to encompass the Daram Islands to the east. As part of the lease agreement with the local community and in partnership with Seacology and WildAid, we agreed to build a kindergarten in their village of Fafanlap. Construction started in late 2011, and we expect the first pupils to enroll in mid-2012.

Misool Manta Project: In August 2011, our team beginning sifting and collating several years‘ worth of photos and videos from our nearby manta cleaning station. Using the distintive markings on the manta’s belly, we have identified individuals and created a database. This contributes valuable data to our knowledge of manta migration patterns and behaviour. We can also track interactions between different species of mantas, follow breeding patterns, and note seasonal variations. This information is a great tool to help us build the case for escalating protection of manta rays. Guests enjoy our ‚Manta Researcher for a Day‘ program, which includes a master class on manta morphology and behaviour, a data collection dive, and an evening debrief to ID individual mantas.

Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary: In October 2010, we presented the Raja Ampat government with a petition signed by over 8,500 people, encouraging them to protect sharks and manta rays. Together with Shark Savers, we were able to pursuade the head of Raja Ampat to establish a sanctuary for the entire 17,000 sq mi/46 million hectares of Raja Ampat. We built the case on the economic value of these creatures – they’re worth so much more alive than dead to the people of Raja Ampat. We also sited data on the possible ecosystem collapse pursuant to the elimination of apex predators. We are currently collaborating with international NGOs and the government to create enforcement strategies as well as to move the law up through the different levels of legislations.

Reef Restoration Project: We have investigated several different methods for restoring reefs which have been damaged. Our first attempt was in 2007, when our staff created an armature using old bits of iron rebar. We invited three generations of underwater-enthusiasts from the local village to help us install the structure. You can read that newsletter here. Several years on, the structure is covered in soft corals as well as hard corals. Our Dive Centre also runs a ‚Reef Restoration Experience‘ for our guests. Guests enjoy an indepth presentation about reef building corals, which is followed by a dive on a nearby patch of damaged reef. Together with the guides and sometimes joined by our Rangers, guests collect small bits of naturally disturbed hard corals and afix them to a stable substrate. It is especially gratifying for repeat guests – how rewarding to check in on how their handiwork has grown between visits!

Ranger Station Project: we are currently building a series of Ranger Stations in strategic areas of our No-Take Zone. These outposts allow the Rangers to camp in areas particularly vulnerable to exploitation, such as turtle nesting beaches and shark nurseries. The base stations also greatly reduce our fuel expenditure.

Dive Guide Training Program: We hope that one day, all our dive guides will be drawn from the local community. We’ve created a training program, offering Open Water diving certificates to interested staff from all departments. From those certified divers, quite a few have shown particular interest and enthusiasm. They have now moved full-time into our Dive Guide Training Program. It takes years to become a knowledgable and skilled Misool Eco Resort dive guide, but Alan and Maliki are well on their way!

School Library Project: We currently support libraries in the local schools. The head of our Ranger Patrol, Razak Tamher, had a great idea to create a mobile library, bringing books from village to village. This program was so popular that ultimately we established permanent libraries in 2 different schools. We have donated furnishings like book shelves, colourful beanbag chairs, wall-sized maps, and of course books to the libraries. We also ask our guests to consider bringing a few easy-to-read English language books.

School Teacher Sponsorship: The local villages lack the resources to pay the wages of school teachers. We currently pay for the monthly wages of six teachers in three villages. Tourism for Tomorrow Finalist