Crazy anchoring in Raja Ampat

Anchoring in most of Raja Ampat has been challenging to say the least. Depths of 100 feet and more are common; so are strong currents. We experienced this both in the island north of Sorong, and south near Misool. The deep water plus strong current is a difficult combination, especially when you throw in the squalls that this equatorial zone mixes into daily weather. But as a friend of ours likes to say- if this were easy, everyone would be doing it!

When the conservation team we met near Misool offered to guide us to a secure spot with good protection- and a mooring- we happily accepted their offer.

Misool conservation crew
They took pictures of us on their cameras & phones, so I had mine taken with them

The entrance is so wedged between tall limestone islets that we wrote it off as being much too small when we passed it by previously. The tiny channel does open up more than we realized, and under their guidance we find ourselves inside a maze of karst (limestone) islands. It is absolutely stunning.

Misool conservation crew
You want us to go in there?
The recommended mooring turns out to be inadequate- we might use it for our dinghy, but not Totem. The anchorage they have in mind is also very deep- the best we find is still about 130’. Then, the area is so small, that even putting out all our scope (and still being just shy of 3:1) doesn’t makes sense – we’d risk hitting the rock walls of the islets around. So it’s lines to shore: two from the bow, one from the stern.

No anchor- just lines to shore
Too deep to anchor, we only have lines- with chafe gear- holding Totem to shore

This little nook proves to be a haven. It’s a safe place where the kids can run a cycle of jumping off the boat to swim for hours while we explore the reef nearby…a haven from the wind and seas just a short distance away, outside our little karst maze.

Tucked away
Totem tucked into a little nook. Reefs prevent passage between the visible islets

We are just a few boat lengths away from reef walls where the karst islands plunge straight down into the water. During the days to come, we range around the small archipelago by dinghy to explore for more places to stick our heads underwater. Again and again, we keep coming back to our little parking spot to snorkel. EVERYTHING is good, but you can’t beat just jumping in off the mother ship.

3 Responses to Crazy anchoring in Raja Ampat

  1. Nico Nieuwendijk March 13, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    I just realized, by noticing the archive, that I’ve been following your blog for years and not once have I told you that I’m enjoying it very much; in fact, it’s one of the best among numerous cruising blogs. Have a wonderful and safe trip! ☼

    • Behan Gifford March 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      Nico, it pretty much made my day to see your comment. Thank you!

  2. Bettie del Mar March 15, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    That looks like the greatest anchorage ever. How gorgeous!

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