The Scuba Place spent January 2023 exploring four different resorts in Indonesia. This is Part Four and their Trip Report on Triton Bay Divers.
Related: Dive Indonesia: Lembeh Resort Trip Report (Part One)
Related: Dive Indonesia: Murex Bangka Trip Report (Part Two)
Related: Dive Indonesia: Murex Manado Trip Report (Part Three)
“Remote, and Worth It” is the strap-line for Triton Bay Divers, this tiny island resort literally in the middle of nowhere – read on to find out if our experience agrees with this opening statement!
Most divers will have heard of the Coral Triangle – THE place to be when it comes to the best diving on the Planet. This is a bold statement we agree and despite the arguments from the fanatical wreck or cold-water divers, in our opinion, it is pretty accurate!
The Birdshead Seascape is considered to be the epicentre of the Coral Triangle, and the three land masses that surround this area are Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay and you guessed it – Triton Bay. Right in the very middle of the very best place to be – it sounds almost too good to be true!
Triton Bay is some 30 nautical miles from Kaimana, and the journey is all part of the Triton experience. A 90-minute speedboat ride through some of the most spectacular scenery you have ever seen. Speeding across some open ocean stretches, and then zipping through the channels between the islands, up close to the cliff face where the jungle competes with the rock for dominance, and the sea erodes the cliffs, making dramatic vistas in every direction. The bagan (fishing) platforms dot the horizon and are about the only hint of other people you will see.
Our crossing had us arriving right at sunset, one of the most spectacular that we have ever seen, and as we came around the final turn into Triton Bay Divers Resort, I can only say that it genuinely had an emotional impact. This place is, quite simply, breath-taking.
Imagine a mountain face, covered in jungle and palms, coming right down to the shoreline where powder-soft white sand borders the lagoon. On that beach, picture a small collection of authentic bungalows on stilts, each separated by palm trees, and each with a small terrace overlooking the bay. This could literally be the place where Bounty adverts were made! Remote – yes. Stunningly beautiful – yes to that too!
Stiff legs after the speedboat ride may have hampered the climbing out of the boat and onto the beach, and then the sand, as soft as flour straight from the mill, made our first few steps awkward, but nothing will take away the memory of arriving here! Bags are carried to your rooms, all of three to four metres away. Unload the dive kit into the crate provided, settle in, and relax. And then relax again, just to make sure you do it properly!
Each bungalow is a detached timber chalet sitting up on blocks with 4 steps (high enough to keep you dry at high tide), that lead to a timber deck – the perfect place to sit and watch the clouds float by. Inside, there is either a king bed or two single beds, a desk and ‘camera’ table, and an open wardrobe, together with a water dispenser. The four poster beds are draped with mosquito nets and a ceiling fan keeps the air moving. The rooms are very well-ventilated with double doors to the front and large windows to each side. The ensuite bathroom to the back is open-air and surrounded by a high wall ensuring total privacy.
We were a little concerned about the lack of air-conditioning, but the building design and warm breezes coming off the sea make this far less of an issue than we anticipated. Leaving the doors open all night was our approach, and this was quite magical – like sleeping in the wild – especially when joined by a snack-hunting vole!
Triton Bay offers full board with three meals a day plus snacks late in the afternoon. Breakfast is cereal or porridge, fresh fruit, toast and preserves, eggs to order, pancakes and other hot items. Tea, coffee, milk, fruit juice and water are always available from early in the morning, which we found excellent, being early risers. Lunch is typically a light meal – a main and dessert, and the evening meal is not dissimilar, but three courses. The style is very much local and authentic, and to us, absolutely delicious! Curries were mildly spiced with a separate dish of sambal always on the table for those who like it hot! Rice and noodles accompany most meals, and those with dietary preferences can be catered for if requested in advance. I ate one of the very best curries I have ever had here!
The pure beauty of this place makes you forget that you are there to dive, but three dive boats – between 6 rooms – are waiting to take you off to over 40 dive sites that can be found anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes away. You get it I am sure – you dive on your own or in very VERY small groups!
The vast majority of the dives are right next to the cliff faces of the small islands and pinnacles that are scattered throughout the area – you drop in on a sheer rock face and descend down to the reef, and then the sand beyond that if you fancy a critter dive – or do both! The maximum depth we hit during our trip was 28 metres – the vast majority of the dives are less than 25 metres, making for some very long dives. The guides are true experts with the keenest of eyesight – it is their backyard, and they know it well, finding subjects to order it seemed. I asked to see a Harlequin Shrimp, and they found four. Tiger Shrimp? Six. Blue-ringed Octopus – two ‘fighting’ and two more on their own, Wobbegongs? At least three – and the list goes on and on!
The reefs are immaculate and covered with huge soft and hard corals, packed to the brim with marine life. There are large rock formations, covered in colour, with overhangs and small caverns – the perfect place for a wobbegong to hide. There are reef shelves, walls, bommies and pinnacles, and then the sandy sea-bed where the critters hang out. This is, in our humble opinion, perhaps the most beautiful underwater landscape we have ever seen, totally untouched by people, and in the healthiest of conditions.
The list of stuff that we saw is endless, but it is safe to say that we saw creatures that we had never seen before on just about every dive. The Triton Bay walking shark, nudibranchs, crabs, squat lobsters, shrimp, wobbegongs, octopi and even 3 species of pygmy seahorse – we saw the lot! And it isn’t just the smaller marine life either – eagle rays, big sting rays, tuna and of course the turtles and wobbegongs, but to add to the list, whalesharks!
The whaleshark excursion is spectacular. An early start sees you navigating the bay under torchlight as you speed out in the dark to the open expanse of Triton Bay towards the fishing grounds. Here, the local bagans (boats with large platforms around them) drop their nets and light the water column, bringing in the bait fish. As the most spectacular sunrise lights up the sky for as far as you can see, pods of dolphins raced to the bagan grounds to join the whalesharks in their daily feeding. These huge animals used to damage the nets, so the fishermen keep back buckets of bait fish and sell them to the dive boats, and then throw the fish back into the water to the waiting whalesharks. To be in the water with these magnificent animals is always a pleasure, but we had our minds totally blown by having four full-size and one juvenile circling around us, feeding right in front of us, even knocking us out of the way! We had dolphins shooting through the group to grab a loose fish or two -the sound of their clicks and whistles was almost deafening!
After an adrenaline-fuelled hour, the beasties had had their fill and slowly vanished off into the distance – this was an experience of a lifetime, and we were totally lost for words on the way back – doing another dive en route of course!
Night dives were incredibly special too – take five paces from the dive centre and you are in the water. Make five fin-cycles and you are over the reef – staghorn coral everywhere, and the home of the famous Triton Bay walking shark or epaulette shark unique to this area. A huge turtle sleeping in a coral bommie, octopi and squid hunting, and critters a plenty add to the haul, but let’s be honest – it is all about the shark! And at twilight on the house reef you can watch (and attempt to photograph) the mating of a massive school of flasher wrasse.
One of the best things we found about staying at Triton Bay Divers was the surface intervals. Not often something we get excited about, but imagine zipping along the channel to a private, totally isolated beach after your dive. The crew makes hot drinks to order, and biscuits of all sorts were yummy, but the real pleasure was being in the middle of absolutely nowhere – not another person to be seen except your buddy and the dive guides, who give you all the space you want, as it is their break too. Not another boat or plane, just you and the scenery. Our surface intervals got longer and longer each day as we spent ages snorkelling on the shallow reefs – the dive crew literally had to pull us out of the water!
I honestly do not have the words to describe how beautiful and peaceful this place is – a Jurassic landscape, covered with jungle, mountains in the distance, and the softest and whitest of sandy beaches (one is actually pink, but that is another story!) with the most spectacular underwater environment we have ever experienced.
To a certain extent, it pains me to tell this story, as it is a special place to us personally, full of memories. So special we almost don’t want other divers to discover it!!!
It is remote…. Be prepared to totally unplug – there’s no wifi, no satellite tv, and the power is turned off from 11pm to 6am. You’ll hear the birds and the bugs, even the odd small rodent found its way into our bungalow.
But it is so special. Triton Bay Divers delivers not only fabulous diving but an emotional impact. It is truly breathtaking, and I am genuinely thankful that I had the opportunity to experience such a place.
Remote… but Definitely Worth It!
Note: We’ve received an exciting update from Leeza, the owner of Triton Bay Divers. They are currently building two new Garden View guest rooms, a camera room and a compressor room, as well as adding a larger faster speedboat to transport guests to the resort in more comfort. All these new additions are expected. to be in place for October 2023!
Key Facts :
- Getting there : Flights with Emirates Airlines to Manado depart from any major UK airport via Dubai and Jakarta or Singapore Airlines via Singapore and Jakarta. On Emirates from London Heathrow it was a 7-hour flight with a quick two-hour layover in Dubai followed by an 8-hour flight to Jakarta. We had a longer layover in Jakarta so we booked a room at FM7 Hotel, a quick 20 minutes from the airport for a much-needed shower and a kip. The comfortable double room was £36 and offers a free shuttle to and from the airport. We visited Sulawesi before heading to Triton Bay. We flew from Manado to Sorong and on to Kaimana. If you’re headed straight to Triton Bay you can fly from Jakarta to Kaimana. We were picked up at the airport by Triton Bay staff and after a quick drive we hopped on the resort boat for the two hour crossing.
- Air temperature : Tropical – average daily temperature throughout the year is 28-30°C, with the humidity at 85-90%. The area has two main seasons, and it is best to visit during the dryer months from October to early June.
- Water temperature : 26-29°C. A 1-3mm full suit or shorty will suit most.
- Visa requirement : Tourist visa is purchased on arrival or online for £30 or IDR 500,000 and is valid for 30 days.
- Health protocols : When we travelled, visitors were mandated to download an app “Pedulilindungi”. This required us to upload our proof of COVID vaccination and booster and approval was received within 24 hours. Upon arrival, we provided a QR code generated by the app, had our temperature taken and then we were off.
- Currency : Indonesian rupiah, US dollars or Euros on resort. We often find the exchange rate is better at the destination country. ATMs and exchange desks are available at the larger airports. There is no card machine (no wifi) so make sure you have adequate cash on hand
- Electricity : 230V with European style (round pin) two-prong plugs. Our adaptor worked without issue, and remember the power is turned off every night.
- Internet and Wi-Fi : There is little to no wifi at the resort. It’s the best place to totally unplug.
Price Guide: Expect from £4200 per person based on two sharing a Seaview Deluxe bungalow for a 10-night itinerary with full board and 24 dives. Return flights and transfers are included. A marine park fee of 1,000,000Rp (£60) is payable at resort. Other extras include soft drinks, beer and wine, purchased snacks and extra dives
Our Advice: With a long travel time consider the adding additional destinations in Indonesia to your trip. We visited Sulawesi prior to Triton Bay which made for an amazing and varied diving holiday. Let us help you design your dream dive holiday.
- Insect repellent : being this close to the water and with the jungle just steps away the mozzies came out at dawn and dusk. There’s always some spray at the bar for guests, but we were happy to have some in our bungalow as well.
- Rechargeable fan(s) : the resort shuts off the power generator at 11pm each night until 6am (or 4am if anyone is headed out to find the whalesharks) so a rechargeable fan or two was a necessity. They were also useful on domestic flights! Amazon has lots of options!
- Snorkel : make sure you tuck your snorkel into your dive bag and take it with you daily! We spent so many surface intervals with our faces in the water! There was always something to see!
- Snacks : we grabbed a few snacks at the local airport and the resort was happy to keep the bar fridge for us. Perfect for when that craving hit.