house reef in raja ampat

house reef dive raja ampat

World-class reef at your doorstep

Our House Reef is a shore dive, easily accessed at any time from either the end of the jetty, the Dive Centre, or the steps leading down from your Water Cottage accommodation. On a rising tide, jump off the end of the jetty and enjoy an easy drift North through the channel, which is exposed to variable current. Schooling horse-eyed jacks congregate under the pier, joined by massive schools of fusiliers and shoals of passing anchovies. Several very large groupers make their home in the depths under the jetty, and they often appear to inspect visitors to their reef. We regularly see large black tip reef sharks patrolling the deeper areas, as well as the occasional grey reef shark.

As you drift north through the channel, the topography shifts from a gentle slope to steep wall, festooned with colourful soft corals, huge gorgonian sea fans, and sea squirts and tunicates in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Careful inspection of the many rocky outcroppings, coral bommies, and overhangs is always rewarded with a treasure. A close look at Muricella and Annella sea fans often reveals the elusive Bargibanti and Denise pygmy seahorses. Large and colourful crinoids often cling to the fans as well, hosting a menagerie of colour-coordinated cling fish, crinoid shrimp, and arrowhead crabs.

If you time your dive just right, you'll have a good chance of seeing the stunning Mandarin Fish, who make their appearance just before sunset. A little patience will be rewarded with a display of their wildly psychedelic courtship ritual. They are joined by the spectacular displays of several species of Flasher Wrasse. We also regularly spot the newly-discovered 'walking' Epaulette Shark in the shallows, scooting along with their pectoral fins and hunting for their next meal.

You'll also find innumerable species of nudibranchs and flatworms. These range from the gaily coloured black and orange spotted Nembrotha to the huge white Ardeadoris egretta, edged with a lemon yellow frill. It's not unusual to spot up to 10 different species of nudibranchs and flatworms on a single dive. The reef wall is also home to an unrivalled variety of soft corals, hard corals, and sponges, in all colours of the spectrum. We've even got fluorescent hard corals!

The House Reef is particularly well suited to photographers and those who enjoy observing unusual animal behaviour. Inspect holes in the sandy substrate and you may find the unlikely duo of goby and shrimp. These two share a burrow: the goby keeps a look out on behalf of himself and the blind shrimp, alerting it to danger with a wiggle of its tail. In exchange, the shrimp keeps the burrow tidy. Stop to watch it bulldoze the sand and pebbles away from the burrow with its claws. We also regularly see octopus hunting or mating in the shallows, and the occasional blue-ringed octopus flashing its vibrant spots in warning.

If you haven't seen it already, we recommend the 'Shallow Seas' episode of the BBC series 'Life.' Peter Schoons and his team spent 6 weeks filming on our House Reef to capture the sequence of anemone fish tending their brood! Also be sure to watch our promotional video, with a segment filmed exclusively on our House Reef.

Click on an album to the right to see more images.

 





 
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