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The Great Projects

Marine Conservation & Diving Assistant

Raja Ampat , Indonesia

Dive unexplored reefs and partake in marine conservation amongst the islands of the intrepid Raja Ampat archipelago.

About this Program

This truly breathtaking marine paradise of white, sandy beaches and sparkling, turquoise waters is located in the East Indonesia/West Papua region of the coral triangle. Loosely translated as ‘the four kings’, Raja Ampat is made up of over 1500 small islands and cays, although only 35 of them are inhabited. Many of the islands remain unexplored and reefs are yet to be dived, making it one of the few remaining scuba diving frontiers in the world. Raja Ampat has the highest known concentration and diversity of marine life on earth within its waters. This marine ecosystem is a major, global priority for ocean conservation and the full extent of its importance as an ecosystem is only now being uncovered. The oceans which surround Raja Ampat contain a staggering 80% of the world’s coral species, which is ten times the number of species found in the entire Caribbea. These include 1350 species of fish, six endangered marine turtle species and 27 varieties of marine mammal. This level of biodiversity is truly unequalled anywhere in the world. 

Despite the threats facing this marine environment, the reefs are showing remarkable resistance to global marine issues such as climate change, coral bleaching and disease. Larvae naturally produced here, is swept across the oceans to replenish the reefs.  This naturally supports healthy ecosystems and sustainable subsistence fishing for poor villages. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that Raja Ampat remains as biodiverse as possible, and that its species continue to thrive.

Understanding that the long-term protection of this special environment cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty, the program works with the local communities - educating, improving equality of life and aiming to alleviate poverty once and for all. There are a number of community programs and initiatives for you to get involved with around the twice daily dives, which makes for a truly rewarding marine conservation volunteer experience.

Prior to Arrival

You must hold a valid passport to enter Indonesia. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry to Indonesia. For a visit of up to 30 days, citizens of the UK, the USA and nations in the European Economic Area can obtain a single-entry visa on arrival for free when first entering Indonesia(this is for 30 days maximum). There is  also an option which costs US$35 for a visit of up to 30 days which can then be extended at an Indonesian embassy for another 30 days. Alternatively, you can apply for a 60 day tourist visa before travel from your local Indonesian Embassy. 

Dive Equipment Rental

If you need to rent equipment the following items are available for rental on-site (costs are per week and in Pounds Sterling £):

Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) - £10
Full regulator set (1st, 2nd stage, Octopus and SPG) - £10
Mask & Snorkel - £10
Wet suit - £10
Fins & Dive boots - £15
Dive Computer (Compulsory) - £20 (£150 refundable deposit needed)

Padi Manuals and PIC Cards
If you are not already qualified, you will also need to purchase the PADI manuals and PIC cards in advance for both the Open Water Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications as it's not possible to purchase these on site.

Typical day

First Day

You will be met at the Je Meridien Hotel at 8am by a program facilitator who will transfer you to the ferry port (opposite the  JeMeridien Hotel) to catch a boat to the program site on Arborek Island. Upon arrival you will spend the rest of the day settling in, exploring the program site and meeting your fellow volunteers. This is the perfect time in which to take in the beauty of Raja Ampat - one of the most pristine marine environments anywhere on earth!

Please note: On arrival in Waisai you will need to pay 1,000,000 IDR (around £50) for the Raja Ampat Marine Reserve Fee. This will need to be paid in cash in the local currency.

Regular Days

A typical weekday on the program consists of two survey dives and time spent on one or more of the numerous community programs within the local area. Depending on the weather conditions, you will either start the first survey dive at 9am or visit the local community to assist on a community program. After lunch you will go back out to complete another survey-dive.

If you are unqualified, you will complete your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications the first week.

Typical activities you can expect to be involved in are: 

Coral reef conservation and monitoring:
This will be conducted via two research dives a day from Monday to Friday. The main purpose of this is to produce detailed coastal habitat maps of the surrounding area for use in advising local government and communities on Marine Protected Areas. All volunteers will be involved in our reef check programme which is done to monitor how healthy the reef is and is done over a long period so we and Reef Check Indonesia (who we will share the data with), can monitor the health of the reef and then advise the local government accordingly. If you are only joining for 2 weeks you would most likely not be involved in our habitat map program, as you would need to learn a lot before undertaking this, however, it is not impossible.

Working within local communities:
You will not only be involved in marine conservation activities but all volunteers can also get involved with teaching English to the school children and other community members as well as providing education on environmental issues and eco-tourism. You may also be involved in a range of other activities including livelihood diversification workshops if they are being run during your stay.

Beach Clean-Ups:
This is an essential part of the work here as it ensures that the marine environment stays in as pristine condition as possible. As with everywhere in the world, rubbish is beginning to be a major issue here so cleaning it up is essential, ultimately helping to safeguard this incredible archipelago.

Encourage entrepreneurial attitudes:
The ultimate aim of this is to deter local communities from unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing. This is always going on behind the scenes by our community team in the village, just through spending time with the locals and discussing how we can help them set up their own business, or support/help grow the ones they currently have (for example helping a homestay design/make leaflets to get more customers). This is something you may be able to take part in whilst on the program with volunteers staying for longer durations (4 weeks plus) having a higher chance.

Manta ray monitory programme:
Volunteers wishing to participate in the manta ray monitor programme are trained to recognize key characteristics, markings and behaviours of these gentle giants, as well as their ecology, biology and conservation. Remember however that manta ray sightings cannot be guaranteed! All volunteers have the chance to be involved in this activity although between June and October we scale down the amount of manta research dives we do due to seasonality; however, we still do them and try to find other manta ray sites also. Therefore, during June to October manta ray surveys will still occur but the likelihood of seeing them is reduced.

Last Day

Unfortunately today is your last day and you will transfer back to Sorong for one final night before catching your return flight home or for commencement of independent travel plans.

Details on Arrival

The project has set start dates depending on diving experience.

Start Dates for non qualified and PADI Open Water qualified divers -

September 13th, October 11th, November 7th, December 5th

January 3rd, January 31st, February 28th, March 28th, April 25th, May 23rd, June 20th, July 18th, August 15th, September 12th, October 10th, November 7th, December 5th 

Start dates for PADI Advanced Open Water divers -
September 20th, October 18th, November 15th, December 13th

January 10th, February 7th, March 7th, April 4th, May 2nd, May 30th, June 27th, July 25th, August 22nd, September 19th, October 17th, November 14th, December 12th

Please note you will need to arrive in Sorong the day before your chosen start date and book accommodation for this night. We recommend booking the Je Meridien hotel as this is where you will meet the project coordinator at 8:00am on your start date. After the project finishes you will again need to spend one final night back in Sorong and book accommodation for this night, then fly out the next day.

Free-time activities

Scuba diving is not only done during the daily survey dives but also during your free time. The marine life here is second to none and therefore it is essential for you to get under-water as much as possible! Saturdays are therefore set aside for leisure dives.

Sunday is a complete no dive day to allow recovery time. This time can be spent sunbathing, playing beach volleyball or football, swimming, snorkelling, exploring the island or visiting the local village.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Divers require a fairly high level of fitness and good lung capacity – you needn’t be an athlete but you must be relatively fit and healthy! In terms of skills, if you are already a certified PADI diver, you will be able to begin this project with marine conservation volunteering work, having regular opportunities to improve your PADI dive skills throughout the program. If you are an un-qualified diver, you will begin the program with a week’s training course to become PADI certified.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Great Projects.
Services by The Great Projects
  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals a day, tea, coffee and filtered water
  • Scuba diving training courses for divers (ONLY for Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Emergency First Response courses. For Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses there is an additional fee)
  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) & Regulator hire for the first week (unqualified divers only)
  • Tanks, air, weights & weight belts (All divers)
  • Comprehensive Science Training Programme
  • All dives (twelve a week where possible)
  • PADI Emergency First Response course
  • 24hr field support staff
  • Transfers between Waisai Port to Basecamp

Accommodation is provided in a stunning, beach-front location, just metres from the calm, crystal clear ocean. The accommodation comprises of dormitory-style beach bungalows. Each bungalow has been hand-built by the local community using traditional methods and materials. You will be provided with a bunk bed, mattress, pillow, basic linen (you may wish to bring a light sleeping bag) and mosquito net, along with a fan for each room. The bungalows are usually same-sex sharing, however this cannot be guaranteed. They also have a power supply so you can recharge cameras and phones. Accommodation is basic but comfortable.

Please note the island now has a new bungalow with 2 rooms. A private room in this, right on the beach, will be available for those that want to upgrade. This private room in a shared beach bungalow will cost an extra £120 per week and is good for couples travelling together – please enquire for more details.

Dorm Room Bungalow
Food & Beverages

Three meals a day are provided (specific diets are catered for). Meals are based upon local cuisine and seasonal availability of locally produced food, prepared and cooked by local staff, except on Sundays when expedition staff & volunteers will prepare and cook all meals.

Water - Drinking water is included in the expedition fee (22 gallons of water are bought from Waisai during the weekly food runs) however you may wish to purchase additional bottles and place them in the freezer. You will need to bring a drinking container with you to fill up for the dive boat, as the project staff try to limit the waste being produced. 

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Sorong Airport (SOQ) in Sorong. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
3 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Raja Ampat /Indonesia between 3 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Indonesia.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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