Diving in Manokwari West Papua


Diving in Manokwari

Manokwari West Papua

West Papua is a province of Indonesia on the Western end of Papua Island. It covers the Bird's Head (or Doberai) Peninsula and surrounding islands. The province has a population of approximately 800,000, making it one of the least populous of all Indonesian provinces. West Papua is rich in unique plants and animals, some of them beautiful and others downright weird. The largest indigenous land animal is not a mammal but a bird, the flightless, ostrich-like cassowary. Many of the island's native mammals are marsupials, and one, the hedgehog-like echidna, lays eggs. West Papua has the richest concentration of plant life in all of Indonesia, and perhaps in the entire world. The capital of West Papua is in Manokwari.

Diving in Manokwari

Shinwa Maru Friendly Spirit

With population of 130,407, Manokwari inhabits 12 districts with 132 villages. Manokwari town, also known as Fruit Town, was the first post of the Netherlands New Guinea Government in Irian Barat (the former name for Papua). It was also the first place from where the Gospel was introduced to the Irianese by Ottow and Geisler, two Protestant pastors who landed there on February 5, 1855. It sits at Dare Bay, Site of Captain John Hayes' first ill-fated settlement in 1793. Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace had concentration of plant life in all of Indonesia, and perhaps in the entire world.

With special request, you can schedule a trip to dive the shipwrecks in the Manokwari/Dore Bay area on the East side of Papua's " Bird's Head " Peninsula. Although there are wrecks all over the Sorong and Raja Ampat area, Dore Bay is protected from wind and waves and has good visibility. The wrecks here are intact, very little has been removed from them even though they sit in shallow water The wrecks are covered with corals and sponges and are home to many species of marine life. Mainly are shipwrecks but also one aircraft.


One of favorite wreck dives is a shipwreck marked with a large cross, the landing spot of the first Christian missionaries to Irian Jaya. 200 meters off the beach, the ship stands upright in a patch of white sand in 18 m of water. The wreck, overgrown by hard and soft corals is surrounded by fish life. The ship's lamps still stand in place or la 1 on the deck, blown down by the explosion the rear of the ship one can see two rows of depth charges. Wreck certified divers could penetrate into the engine room. At night the ship comes alive with corals showing their polyps. Huge Napolean wrasse and hump head parrotfish choose the Cross Wreck for their evening's resting place. You will often see 2 huge Napoleon wrasse of 2 m each and 10 hump head parrotfish from 1-.25 m in length!   Back to top


In early 1999, Max found the wreck of this P40 aircraft underwater that was shot down during th e war. The pilot's son, who was only 1 year old at the time of the crash, never knew his father and until '99, never knew what had become of him. The son is currently learning to dive and plans to come to Manokwari to dive this wreck in 2000. The aircraft at 27 m depths is in good condition considering the crash and very recognizable. Its tail section and the wing tips came off when it hit the water and are lying nearby.   Back to top


Shinwa Maru is the most impressive of the wrecks. Its 120+ m. length lies on its port side starting at 16 m to a maximum of 34 m of seawater. The ship was bombed while sailing and has huge holes, one on the starboard side and one in the bottom. It is loaded with mine sweeping equipment, technical equipment, car batteries, cables ammunition, sake bottles, etc. some of which have fallen out though the hole in the side. Two diving helmets are especially worth a look and photos. This shipwreck is not as densely covered in corals as the Cross Wreck, but is home to many schooling jacks and loads of pipefish! The bridge's wooden floors have long since collapsed, and the instruments tumbled to the sea floor below. All is still there, rows of portholes, storage rooms full of equipment, kitchenware everywhere (even chopsticks) and lots of sake bottles. The Shinwa Maru was a cargo ship, possibly a 1 904 British made vessel.   Back to top

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