Raja Ampat Workshop 2018


2018 Raja Ampat Underwater Photo Workshop

Join us December 10 - 21, 2018 for some of the most amazing diving in the world on the beautiful Arenui a Boutique Liveaboard! Led By Mark Strickland.

December 10 - 21, 2018

Sorong to Sorong Route

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11 Nights for:

Deluxe Lower Deck (Double Occ) - $6,960 pp*

Deluxe Upper Deck (Double Occ)- $7,110 pp*

Master Cabin (Double Occ) - $7,510 pp*

*Rates are based in USD. Get 25% off rental photo gear from Bluewater Photo!


Trip Overview

The jewel-like islands of Raja Ampat are caressed by a convergence of swift nutrient-rich currents. Here the pulse of marine life thrives from the sea floor to the surface where the kaleidoscope of corals can start in less than a meter of water.

There are sites that are so pristine and packed with growth, that a photographer is hard-pressed to find a spot to place a steadying finger. Exotic sea life and macro critters abound of course, and photo opportunities border on overwhelming. But at the end of the day, the most memorable moments for us are what can rarely be captured in digital format: the incredible experience of drifting along miles of exquisite reef brimming with hues and activity, the likes of which few have ever experienced.


The Arenui offers a truly luxurious experience. A stunning wooden vessel, that offers a taste of the local culture but fitted with all the modern conveniences of a luxury hotel. With spacious cabins, a luxury restaurant, top-deck sky lounge, and 22 staff members aboard a 16 guest you can expect nothing but the best when taking this trip!

Come join us over your Holidays and experience some of the best diving this world has to offer!


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Marine Life to Photograph

Raja Ampat has one of the highest numbers of fish species of anywhere on the planet! Here are just a few examples of marine life you're likely to see: wobbegong sharks, jacks, barracuda, Napoleon wrasse, trevally, bumphead parrotfish, pygmy seahorses, batfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, barramundi cod, and a good variety of nudibranchs.

If you look a little deeper when the current picks up, you can see reef sharks at most sites, especially at places like Blue Magic and Sardines. These are also prime locations for schooling fish, which tend to gather when the current is running. At such times, it’s not unusual to be surrounded by clouds of fusiliers and surgeonfish in mid-water, while legions of sweetlips completely obscure large coral heads below. 



December Conditions

Average Raja Ampat water temperatures in December are in the low to mid 80s. A full 3mm wetsuit is recommended.

Read the reviews on diving Raja Ampat here

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  • All meals (a variety of International feasts and local cuisine), snacks, soft drinks.
  • Up to 4 dives a day will be offered including night dives (34-36 dives total)
  • Tanks, weights, and weight belts included
  • All Taxes
  • Daily Photo clinics and workshops to help you improve your photography
  • Sorong airport transfers on cruise dates



  • Nitrox
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Dive insurance
  • Administration/port clearance & park fees
  • Indonesian visa ($25) and airport departure tax (approx $16 USD)
  • Airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages


Daily Photo Workshops

Workshops will be given daily on topics such as wide-angle underwater photography, ambient light shots, snorkeling with large animals, strobe exposure, and positions, avoiding backscatter and composition.

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Trip Schedule

  • The trip will begin and end in Sorong.
  • The itinerary can be variable and will be planned according to the direction of the trip leader and cruise director on board. They will have a good idea at that time of the conditions at the various locations.
  • A typical itinerary would combine the best dive sites throughout Raja.
  • The great highlights include the soft coral heaven of Misool, Manta Sandy cleaning station and huge schools of fish near Farondi.



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About the Trip Leader

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as a lifeguard, boat captain, and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of liveaboards. Mark now resides in Ventura county, California.

An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is co-author and principal photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.

Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic World, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Unterwasser and many others. In addition to representation by several stock photo agencies, Mark operates his own photo library, Mark Strickland Photography, www.markstrickland.com.


Trip Leader Testimonials

  • "What an amazing trip!  Mark made it for us, and I so much appreciate that. I can't thank him enough.  We really enjoyed meeting him and spending time with him, and learning from him. He is a wonderful instructor and his sessions were great. You can be assured that we will cross paths again on another workshop." - Greg Clifton, Fiji October 2018 photo workshop guest
  • "Thanks to Mark for a great trip. It was a lot of fun sharing the Naia and all the diving with him. His workshop presentations are incredible, I cannot believe the scope and depth he presents. He's really good at it, I’m impressed." - Phillip Colla, Fiji October 2018 photo workshop Guest
  • "Over many decades of diving, I've gone on a number of photo workshops on liveaboard trips, but none come close to the standard set by Mark Strickland! Every day we had an hour or more discussion about some aspect of underwater photography, including some specialized topics that helped a lot, plus an image review of three or four shots each diver had taken that day. Mark's critiques were always constructive and our photos got steadily better. Mark is also a great guy, fun to travel with, fun to dive with. He never minded being asked for help, either! All in all one of the best trips ever! And we for sure will go on another of his trips soon!" - Tom Baker
  • "I'm a better shooter as a result of Mark's instruction" - Mark Hatter
  • "Mark was patient, knowledgeable, organized, and friendly. He had a concern for all of us--travel-wise and photography-wise. He was one of the best." and "Mark and Adam made me tremendous fan of Blue Water Travel and will absolutely guarantee that I will book another trip with them again. You guys more than rock." - Dr. Ray T.

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About the Arenui LIVEABOARD

To live up to their motto of being "The Boutique Liveaboard", attention has been given to every aspect of the Arenui to ensure that it fully embodies their philosophy of providing a unique dive holiday experience.

The Arenui has been designed to host a maximum of 16 passengers in 8 exceptionally spacious cabins (starting from 19 square meters). Each cabin has a private en-suite bathroom and individual air conditioning.


Read the reviews of the Arenui here.

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Flight Information

  • We encourage guests to arrive in Sorong one night before departure if possible (Dec 9) and to stay in a nearby hotel. Feel free to contact us for hotel recommendations.
  • If you'd prefer to fly day of, there is an Xpress Air direct flight from Jakarta.
  • Disembarkation will occur the morning of the last day (Dec 21st).
  • Guests will be transported back to the airport for domestic flights or to a local hotel if you're extending your stay.
  • *We are happy to assist planning an extension either before or after the trip - contact us for more details.  

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Payment Schedule

  • $800 - Deposit, due at booking
  • $1,800 - Due 12/1/17
  • Remainder - Due 6/1/18  

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 email us at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

Or stop by our office at 3961 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 206 Culver City, CA 90230 

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery 

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Raja Ampat Underwater Photos from Previous Trip  

Raja Ampat 2019 Trip Raja Ampat 2019 Trip Raja Ampat 2019 Trip

Raja Ampat 2019 Trip Raja Ampat 2019 Trip Raja Ampat 2019 Trip

Raja Ampat 2019 Trip

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Reviews (1)

  • Top Reviewer
Bowling Green, KY
United States

I just returned from a trip to Raja Ampat on the Arenui that started in January . I have travelled with Bluewater and Mark Strickland before. I can tell you this is a beautiful combination ! I loved my trip so much I booked the same trip again on a different year before I got off the boat. This was the most wonderful location I personally have ever dived, so much life ! The Arenui is TOP NOTCH and I learned so much working with Mark that I would book this in a heart beat if I had not already booked my next trip to Raja Ampat . I highly recommend this trip even though I am not going. The water was warm, the colors were amazing and the islands are so beautiful it seems that they cannot be real ! We saw huge Mantas, woebegone sharks, nudibranchs , ghost pipefish,gorgeous colorful soft corals and huge "fields" of staghorn coral teeming with life. This boat is five star, it is every bit as lovely as the pictures indicate. Super comfy and the pangas are well appointed too.

Visited on 01/2018 - Submitted on 02/21/2018


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