Misool Eco Resort – Raja Ampat

Misool Eco Resort
Misool Eco Resort

Misool Eco Resort is an exclusive dive resort and conservation centre located in remote southern Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The private resort island is nestled deep in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, in the very epicentre of marine biodiversity.

The island and the scuba diving sites are surrounded by a 1220 sq km (465 sq mi/300,000 acre) Marine Protected Area, and inside the 46,000 sq km Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary which the resort helped to create. Located 165 km (105 miles) from the nearest port, and the nearest village is 20 km away by boat.

The resort island, Batbiitm, is a true tropical hideaway, just south of the equator and fringed with powder-white beaches and pristine coral reefs. With a maximum capacity of just 32 guests and a staff-to-guest ratio of 3 to 1, the resort offer exclusive diving holidays, surrounded by the world’s richest reefs.

Your stay at Misool Eco Resort directly supports the numerous conservation initiatives and provides sustainable employment opportunities to local people, entirely decoupled from the extraction of marine resources.

Misool Eco Resort was built entirely of reclaimed tropical hardwoods, milled on site with a portable sawmill. The accommodations have been meticulously designed for comfort, privacy, and sustainability. All of the accommodations feature Balinese-style open air bathrooms, air-conditioning, fresh hot and cold showers, mini-bars, in-room safes, and handcrafted furniture and fittings.

The eight rustically luxurious Water Cottages are located in the North Lagoon, just steps from the Dive Centre and restaurant. The Water Cottages are built on stilts over the water. For lazy afternoons with a good book, there is a hammock built right into the veranda. The view from your veranda is framed by a traditional grass roof, offering a high degree of privacy as well as shade. Stairs lead down from your veranda to the North Lagoon, and the House Reef is just a few fin kicks away.

Water Cottage
Water Cottage
Hamock Water Cottage.
Hammock Water Cottage.
Inside Water Cottage
Inside Water Cottage
Bathroom Water Cottage.
Bathroom Water Cottage.

 For those seeking a bit more space and seclusion, we suggest one of the Villas or Residences:

Utara Residence, also built on stilts on the western edge of the North Lagoon, overlooks the House Reef and the spectacular dive sites of Fiabacet beyond. This Villa features two en-suite bedrooms, a shared common area with a half bath, a loft, and a massive veranda. We especially recommend this Villa for families or groups of friends.

Villa Utara
Villa Utara
Inside Villa Utara
Inside Villa Utara
Villa Utara Bathroom
Villa Utara Bathroom
Location location
Location location

Villa Kalanme is located on the secluded South Beach. This Villa, named after one of the island’s most important spirits, is a complex of three separate en suite bedroom units, with a shared round-roofed living area and huge outdoor living space. This Villa is particularly well-suited to those who enjoy greater privacy and gorgeous white-sand beaches. Access to this Villa is either by water taxi (on call and reachable by radio), or by a scenic but steep paved path.

Villa Kalanme
Villa Kalanme
Villa Kalanme
Villa Kalanme
Villa Kalanme
Villa Kalanme
Location location
Location location

Villa Santai and Villa Tenang, the newest Villas, are located at the far end of the South Beach. Two stunning en suite bedroom units are built under the shady coconut palms, with expansive views over the Southern horizon from the huge terraces. Access to Villa Santai and Villa Tenang is either by water taxi (on call and reachable by radio), or by a scenic but steep paved path.

Villa Santai
Villa Santai
Villa Santai
Villa Santai
Villa Santai
Villa Santai
Villa Santai Bedroom
Villa Santai Bedroom
Location location
Location location

Villa Tabisasu is located on the eastern edge of the North Lagoon. This Villa, named after the local word for ‘orchid,’ features an en-suite bedroom and conjoining living area. The outdoor living-area face east and enjoys glorious sunrise views, all your own. This Villa is perfect for couples who appreciate a bit more space.

Villa Tabisasu
Villa Tabisasu
Location location
Location location

The newest accommodations, Moro Laiyn Residence and Waya Biru Residence, will be available from October 2014 onwards.

Villa Waya Biru
Villa Waya Biru
Villa Waya Biru Bedroom
Villa Waya Biru Bedroom
Villa Waya Biru Bathroom
Villa Waya Biru Bathroom

The restaurant is located on the beach overlooking the North Lagoon. The airy, round-roofed structure is tucked under the coconut palms, offering a perfect respite from the mid-day heat. The restaurant’s terrace is the ideal place to enjoy a sunset cocktail or a bottle of wine while watching the baby sharks and long-toms hunt schools of circling sardines.Restaurant.

Restaurant.
Restaurant.

 Offering a broad range of Asian and Western cuisine, with a focus on fresh, local, and organic fare. The resort offer four meals per day, plus afternoon tea on the terrace, with freshly baked treats like lemon and cardamom biscotti or island-fresh banana fritters with shaved white chocolate. We have a selection of wine available.

Snacks and drinks are available throughout the day. The resort can easily accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and other dietary needs and restrictions – just let us know in advance so we can inform the resort. Please note that out of respect for the Muslim hosts they do not serve pork. They also do not serve reef fish or prawns due to unsustainable fishing practices. All of the fish is line-caught outside the No-Take Zone. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the tuna fishing boat stop by to make a delivery during your stay.

Dive Center with Camera work stations.
Dive Center with Camera work stations.
Excellent camera workstations.
Excellent camera workstations.

 Misool Eco Resort’s Dive Centre is located in the North Lagoon, built on stilts overlooking the turquoise water. The Dive Centre is spacious and airy, and well-suited to professional photographers and videographers. The 50 sq meter wet area is equipped with a massive work station, perfect for setting up cameras, charging torches and laptops, etc. The adjacent dry area is furnished with comfortable lounge chairs, a small library, and a monitor for reviewing the day’s images. There is also a sunny 120 sq meter veranda just outside, perfect for warming up between dives. Access to the water from the Dive Centre is either from stairs leading directly down into the North Lagoon, or by way of the jetty, where the 4 dive boats moor up.

Let's go diving.
Let’s go diving.
Dive Center and Jetty leading to dive boats.
Dive Center and Jetty leading to dive boats.
Misool Eco Resort Dive Boat.
Misool Eco Resort Dive Boat.

The resort generally schedule 3 guided boat dives per day, as well as either a dusk dive or a night dive. Because the dive sites are so close, they usually come back to the resort for the surface interval after each dive. They are very flexible, and are happy to tailor the dives to your needs – just let the dive guides know what you’re interested in seeing, and they’ll do their best to accommodate you. They offer a variety of different dive packages, and all include free Nitrox to qualified divers.

Please let us know well in advance if you’d like to book a course, hire equipment, or engage the services of a private guide. Please be advised that due to the extremely remote location and distance from the nearest recompression chamber, they dive very conservatively. Safety is their priority, so they don’t allow deco diving or dives deeper than 30 meters.

Beautiful healthy coral reefs.
Beautiful healthy coral reefs.

 Raja Ampat, Indonesia, is home to the world’s richest reefs and dive sites. Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the region sprawls over 4.6 million hectares (17,000 sq miles) and boasts the majority of the world’s reef-building corals. In an area the size of two football fields, scientists discovered more than six times as many coral species as live in the entire Caribbean Sea.

Manta Rays visit Magic Mountain.
Manta Rays visit Magic Mountain.

Raja Ampat’s reefs are home to over 700 species of mollusks and over 1,400 species of fish. Counted among those is the newly discovered ‘walking’ epaulette shark, commonly seen on night dives on the House Reef.

You can expect to dive a wide variety of sites during your stay at Misool Eco Resort. The corner of southern Raja Ampat is particularly famous for its untouched reefs festooned with wildly colourful soft corals, expansive hard coral gardens, massive gorgonian sea fans, and rich reef life.

Colorful coral reefs.
Colorful coral reefs.

The resort island is surrounded by a 1,220 sq km (465 sq mi/300,000 acre) Marine Protected Area, which they established in 2005 and expanded in 2010. The island and the dive sites are protected by a 828 skq km No-Take Zone (NTZ). Inside this NTZ, all fishing, cyanide fishing, bombing, shark finning, harvesting of turtle eggs and shellfish are prohibited. This means that the area’s astounding marine biodiversity will only continue to grow, safeguarding it for generations to come.

 Thanks to the extremely remote location, they are able to offer the variety and quality of live-aboard diving combined with all the comforts of a land-based holiday resort. Misool Eco Resort dive staff have explored over 60 dive-sites within a 1-hour radius of the resort, and there are many more waiting to be explored. They are pleased to offer over 25 world-class dive sites within a 15-minute radius of the resort, including Fiabacet, Boo, Yilliet, Wobbegong City, and Magic Mountain.

You can expect to dive a diverse selection of sites, including a busy manta cleaning station, coral covered walls, reef flats, swim throughs, gentle sea mounts, drift dives, vast hard-coral gardens, placid lagoons, and current-raked pinnacles. Visibility is variable but generally 25+ meters, with temperatures around 26-28 degrees Celsius (78-82 degrees Fahrenheit).

Juvenille Black Tip Reef Sharks patrol the shallows.
Juvenille Black Tip Reef Sharks patrol the shallows.

Here are just a few of our most famous sites:

Nudi Rock: a small island in the Fiabacet chain, which looks an awful lot like a nudibranch from a distance. Just a quick 5-minute speed boat ride from the jetty, this site is a must for critter enthusiasts and macro photographers. True to its name, you’ll find a wide range of flamboyant nudibranchs lurking among the abundant soft corals. The sea fans are well populated with pygmy seahorses and cowries. Be sure to inspect the abundant crinoids for their colour-coordinated arrowhead shrimp and cling fish. When currents allow, this site is also popular for its pinnacles crowded with larger pelagics like Barracuda, Big Eyed Travelly, and the odd mature Grey Reef Shark. The sloping shallows of Nudi Rock are stunning for wide angle shots with exquisite colours and hard coral gardens.

Magic Mountain: This sea mount is located about 20 minutes from the resort, and is a busy Manta ray cleaning station. The submerged pinnacle reaches up to about 7 meters, and you have a very good chance of seeing not one but TWO species of manta rays here – both the giant Oceanic birostris as well as the smaller reef manta, alfredi. Magic Mountain is also a nursery for White Tip Reef Sharks and a love nest for Napoleon Wrasse. Because this site is completely exposed to oceanic currents, you can expect to see large schools of pelagics in the blue.

Magic Mountain.
Magic Mountain.

Yillet: The huge island of Yillet stretches east to west about 15 minutes north of our resort island. This island used to be home to an itinerant shark finning camp, and we are pleased by the stunning resurgence of life on its surrounding reefs, including sharks. One of Yillet’s tiny satellite islands is particularly rich and topographically weird. The tiny island has been undercut by untold millenia of wave action, forming an umbrella over a sloping underwater plateau with numerous spooky overhangs and cavelets. Diving with a torch is highly recommended for this site – you’ll want to illuminate the dark corners of this site to see all the critters, as well as the wild colours. Barramundi cod and Hawksbill Turtles frequent this site. We also suggest you keep a sharp eye on the blue, as huge schools of barracuda hover in formation.

Boo Windows: One of the most famous dive sites, named for its unique topography. The site is a small island about 15 minutes from the resort, with 2 swim-through ‘windows’ carved into it. The South West face of this site is quite steep and exposed to current, so you are likely to see patrolling sharks as well as the elusive Wobbegong Shark – be sure to look under the massive table corals! When the currents are right, you’ll move off towards a large pinnacle in the blue. The pinnacle is often surrounded by pulsating schools of fusiliers and gangs of plate-sized Batfish. Heading back towards the Windows, notice how the sunlight filters through – it’s like nothing else on earth! You’ll follow the plateau of hard plate corals and look for Sweetlips hiding underneath. Be sure to investigate the huge Barrel Sponges – their crevices often conceal Hairy Squat Lobsters.

Underwater Photographers paradise.
Underwater Photographers paradise.

 The 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. Divers 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 Bargibantiand 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. You can 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. There are even fluorescent hard corals!

Juvenille Black Tip Reef Sharks patrol the shallows.
Juvenille Black Tip Reef Sharks patrol the shallows.

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.

 The massage and beauty treatments feature Misool Eco Resort’s signature range of natural products, most of which they create fresh each morning in their own kitchen. They use only food-grade ingredients, and choose local organic products whenever possible. You’ll find scrubs hand-blended from local ingredients such as candlenut and the islands coconuts, face toner derived from freshly pressed cucumber, body wraps using their home-grown aloe plants and freshly harvested banana leaves, aromatherapy using fragrant hand-pressed coconut oil, and scrubs using coffee from the highlands of Papua. The essential oils are of the highest quality. Enjoy a massage and beauty treatments in the privacy of your own room or at The Lookout.

Spa.
Spa.
Luxury and Remote
Luxury and Remote

Here are a few of the most popular treatments:

  • Traditional Massage: Enjoy an herbal footwash followed by a soothing variety of traditional Indonesian massage techniques, handed down over the generations to encourage relaxation, dispel tension, and stimulate circulation. Using the signature Misool Eco Resort blend of lemongrass ginger massage oil, this massage features a gentle blend of stretching, long strokes, acupressure, and muscle manipulation.
  • Aromatherapy Massage: Essential oils warm and calm the body, releasing delicate aromas to deepen relaxation and enhance well being. Rhythmic strokes of varying degrees of pressure follow a single direction, increasing circulation while stimulating the lymphatic system. We especially recommend the following aromas: coffee spice, peppermint lavender, citrus clove, and lemongrass ginger.
  • Aloe Vera Rejuvenation: A flower petal foot bath is followed by a gentle traditional massage using local organic Raja Ampat coconut oil. Natural aloe vera gel is applied in soothing strokes, cooling and moisturising skin. The body is then wrapped in freshly-cut banana leaves to seal in the moisture. This is particularly recommended for sun-damaged and mature skin.

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