Sardine Reef

Raja Ampat dive site

wobbegongSardine Reef is a large sloping reef off Kri Island, close to Waigeo Island and is named not because divers see sardines there but because the vast numbers of fish are packed so tightly together.

Large schools of trevally and dogtooth tuna almost block out the sunlight as they school overhead. Bumphead parrotfish charge over the reef in big hooligan like gangs, chewing up the coral as they go. Walls of snapper and fusilier seem to block your passage.

The coral reef is not deep, sloping to around 30 metres but currents can be strong and this is often a drift dive. Visibility is often 30 metres or more and with such colourful coral wide angle photographers will be in their element.

Large table coral formations make a perfect home for an abundance of fish life. Damsels dance above the hard coral and dart back inside for shelter when a diver gets too close. Oriental sweetlips shelter in the shadows. Moray eels weave their way underneath and lionfish can often be seen lurking. These species are all quite common in this area but one of the rarer species found at Sardines reef is the wobbegong, a bizarre looking shark that is normally only seen on Australian reefs.

Critters can be found here as well and it’s worth looking in every gorgonian sea fan for pygmy seahorses. Long nosed hawkfish can also be spotted as can nudibranchs and flatworms of every colour.