Sel Pele Bay

Raja Ampat dive site

bobtail squidSel Pele Bay is the macro photography diving capital of Raja Ampat. This is where divers can find all the weird, wonderful and rare critters that Indonesia diving is famed for.

Sel Pele Bay is a very large bay on the western site of Waigeo Island. The inner bay is used for pearl farming. On the outer, south side of the bay is Dinding Seletan dive site.

A vertical wall slopes off to a sandy bottom with patches of coral, seafans and sponges. Sea cucumbers and urchins are scattered around but closer inspection should reveal an abundance of critters.

Look out for various different cephalopods including mimic octopus who are happy to move openly over the sand knowing that they can deter pretators by imitating another creature, rather than hiding in the coral as most ocotopuses do.

Blue ring octopus are also present, their bright orange rings with brown centres act as a warning of their extreme venom, which seems disproportionate to their small size.

Another diver favourite is the tiny bobtail squid because of it’s rarity and it’s beautifully coloured body. Bobtail squid are usually found on the sandy bottom. Also look on the sand and rubble patches for ribbon eels and for mantis shrimps plus a myriad of gobies, blennies, shrimps and nudibranchs.

Stick pipefish look just like a twig on the sandy bottom but closer inspection shows their snout upwards, feeding in the current. Other pipefish include ornate and robust ghost pipefish.

It is always worth checking every gorgonian seafan for pygmy seahorses. Also look in anemones for porcelain crabs and in fire urchins for zebra crabs.

Another dive site in the Sel Pele bay is Kebung Kerang, located off the south side of a small island in the mouth of the bay. It’s a steep sloping reef down to 40 metres which has impressive hard and soft corals. It also has gorgonians and sea squirts, feather stars and seawhips. Schools of fusilier, snapper and surgeonfish predominate. Nudibranchs are also numerous.