Fam Islands is the most popular area of Raja Ampat archipelago. They are iconic for Piaynemo’s island viewpoint that offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views on earth. Fam Islands have one of the best snorkeling sites in Raja Ampat with extraordinary coral reefs.
Bring your shoes for the ascent to Piaynemo’s viewpoint as the sun is usually strong and the stairs get to hot for barefoot walking.DIVETIP
Fam Islands snorkeling experience:
Fam Islands are a must for any snorkeler passionate or landscape searchers. The snorkeling sites in this area were my favorite for the whole Raja Ampat trip.
I would strongly recommend Batu Rufus site as it is my favourite, even it is very hard to make a top. The reef was stunning, with hard corals, soft corals and sponges growing on the rock wall of the island. This unusual coral structure starts from the shallow to deeper and was very accessible for snorkelers.
The corals offer a kaleidoscope of colors with beautiful sea fans that have a great variety of colors, including pink, yellow, red and even white. Sea fans can be pretty large, reaching up to 2 meters. Batu reef has a wide variety of sea sponges of different shapes and colors, including giant barrels sponges. Anemones were everywhere, including the walls of the island and were unusually large with one hosting tens of clownfishes. Like every reef in Raja Ampat the marine diversity was extraordinary. A funny fact is that most of the fishes stayed upright due to the distribution of corals on the island wall.
Melissa’s garden is a world famous scuba dive and snorkeling site. The reef is oval-shaped with a beautiful colored coral garden. It is not very accessible for snorkeling, especially during high tide, when the coral garden is 20-25 meters deep. You should be a good swimmer because the current can be really strong but an experienced guide can find an easier route to surround the reef. The marine life is amazing, everything from reef sharks to triggerfish, butterflyfish, angelfish and big schools of fusiliers can be seen here. I had the opportunity to see a lot of blacktip sharks of various sizes. I was lucky enough to spot a beautiful sea snake with white and black stripes. The garden reef was pristine with an amazing variety of hard and soft corals but they are more accessible for divers than for snorkelers.
Fam slope was another stunning spot. A beautiful coral wall that drops abruptly into the ocean. Multi-colored sea fans, pipe corals and feather corals provide a unique snorkeling experience into an unbelievable underwater world. At the edge of the reef you can encounter butterflyfish, angelfish, and lionfish. You can also spot a lot of lobsters trying to hide in the holes of the coral wall. Into the blue you will find big schools of fusiliers, uniconfishs, bumphead parrotfish and napoleonfish. During my snorkeling session I had an unpleasant experience with some jellyfish who were very itchy and they made me finish my snorkeling session earlier.
Check my snorkeling experience:
What you`ll see:
Sea Fans, Giant Barrel Sponges, Pipe Corals, Lettuce Corals, Large Anemones, Blacktip Shark, Whitetip Shark, Lobsters, Batfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Clown Triggerfish, Titan Triggerfish, Clownfish, Sweetlips
More about snorkeling in Raja Ampat can be found here.