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The Ultimate Diving Honeymoon

21 Feb 2024, by India Wynne-Roberts

When I got engaged in May 2023, with a wedding date set for October of the same year, I knew there was only one person who could put together the perfect diving honeymoon for us : Condé Nast Traveler-recognised diving specialist extraordinaire, Louisa Fisher, who also happens to be my business partner and one of my closest friends. Although Louisa and I had idly discussed our theoretical perfect honeymoons over the years working together, I knew it was a big ask to request that she put together a surprise trip with the help of my husband-to-be, Mike, as I had quite a particular set of criteria.

The trip that Louisa created (and managed to keep as a surprise!) ticked every box and completely blew us away, and I wanted to share a glimpse of our adventure with you. Indonesia was our destination and couldn’t have been more perfect. It is one of my favourite countries for a wealth of reasons including its warm and friendly people, stunning scenery, fascinating culture, excellent food and crucially, the highest marine biodiversity on the planet.  

A sea fan in a Raja Ampat Reefscape

A Foodie Adventure on Beautiful Bali

After 18 hours travelling to reach Indonesia, I was delighted to discover that we’d be spending the first five nights on Bali. Our home would be a stunning open-sided villa at Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape, with atmospheric views over the misty rainforest and glimpses of rice paddy fields. The villas are open to nature and we enjoyed early mornings on our balcony with the dawn chorus from a plethora of bird species, evening calls from large geckos and the sound of the rain coming down on the deck whilst sitting in a hot bath looking out over the moody views. The food here is sensational, with 70% of the menu being plant-based. The produce is unique and creative, championing forgotten traditional Balinese ingredients and using authentic cooking techniques to plate up a beautiful 5-course tasting menu every evening. We spent the days exploring local waterfalls, hiking up volcanoes for cocktails at sunset, and trying our hand at Balinese cooking with a private cooking class in Ubud. Buahan’s location outside Ubud keeps you away from the crowds but still with access to the buzz of town if you wish to explore

Buahan Banyan Valley Pool Bale
Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape

Diving Central Raja Ampat from a Private Liveaboard

After logging several hundred dives across the World, I still think that Raja Ampat is unparalleled when it comes to a diving destination that has it all: warm waters, beautiful bathymetry, excellent coral health, abundant fish life, plenty of pelagics and mesmerising macro life both reef and muck-dwelling. It made perfect sense therefore that Louisa would plan my diving to be here in my favourite spot, and this time I would be exploring the Central region from a private charter phinisi, allowing the utmost flexibility to plan around what we wanted to see and experience.

Senja Cabin
Senja Master Cabin

Senja is the perfect vessel for a honeymoon, with just one master cabin (and one smaller cabin below deck if you want to make it a family trip) and an excellent crew on board. Herry, the cruise director, liaised with us on a daily basis to adjust the plan for our 6-night stay on board. Highlights included an outstanding 90-minute muck night dive where we saw dwarf and flamboyant cuttlefish, coconut octopi, reef squid and an array of crustaceans and nudibranchs. An unforgettable dive at Manta Ridge where it was just us and an oceanic manta for 15 minutes, timing our dive at Blue Magic so that we had the site to ourselves and the seven wobbegongs we saw there, and even catching a glimpse of an endemic walking shark during the day . In the evenings, the team would set up beautiful sundowners or beach dinners for us whilst we sipped on champagne and watched passing dolphins hunting in the shallows. It was truly spectacular! Our original itinerary had planned to take us north to Wayag, but we were enjoying the diving so much in the Dampier Strait that we decided to stick around and this is the sort of flexibility that makes a private charter so special.  

A flamboyant cuttlefish on a night dive in Raja Ampat
Silhouette of a manta ray on Manta Ridge
Epaulette Shark Raja Ampat Honeymoon

Misool Eco Resort: The Beating Heart of Raja Ampat

When I found out that our last stop of the trip was to be Misool Eco Resort I couldn’t believe it. Famously booked up very far in advance, I never thought I’d have the chance to stay there, but Louisa pulled it off and it did not disappoint. We finished off our honeymoon with a whopping 9 nights at Misool Eco Resort. Located 5 hours’ speedboat ride away from Sorong, this is where Indonesian diving is at its finest. The villas are perched over water or scattered along the beach, and each has been thoughtfully designed and constructed with the environment in mind. No trees were cut down in the making of the resort, which is pretty incredible!

Misool Eco Resort Split Shark Lagoon (1)
Misool Eco Resort

It is as beautiful a spot as you could imagine, and the diving is spectacular. We regularly had to pick between looking at pygmy seahorses or manta rays on our dives, often having the choice of both at the same time. We saw reef sharks, wobbegongs, epaulette sharks, octopi, vast schools of snappers, fusiliers, jacks and barracuda, and were even blessed with a dolphin sighting at Magic Mountain. The small stuff included a plethora of nudis from Pikachus to Spanish Dancers and nembrotha species I’ve never seen before, to orangutan crabs, ornate and velvet ghost pipefish and the endemic Nursalim flasher wrasse. The team run a very slick operation and we averaged three dives a day here, still squeezing in time for a paddle board around the island and plenty of birdwatching.  

Our dream honeymoon consisted of around 40 dives across just over 3 weeks and the accommodation was the perfect combination of barefoot luxury and spoiling experiences. If you are thinking of planning a diving honeymoon, get in touch with us for help. 

A peacock mantis shrimp in Raja Ampat
A coral grouper lurks under a hard coral formation, surrounded by glassfish.
A manta ray from below in Raja Ampat
Stand-up paddleboarding at Misool Eco Resort
A beautiful healthy coral bommie in Indonesia
India Mike Honeymoon Misool
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