In the spotlight is one of Indonesia’s diving pioneers – Max Ammer. As Diver magazine comes out this month with a full spread on John Bantin and Tony Backhurst recent trip to Raja Ampat, we take a closer look at the man who has made it all possible.
“No report on West Papua and Raja Ampat is complete without mentioning Max and the incredible work he has done, not only to establish diving in Raja Apat but also to attract divers to this remote, far flung corner of diving paradise.” Tony Backhurst
The Early Years
Max has been living in West Papua for 20 years and is recognised as a pioneer of Raja Ampat diving. Every diving guide-book you pick up pays homage to his name. Brought up in Nigeria, Max then moved to the Netherlands as a teenager. Very interested in motor bikes (Harleys), he learned how to make parts where they were not available… a handy skill for the future! He heard from a work colleague who was fighting in the Pacific in WWII about a place where the US army dumped hundred of new jeeps and buried them in the jungle. He bought a plane ticket, found the place and made a good living out of selling memorabilia back in Europe.
Max settled in West Papua and it was not long before diving became his passion. He built Kri resort first (ethnic but basic) and more recently Sorido Bay resort together with his Dutch business partner Rob. He is now married to a local lady and has three children. He has great stories of discoveries he has made in the forest from the time of the Japanese occupation and is currently involved in a project to recover a World War II fighter from a lake.
Max is an avid wreck diver and he can proudly claim to have discovered of a total of 55 WWII plane wrecks. Max also guards detailed plans and locations for Dutch naval cruisers in Java so watch this space! He loves to explore inland in his small plane and has found villages from old maps that have tribes still living in the original way without any contact with the outside world. However his main work and passion is to preserve the local environment. He has been instrumental in establishing National Parks in the area and has pushed for the recent ban of Shark fining in the entire Raja Ampat. He also is very keen to support the local community, employing around a hundred Papuans in his resorts.
Want to see what all the fuss is about?
Call the travel team 0800 072 8221 to tailormake
your Indonesian dive dream at Sorido Bay