Ayu Islands (also known as Ayau Islands) is a remarkable collection of islands and atolls, far north of Waigeo in Raja Ampat. Few tourist boats make it this far, missing out on rare reef topography, resident mantas, and a fascinating local community. You see, Waigeo is so enormous, that there is a little incentive to venture even further into the unknown, by sea. In this extremely remote region, 32km (20 miles) from Waigeo island’s north (which is exceptionally remote by itself!) lies the new world to discover. Ayu Islands merge with what is called Asia Islands (Kepulauan Asia), the tiny dots in the most northern frontier of Raja Ampat.
The locals on Ayu Islands are known for the highest rates of university education in Raja Ampat. Their careful management of Ayu’s Marine Protected Area has seen previously depleted fish populations rebound. Large sandbanks around Ayau and Asia archipelago include ‘special sands’ the local community calls Zandplaat: a habitat of vegetation exclusive to Raja Ampat. At certain times of the year, the insomen marine worm, unique to Ayu, emerges around Zandplaat and the beautiful, white beaches that dress these islands. The beaches are also breeding grounds for the leatherback turtle.
If you are looking for adventure in an entirely undeveloped environment, then Ayu Islands is for you. Because the place is so remote, you must bring your gear and provision from Waigeo island. It would be to your advantage to speak a little bit of Bahasa Indonesian. Ayu Islands is perhaps the only location within the Raja Ampat regency in which surfing is a possibility. You will be the only surfer there, indeed. As everywhere in Raja Ampat, snorkeling and diving are certainly worth the trip to Ayau and Asia islands.