Same place, different time...
I led a few groups to Raja Ampat just a few months prior to Steve Frink's adventure. My experiences were similar, yet remarkably different. We were able to stay at sea longer, which allowed travel further north to the islands of Waigeo and Wayag and then further south beyond the island of Misool and eventually across the Banda Sea to the main island chain of Indonesia.
My underwater experiences in Raja Ampat were similar to Steve's, yet I was treated to much better visibility in the open ocean regions. Clarity of 70 to 100 feet was not uncommon, and certainly allowed us to see the big picture on initial descent to the dive site. We were treated to a few schools of larger pelagic fish, but the real treat was the pulsing density of smaller reef fish pouring over an amazing density of soft corals and sea fans. Much of Indonesia has fantastic soft coral densities, but I've never witnessed the thriving fish diversity I viewed in Raja Ampat.
Most unique to my visit was the otherworldly experience of the narrow and twisted and shallow blue-water mangrove forests of Misool and the passages of Waigeo. These narrow current-swept channels seem to bring up the best of the deep to meet the species known to only skim the surface. At first I had to convince my people to dive in, for it does not look like a traditional dive spot, but by the end of the day the crew had to force them (and me) out of the water to keep our schedule. I predict these mangrove areas are about to see the same level of attention as the recent muck diving craze.
Raja Ampat offers the best shallow water experiences I have found in my lifetime. The amazing staghorn reefs of Wayag and the compressed habitats of the Misool mangroves make me believe we are on the cusp to discover the next unique habitat.