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Raja Ampat

raja_ampat_map.jpg   Alternative criuse round Raja Ampat archipelago

 

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Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around the Raja Ampat Islands hold what may be the richest variety of species in the world—an incredible 75% of all known coral species are found in the surrounding seas.

But Raja Ampat’s abundant natural resources are endangered by destructive fishing practices, poor land use practices, and the targeting of endangered species.

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A Trove of Wonders

The Raja Ampat archipelago encompasses 15,000 square miles of land and sea off the northwestern tip of the Indonesia province of Papua. Its four large islands—Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool—shelter incredible diversity of terrestrial species as well as valuable forests.

The region includes the Pacific’s most important Leatherback Turtle nesting site. Offshore reefs protect an astounding 1320 species of fish, as well as 553 species of coral. Some of these reefs have proven to be particularly resilient. Some of these reefs include coral-building resources that help sustain the entire Coral Triangle, making its protection all the more vital.

Misool Island

Misool is known for soft corals and it's shallow mangrove areas. In the shallow mangrove swamps there is soft coral growing, which makes for some excellent wide-angle photography. There's also archerfish in the shallows, which look for insects out of the water, and can shoot water at insects by spitting, knocking them into the water. If you want great soft corals, make sure Misool is on your itinerary. There was a saltwater crocodile attack in the mangrove area of Misool in 2009, so please note that some boats are avoiding this area, check with your operator.

 

Waigeo Island and "The Passage"

On the south side of Waigeo island is a famous dive site called "The Passage",  also known as Kabui passage, where mangroves and soft coral exist in very shallow water. Overhanging trees meet sea fans here, and it is considered heaven for shallow water video and wide-angle underwater photography. Not all trips stop here - check with your particular trip.

Triton Bay

This area is quite remote, and not many boats go here. Visibility is usually only 15-30ft due to nutrients in the water, but the life here is supposed to be fantastic, with good soft corals and incredible fish diversity. Fak fak and Kaimana are also in this area.

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