Coral – it’s hard to describe the stunning underwater landscape here. Especially since I’m not a professional writer nor photographer, but to be honest no word or picture would represent the beauty accurately.

The area of Raja Ampat has the most marine biodiversity in the world. To date, over 1300 species of coral reef fish have been recorded, and over 550 species of hard coral (which equates to 70% of all known hard coral species on the planet). Everywhere you look is teeming with life. I’ve been caught on several occasions starring at a school of fish in the mid ground only to see a shark or turtle 10 meters further. Or to look a foot in front of my goggles to see a florescent jellyfish.

There’s a very long reef which runs parallel to the beach for at least the length of the island (10 kms). The reef then drops sharply into the depths around 200 meters offshore. You can see shadows moving in the distance. Every once in awhile I’ll complete a 360° scan of the water around me. I often get an uneasy feeling when swimming in open water as if something was stalking me. Seeing a shark today didn’t help. The sharks seem to be more afraid of me then I am of them, if only they knew how helpless I was in the water.

This place may have the most marine biodiversity in the world, but even Raja Ampat isn’t what it once was. There have been stories passed down through generations here. Stories of turtles literally covering the sand on all the beaches 200 years ago. Last week a Vietnamese fishing vessel was caught illegally fishing here. On board were 100 turtles and 500 shark fins piled on one another. I guess throughout the generations we have forgotten what the oceans were supposed to look like.

Subsequent original blog posts listed below:

Click to read – Kayak 4 Conservation

Click to read – Air Conditioning

Click to read – Plans Change

Click to read – Important Contacts

Click to read – Imagination

Click to read – Clean Raja Ampat

Click to read – Success

Click to read – Farewell Raja Ampat

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