What A Wonderful World – Raja Ampat

The last few weeks have given us fabulous adventures both above and below the waterline. First there was Wayag with its’ stunning landscape and since then we’ve continued to explore other islands and underwater paradises. 

Under the surface, Raja Ampat teems with life in an explosion of diversity and colour that takes our breath away.  We marvel at this pristine marine environment that we’re so privileged to get a glimpse of – particularly when so much of the world’s reefs are damaged and dying.  Our photos can never do it justice, but I hope this blog gives you an idea of some of the underwater beauty we’ve been lucky enough to witness.

After leaving Wayag we make our way south to Kawe, mostly famous for lying on the equator and all those equator parties.  There’s even a monument to mark the line on one of the small islands we pass, and yes, we’re now back in the Southern Hemisphere and racking up those equator crossings.

The monument marking the equator at Kawe Island

We anchor in a beautiful deserted bay and tie our stern line to one of the coconut palms on the beach to avoid dragging onto the surrounding reef.  There’s a local turtle who comes to visit, and some beautiful snorkelling all around the bay.

Our anchorage at Kawe – good job we have long stern lines!
Inquisitive turtle coming to check us out
I’m not sure what type of crinoid this is, but it looks like a crazy owl to me!
more colourful crinoids

From there we make our way to Palau Motus, christened “4G Lagoon” by our friends on “Sarabande”. (You can tell that cruisers get somewhat excited when we find internet coverage).  Sadly the internet turns out to be very patchy, more 2G than 4G, but it’s a pretty stop and for once we’re anchoring in under 15M of water and a sandy bottom to boot. Oh joy! 

Anchored inside Motus lagoon

We catch up with our cruising buddies at Besir Bay to celebrate Carol’s birthday, do a quick provisioning run to Waisai and then re-join “Sarabande” and “Jams”  back in our usual position at Penemu Island, tied up to the rock walls.  While here we hike the short way to the look-out on the small island to the east of Penemu, above the lagoon near two of our favourite dive sites (named “Bullseye”  and “Bullseye Ridge” by SV Delos).

Looking north over the lagoon – there’s a homestay tucked away in here
we anchor our dinghies in this little lagoon and dive around the outer walls of these small islands. There’s an underwater ‘window’ to swim back into the lagoon at the end of the dive.

“Sarabande” are heading back to Australia for Christmas, so we have a farewell party on the ‘jetty that leads to nowhere’ (literally!) just north of our anchorage.  Most of our merry band play ukulele with varying degrees of proficiency, and with my guitar plus one from “Sarabande” we hack away at a few songs. What we lack in skill we make up for in gusto and it’s great fun. The night finishes with our own firework display (it’s legal to buy them in Waisai, we must re-stock for New Year’s Eve!) much to the entertainment of the locals and the live aboard boats anchored in the bay.

The substantial ‘Jetty to Nowhere’ on Penemu island. It may not lead to anywhere but it’s a good party venue!

But it’s the diving that truly makes this place special. We do several dives and each one brings a new delight and another opportunity to appreciate every moment we have on this beautiful planet of ours. We hope you enjoy the photos…

Blue-girdled angelfish
Resting turtle unfazed by the attention
the beautiful but venomous lion fish
This has to be the teletubby of starfish
Clown triggerfish sleeping off a big night amongst the coral
These lined sweetlips like to pose – but they always look a bit mystified by the attention.
crazy colours
I thought these were egg sacs but it’s bubble coral. Fancy that?!
Giant Sweetlips just hanging out with their pals – these big boys weigh in around 15kg each I reckon
From big to small. A tiny nudibranch – much prettier than his land cousin, the slug.
a duo of pretty clams
thousands of reef fish feeding on plankton
beautiful lettuce coral gardens
Barry the Barracuda!
pinnate spadefish
spotted sweetlips
Hard to believe these dendrophyllia anemones are underwater – they look just like a bed of marigolds
And even more beautiful close up -ain’t nature grand!

3 Replies to “What A Wonderful World – Raja Ampat”

  1. You two have reached paradise! How fantastic to be able to snorkel over such a superb coral garden…magical. Nature really bestowed her gifts for Christmas xx

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