The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism asked us to join a small group of other Aussie underwater photographers, filmmakers and dive travel professionals on a familiarisation trip to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Our mission: simply have a look, and show the world what we saw.
Although I had been to Raja Ampat twice previously, I jumped at the chance to return for the 4-day expedition aboard Sea Safari 8 to what I consider to be my mecca: the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity.
We were warmly welcomed and looked after every step of the way by tourism staff, boat crew, and dive guides. We hiked to see the bird-of-paradise and scenic views in between the spectacular diving, and found Raja to be as wonderful as I remembered.
The only complaint was that it was all too short… we only had time for 7 daytime dives. This video shows my underwater highlights.
If only we had more time.
Questions and comments welcome, write me a note in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
|0:05||Mixed schools of fusiliers streaming away from danger in between gorging themselves on plankton|
|0:09||Barcheek trevally (Carangoides plagiotaenia) keeping schools of Blue green chromis (Chromis viridis) close to the cover of Staghorn corals (Acropora sp.), at Melissa’s Garden|
|0:14||Longfin batfish (Platax teira) schooling under the famous Aerborek Jetty|
|0:18||Coral grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) hunting cardinalfish on a small detached bommie below Melissa’s Garden|
|0:22||Ribbon sweetlips (Plectorhinchus polytaenia) chilling under a small detached bommie below Melissa’s Garden|
|0:30||Reef cuttlefish (Sepia sp.) putting on a colour show during our checkout dive at Black Rock|
|0:34||Transparent jelly cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes holthuisi) on a mushroom coral (Heliofungia sp.) waiting for dirty customers to clean|
|0:38||Southeast Asian blackstripe dottybacks (Pseudochromis perspicillatus) disputing territory|
|0:42||Yellow variation of Blackspot coralblenny (Ecsenius lividanalis) looking dumbstruck|
|0:46||Splendid dottyback (Manonichthys splendens) looking splendid|
|0:50||Tailspot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura) ignoring the hyperactive hunting neighbour, the headless Neon triplefin (Helcogramma striata)|
|0:54||Typically diverse and beautiful small detached bommie below Melissa’s Garden|
|0:58||Pearly monocle bream (Scolopsis margaritifera) and reef at Manta Sandy; Emperor angel (Pomacanthus imperator) upsetting the school of Twinspot cardinalfish (Archamia biguttata)|
|1:02||Legendary underwater film maker David Wrath and eco warrior mermaid Lin Sutherland shooting and being shot at Anita’s Garden|
|1:06||Juvenile yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) thinking about hiding|
|1:10||A boxfish “chases” a Black-tip grouper (Epinephelus fasciatus) out of hiding|
|1:14||Map pufferfish (Arothron mappa), with some digestive issues by the looks of it|
|1:18||Dave and Lin checking out a bommie off Aerborek Jetty|
|1:22||Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) schooling under Aerborek Jetty|
|1:28||Matt Krumins showing his eco-friendly underwater photography form|
|1:32||Blotcheye soldierfish (Myripristis murdjan) chillin’|
|1:36||Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) ruling a bommie off Aerborek Jetty|
|1:40||Too many species to mention, but Golden sweepers (Parapriacanthus ransonneti) and Redspot cardinalfish (Ostorhinchus parvula) amongst them|
|1:44||Green ubastrea coral (Tubastrea micrantha) on the left, and Lettuce coral (Turbinaria sp.) on the right, providing habitat for thousands of fish, big and small|
|1:48||One-spot snappers (Lutjanus monostigma) and Barramundi cod (Chromileptes altivelis) waiting for dusk under Aerborek Jetty|
|1:52||Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) chewing on a salp [or something] that drifted into their patch|
|1:56||Feeding Reef mantas (Manta alfredi) not being cleaned at Manta Sandy|
You may also be interested in: