Raja Ampat, West Papua
Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit – scientists, photographers, novice divers and crusty sea-salts alike. This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth
Raja Ampat meaning ‘ the Four Kings’, is the name given to these mystical islands and pristine seas in West Papua, the name derived from a local myth. The four major islands here are Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and Batanta. The size of this marine park is enormous, as it covers more than 9.8 million acres of beautiful scenery, both above and below the surface. Divers claim that Raja Ampat is the best place in the world to observe manta rays, dugongs, wobbegongs walking sharks, and the legendary pygmy seahorses. Photographers also praise the beauty above the surface.
Many international underwater photographers capture the charm of the sea Raja Ampat. Some even came over and over again and make a special book about the beauty of coralreefs and marine life of this region. Mid-2006, a special team of the world’s leadingscientific adventure magazine, National Geographic, making coverage of the Raja Ampat that will become a major report in 2007.
More facts about the Raja Ampat Conservation Area:
This area is home to 1,511 species of reef fish in the Bird’s Head Seascape;
1,320 species of reef fish in Raja Ampat;
75% of all known coral species in the world;
10 times the number of hard coral species found in the entire Caribbean;
In the Birds Head Seascape there 600 species of hard coral recorded;
5 species of endangered sea turtles;
57 species of Mantis Shrimp;
13 species of Marine Mammals;
And 27 species of endemic reef fish found only in that area