One of our adventurers shares photos from her recent trip to Raja Ampat. Here are some of her favorites.
Lying in the heart of the “Coral Triangle,” Raja Ampat is known for the world’s richest diversity in coral reefs. I joined Wilderness Travel’s 12-day journey into the remote, pristine waters of the archipelago.
Aboard our 100-foot schooner, we spent many nights in secluded lagoons, surrounded by the beauty of the karsts—mountainous islands that make up Raja Ampat.
Each day we snorkeled 3-6 hours. Our three guides brought us to the abundance of sea life the area offers. We went to two different sites each day included bays, mangroves, piers, and lagoons. We felt quite alone in paradise, seeing only an occasional diving boat or local fishermen.
One day we saw five varieties of anemone, along with other common reef fish, such as damsels, trigger fish, wrasse, angels, parrot fish, and Moorish idols.
What astounded us all was the more unusual underwater life. On two occasions we saw manta rays swimming within 15 feet below us.
I’d never seen a tassled wobbegong shark, and we saw a few. It was hard to believe that such a creature exists!
The small creatures were harder to find, but nonetheless impressive, such as seahorses, found in shallow waters among the grasses.
Schools of fish, including these silversides, swam in and out of our focus, dazzling us with their ability to keep together as they moved through the coral reefs.
Not all below-water life swam: sea fans as well as other hard and soft coral provided a stunning landscape of color and shape.
Aboard the schooner, days began with amazing sunrises and ended with equally amazing sunsets. We enjoyed these moments from the upper deck on lounge chairs.
Several days, we hiked on the karst islands. A jungle walk led to a swimming hole, fed by a fresh water waterfall, available for rock climbing and jumping.
On board, healthy meals and snacks were prepared by the cook and his assistant in a small galley attached to the dining area. Many choices were offered at each meal, and we always had snacks in between our snorkeling sessions.
A crew of eight knowledgeable and courteous men spoiled the eight of us with their service and kindness. Our wonderful guide, Andrea, and Bob, the owner/manager of the schooner, provided astounding information and knowledge throughout the days and evenings, in the water and on deck.
An island stop one day allowed us to visit a small village to deliver books to the children’s school. They greeted us en masse and similarly said good bye from the village pier.
I look forward to my next adventure. Thanks for the opportunity to share this amazing experience.
—Text and photos by WT Adventurer Donna Degaetani, Snorkeling Raja Ampat.