The giant clam or giant tridacne can be up to 1.50 metres long and weigh more than 200 kg. C'is the largest shell in the world! (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
The giant clam or giant tridacne can be up to 1.50 metres long and weigh more than 200 kg. It is the largest shell in the world! (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

The biggest shellfish in the world

#RajaAmpat #Papua West #Indonesia

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


This big shell is a monster. Huge. It's not for nothing that they call it a "giant clam". I've never seen one as big as this one in Raja Ampat.

The giant clams of Mioskon

Ah, Indonesia ... I can not stop raving about the surprises that each new trip there is for me.

In July 2012, back in the archipelago of Raja Ampateverything continues to amaze me. This is my second stay in this place (see the first one: in March 2012), but impossible to be jaded.

The island of Mioskon. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
The island of Mioskon. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

The small island of Mioskon, with its unusual cloud of bats above its lovely white sandy beach, conquered me.

Underwater, another curiosity awaits me: the biggest shell in the world... 😲

Near the island of Mioskon, a giant clam. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
Near the island of Mioskon, a giant clam. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

My friends Jimmy and Julia, from Sorido Bay Resortwho are accompanying me on this new dive, have warned me: "Get your camera ready, They tell me in the Anglo-Saxon way (the term "camera" refers to anything that captures images, whether it's a still camera or a video camera). You'll see, there are some very nice clams! »

The giant clam, also called giant tridacne (Tridacna gigas of its scientific name), is a gigantic shellfish, which can measure up to 1.50 meters in length and exceed 200 kg. It is the largest bivalve mollusc.

Yes, it can be eaten - the flesh of the shell is edible - but it is prohibited. The species is endangered and protected. It is quite common in the warm seas of the Indo-Pacific.

Before this trip, it's probably at Pulau Weh, at the other end of Indonesia, and also in Bali on the side ofAmedthat I had to see the big ones. 

But now... Honestly. This is bigger than any giant clams I've ever seen before. It's huge! As always, at Raja Ampat, the "usual" tropical wildlife is a notch above anything else in Indonesia.

On the Mioskon site, there are several clams. But there is one very big one, much bigger than the others. Its yellowish-brown flesh pulsates, spilling out in big, fleshy, purplish lips over the shell. All of this in the middle of the coral, which is teeming with life, as always.

The giant clam or giant tridacne can measure up to 1.50 metres long and weigh over 200 kg. It is the largest shellfish in the world! (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
The giant clam or giant tridacne can measure up to 1.50 metres long and weigh over 200 kg. It is the largest shellfish in the world! (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
This giant tridacne is really spectacular. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
This giant tridacne is really spectacular. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

Update July 2016 : I returned to Raja Ampat several years after this trip in July 2012. I went back to Mioskon, in particular in January 2015then in november 2015I was always looking forward to finding the big shell! Unfortunately, in July 2016, on another trip to Raja Ampat, I discovered, stunned, that this beautiful and spectacular clam was dead. Gone, the throbbing purplish-brown flesh... Underwater, all that remains of the Mioskon clam today is a huge, empty, grey shell. Nobody could tell me what could have happened to it (illness, fishing). It made me a little sad, the disappearance of this giant shell... I consoled myself with other clams of beautiful size, on other sites, in particular that of Chicken Bay. I've put a picture below.

My dive guide Fred poses in front of another giant clam four years later at the Chicken Bay site. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2016)
My dive guide Fred poses in front of another giant clam four years later at the Chicken Bay site. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2016)

Profusion

At Mioskon, when you get tired of staring at the clams, you'll be mesmerized by the countless schools of yellowtail snapper that roll in and out of the shallow reef. There is also a good chance of spotting wobbegongs...those weird bearded carpet sharks that don't look at all like the terrifying toothy stuff you see in some movies...

The one I took the picture of below "took off" from the reef without warning. I hadn't seen it!

I scared him and he ran away. But he ran straight towards me and I just had time to trigger my "camera", in a hurry.

A wobbegong (bearded carpet shark) "takes off" from the reef right in front of me. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
A wobbegong (bearded carpet shark) "takes off" from the reef, right in front of me. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

Fortunately, I also have with me some cooperative human models, who deign to stop for a moment above the schools of fish ...

My friend Julia is posing above a school of yellowtail snappers, which are numerous in the waters of Mioskon. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
My friend Julia is posing above a school of yellowtail snappers, which are numerous in the waters of Mioskon. (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

In short, there is something to do, with all the pigeon that drips from everywhere.

Profusion. It's always the word that comes to me to talk about Raja Ampat.

The reefs of Raja Ampat are home to a profusion of life. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
The reefs of Raja Ampat are home to a profusion of life. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

Even the most "mundane" site here is extraordinary for the abundance and variety of the fauna you come across, for the colours and density of the coral.

No, really, nowhere else in Indonesia - except maybe some sites in Komodo - Neither in Malaysia nor in Thailand, I had this sensation of incredible profusion under water.

"Raja Ampat, where all the fish lives." like to say Max Ammera pioneer of diving in the archipelago. He's got a point. All the fish live here!

At the end of the dive, at shallow depth, I stabilize in front of an imposing pink anemone, which shelters the "usual" clown-fish.

I observe their movements for a moment. There is a small family there, frightened by my arrival, huddling under the protective tentacles of their "home". It's been a long time since I've photographed "Nemos"... I tend to disdain them during my dives, I've stored too many in my hard drives.

But this time, the beautiful velvety mauve of the anemone tempts me. Come on, one last one for the road!

Hello Nemos! (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
Hello Nemos! (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

➜ To see all the articles about my dives at Raja Ampat : one click here !

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

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  1. Echoing "your" giant font, Debussy's "La cathédrale engloutie" comes to mind; I listened again to this prelude while reading the article, and there is a beautiful correlation between them; we could also summon painters, so beautiful are the colours! Thank you 😉

  2. I am just starting scuba diving this year and will soon pass my level 1. I discovered your blog a few months ago, and your pictures make me dream while waiting for the real ocean dives 🙂 Wow, these clams are gigantic! The only ones I could observe were within snorkelling range in the Mozambique Channel... they had piqued my curiosity despite their modest dimensions, but the ones you are showing us are spectacular! Out of curiosity, how deep were they? Thank you!

    1. @Tonton photo: Welcome below the surface and happy to give you to dream, already, with my photos !! 🙂
      I do not remember the exact depth, but this dive at Mioskon was within the "normal" limits of recreational diving, with no particular difficulty as far as I can remember. I think the clams should not be very deep, probably around 20 meters, maybe less.

      Congratulations for the preparation of level 1 and good bubbles!
      🙄

  3. Hello and happy new year to all of you,
    My guide has more or less measured a Benitier R4, I do not know which site. the beast was between 1.40 and 1.50 m.
    I had decided not to return after 2 cruises, the R4 is too far away, requires too much time and ... under. But here is the envy that takes me again and this blog only reinforces this desire.
    Gerard

    1. @ Gerard: Yes, I think the clams I saw measured well 1.50 m ... Really impressive!

      As for Raja Ampat, I either will not go back immediately, after two trips there, because it is indeed very very expensive. But I do not regret it. It's really worth the piggy bank breakup ...

      Anyway, I'm glad to see that my little items make you want to leave. This is the only goal of this blog ... Give travel desires !!!!

      🙄

    1. @Curious Traveler: But of course!! Like mussels or oysters... 🙄

      It is also very impressive under water. As I wrote a little earlier in the article, we see their flesh throbbing inside the shell. It's really weird like trick.

      They also see the water through a circular hole that looks like a tube and, if we approach a little too close, the holy water "feels" the threat and like closing its shell ... Better d ' elsewhere do not risk getting your hands in it, at the risk of being crushed.

  4. Flipping through the info on Koh Lipe ............... ..I've landed on the article of the giant clam !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ten years ago I had seen big ones on the site of Michaelmas near Cairns, but this one really impressive.

    1. Bertrand: you can find everything on these Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs... 😉
      Yes, I think Mioskon's giant clams are the biggest I've ever seen. I remember admiring some pretty big ones in Bali too.

  5. Hello Corinne!

    Do you have any information about prices for hotels, resorts or homestay in Raja Ampat? I have just returned from Bali and Lombok and the Gili Islands .... a little disappointed by the coral slaughtered with dynamite, I really want to go to Raja Ampat but I read in a post above that it is very expensive ...?

    Are there any plans to pay less? at a local for example...? thanks for your help 🙄

  6. Hell'eau!
    Those of the Perhentians are already huge, I think more than a meter for some, but then there !!! I hope you had fun to pass your hand over it? 😉 It emits a jet of water of an incredible power... Superb your photos anyway!

    1. Anthony: Alleau!! 😆 Yes, it's not the first time I've seen giant clams or giant clams, I've seen some again recently in Sipadan, but those of Raja Ampat were particularly spectacular...
      🙄

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