Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (Triton Bay, Kaimana, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (Triton Bay, Kaimana, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Fabulous dives under Triton Bay coconut trees

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the strange sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here PetitesBullesdAilleurs.fr

  Indonesia: Triton Bay - March 2016

"Above all, do not stay under the coconut trees", I am told when I arrive at Triton Bay. Yes, the biggest danger here is to get a coconut on your head!

A long trip (again)

Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Here is the island of Aiduma and the resort Triton Bay Divers, where I landed on March 8, 2016, at mid-day, after forty hours of travel from Rennes, Brittany ... Yes, some people think that I'm a little crazy to accomplish such a journey, just to photograph fish and possibly get me some coconut on my head ... 😂

Triton Bay (Teluk Triton) is in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago, in the province of West Papua. From Europe, it's the end of the world. This is where (zoom / unzip the Google Map to see better):

The investigation of aircraft went off without a hitch or delays: Paris - Istanbul - Jakarta for the first international stretch to Indonesia (on Turkish Airlines).

Then Jakarta - Ambon - Fak-Fak - Kaimana, on Lion Air and its subsidiaries (Batik Air and Wings Air) for domestic flights. Since Jakarta, there is no simpler nor more direct for the moment ...

Updated: April 2017. The national company Garuda Airlines now serves Kaimana Airport, with flights from Ambon, six days a week.

We approach, I do not hold it anymore! (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
We approach, I do not hold it anymore! (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
The little cuckoo from Wings Air pours its passengers on the tarmac of Kaimana airport. (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
The little cuckoo from Wings Air pours its passengers on the tarmac of Kaimana airport. (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
The "gleaming" Kaimana airport. (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
The "gleaming" Kaimana airport. (Indonesia, West Papua, March 2016.)
Nice, the welcome committee in Kaimana! (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Nice, the welcome committee in Kaimana! (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

After landing at Kaimana, the "capital" of the region, I have "more" than an hour and a half boat trip to reach the island of Aiduma and coconut trees in Triton Bay ... Phew!

Welcome to Triton Bay

Obviously, I am very happy to finally arrive. And discover my new "home" for a dozen days ... I walk the sand, soft underfoot, dazzled by the beauty of this small cove nestled under the coconut trees.

Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Triton Bay Divers resort beach on Aiduma Island. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

But already I am warned, with a benevolent insistence: do not drag in the shade of palm trees! It's dangerous. "We regularly remove the coconuts from the trees near the beach, explain me Jimmy, from the resort Triton Bay Divers. But there are still some left. So avoid staying just below ... "

This is not a joke. Throughout my stay, the shock of a coconut landing without warning on the ground will make me jump often. It's big and heavy, a coconut. And when it falls, it can hurt a lot ...

But after such a long trip, this Papuan island has the effect of a well deserved paradise. An adorable beach of fine white sand. Some wooden bungalows turned to the sea. A hill covered with dense jungle in the back. The sea and coral in front ... It's beautiful!

Waala Beach, the beautiful beach of Triton Bay Divers, on the island of Aiduma. March 2016.
The shade of the coconut trees lies on Waala Beach, the beautiful beach of Triton Bay Divers Resort, on the island of Aiduma. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
To the right of the bungalows, the small dive center and the boats. (Aiduma, Kaimana, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
To the right of the bungalows, the small dive center and the boats. (Aiduma, Kaimana, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The beach, the turquoise water and the shade of the coconut trees ... (Triton Bay Divers, Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The beach, the turquoise water and the shade of the coconut trees ... (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Outstanding Biodiversity

I wanted an immersion in nature, far from everything, I have it! There is no more mobile network here. As for the internet, uh ... just do not think about it anymore.

Lobo, the nearest village, is on the coast of Papua, three quarters of an hour's boat from Aiduma Island. The coast is wild, formed by spectacular karst cliffs. Here and there, some "encampments" of fishermen. Here I am "obliged" to disconnect.

The karst cliffs, typical of the Triton Bay landscape. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The karst cliffs, typical of the Triton Bay landscape. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

At dawn and dusk, I learn to tame the thousand strange noises - screams, whistles and crackles - from the surrounding vegetation. It is the paradise of insects and birds (toucans and white cockatoo for the most visible). One morning, very early, I will even see the tail of a couscous at the top of a potentially killer coconut tree.

But it is for nature under water that I have come here. As Raja Ampatfurther north, Triton Bay is considered a "hot spot", a hotspot for biodiversity in the world.

Far from tourist routes, still little known, this bay was explored by marine biologists of the organization Conservation International in 2006. They observed here the amazing walking shark, endemic of the region, and counted many rare or new species of fish, crustaceans and corals. A truly "Cash factory"they say about these waters that give rise to so many new life forms.

In 2014, scientists from the Lengguru Expedition are returning to explore the region. Arte broadcasts a documentary about their adventure in these months of June and July 2016:

→ Papua, in the heart of a lost world

As early as 2008, the Kaimana area established a 6,000 square kilometer protected marine area in Triton Bay waters. To dive, you must pay an entrance fee of 500 000 Rp (about 40 €). As Raja Ampat, you are given in exchange a badge to hang on the stab (the BC).

Soft corals proliferate in the waters of Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Soft corals proliferate in the waters of Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The huge coral tables of Batu Jatuh. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The huge coral tables of Batu Jatuh. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Profusion at Stumpy Rock ... (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Profusion at Stumpy Rock ... (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The surface interval between the two morning dives is on one of the small sandy coves of Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The surface interval between the two morning dives is on one of the small sandy coves of Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Diving in Triton Bay

Triton Bay has lived up to my expectations: diving, exceptional underwater, incredibly rich and preserved; side atmosphere, very peaceful holidays, very relaxing, far from the tourist crowd and the fury of the world ...

But honestly, I do not think this is a destination that suits all divers. In Triton Bay, the waters are loaded with nutrients, resulting in a spectacular profusion of underwater biodiversity. The reverse is extremely variable visibility, in water often greener than blue: from mediocre (5m) to correct (15m) for indoor sites, good (20m) to excellent (25m and more) for more remote sites outside to the open sea. And it changes all the time depending on the weather, very variable too, including on the same day ...

Here, rain is coming! (Aiduma Island, Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Here, rain is coming! (Aiduma Island, Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Result, we must every day adapt the choice of sites and the type of dives, depending on the conditions of the sea, the sky, the tide ... And my daily dilemma of photographer, at breakfast time, is to decide which objective to fix on my device: fisheye or macro?

Today, I put the macro lens to photograph the "little". (Triton Bay, March 2016)
Today, I put the macro lens to photograph the "little". (Triton Bay, March 2016)

(Yes, it's hard to have such serious decisions on vacation.)

You also need to be aware that apart from diving, swimming and a trip to nearby villages, there is not much to do in the area. So it's better to be in a contemplative mood, preferably a bit of underwater photography and capable of a child's wonder in front of the treasures of nature, to enjoy Triton Bay as it deserves.

Me, I feasted: fluffy forests of black coral, explosive bright colors of soft corals, huge hard coral tables, hunting jacks, giant swirls of riflemen and surgeons, sweets, carpet sharks (wobbegongs), swarms of glass fish, seahorses-pygmies galore, mini cuttlefish and mini octopus photogenic (wonderpus), harlequin shrimps, nudibranchs ... Not to mention the often seen dolphins of the boat and even (once) whales ...

Also note that do not consider diving to Triton Bay during what corresponds to our summer. At that time, it's the eastern monsoon season (which runs roughly from mid-June to mid-September). The region is then very exposed to the winds and the conditions at sea do not make it possible to dive. The Triton Bay Divers Resort closes elsewhere during the summer months.

My friend the carpet shark, aka "wobbegong". (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, maes 2016.)
My friend the carpet shark, aka "wobbegong". (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Visi is bad? No problem, there's enough to do with the "little" ... (Pygmy Seahorses, Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, maes 2016.)
Visi is bad? No problem, there's enough to do with the "little" ... (Pygmy Seahorses, Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Nudibranchs abound in Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, maes 2016.)
Nudibranchs abound in Triton Bay. (West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

My only regret: that there was no bagans Nearby, during my stay. These mobile fishing platforms, which haul nets overflowing with anchovies or other small fish for bait, attract whale sharks, who come to feed around the catches (as in Cenderawasih Bay, another known destination of divers in West Papua).

We can then immerse ourselves alongside these nice giants of the seas (as I did in Mexico) and admire them very closely. I will not have had the opportunity to do it this time ... Too bad.

Away from it all

The small resort Triton Bay Divers where I spent a dozen days is very recent, it opened in February 2015. This is the first and (for now) the only diving structure in the region of Kaimana, where tourism is still almost nonexistent .

The Triton Bay Divers resort has only four bungalows. Two more must be built soon. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The Triton Bay Divers resort has only four bungalows for guests. Two more must be built soon. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The Triton Bay Divers beach, a windy day and great sun. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The Triton Bay Divers beach, a windy day. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The small diving center of Triton Bay Divers, at the very end of the row of bungalows. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
The small dive center of Triton Bay Divers. (Aiduma Island, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

Since I discovered Raja Ampat, in 2012, I am particularly interested in diving in West Papua, located in the heart of the mythical Coral Triangle. The distant Triton Bay made me dream and seemed for a long time inaccessible to me. Until 2014, there was only the option of cruises-dives (few and most high-end category for the most part). So when I learned about this resort project, I threw myself on their Facebook page, launched even before opening. Over the months, I then followed their construction and landscaping, the purchase of boats, the arrival of the first customers ... keeping in a corner of my head the project to make a tour , see you next day!

Behind this crazy project of opening a diving resort in such an isolated place, there is Lisa, an English girl who grew up in Hong Kong, and Jimmy, a Chinese-Canadian who has lived in Taiwan. Both diving professionals, they dreamed of one day opening their own center and associated themselves.

Addition. I put you below a video shot in 2017 by the videographer and underwater photographer Karsten Heinrich, where Lisa explains what makes Triton Bay special about Raja Ampat, including:

The motto of the resort Triton Bay Divers, it is "Remote but worth it". Basically: it's super far from everything, but it's worth it! I confirm. I come back delighted.

Especially since I (still) benefited from conditions worthy of a princess, under these fearsome coconut trees from the end of the world ... Yes, during my stay, I was the only customer diving. So who has happily taken advantage of the boat and the TWO dive guides (Indonesians from North Sulawesi, in the eyes of lynx, who have worked at Lembeh, among others) for herself, huh, who? ? ? 😊

Andi and Edi, my two super dive guides. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Andi and Edi, my two super dive guides. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Sometimes my guides accept to play underwater models. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)
Sometimes my guides accept to play underwater models. Admire the elegance of the pose. (Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2016.)

I'm really lucky, as often when I travel solo. I not only survived coconut killers (phew!), But I was able to indulge in an orgy of underwater photos without having to worry about a cumbersome palanquée ... Happiness.

👌 😎

  Indonesia: Triton Bay - March 2016

  1. In this day so sad what happiness to see your photos and dream. Open eyes. I dream of a trip like this, maybe one day !! Congratulations for these photos. I'm coming back from the Maldives on Ari Atol but what a difference in the color of the corals! Continue to make us dream

    1. @Of the garden : yes, that's what fascinates me so much in Indonesia and in the surrounding countries, which form the "coral triangle": the profusion and richness of the corals. I've been to the Maldives and Polynesia as well, and while these two destinations are fantastic for the "big", we do not find the same colors or the same abundance of coral life ...

    1. @Feulvarch: Thank you ! Yes, it's a fantastic destination for sub photographers. I will devote the next posts to my underwater encounters. Not to mention that I was lucky enough to enjoy dream conditions (only with two guides) ... 🙄

  2. Still beautiful photos and landscapes of dreams. Thank you corinne to make us dream! It's always a great time in front of my computer. to contemplate your photos and your extraordinary experiences. Thank you
    My dream is just the Isle of Beauty? but who knows maybe one day! 🙄

  3. hello Corrine,
    as usual, photos and comments are dreaming. Having already dived (cruise on the shakti) to the R4, Triton bay, I am very interested and I ask you what is the type of the most appropriate stay, resort or cruise? Do you know when, the bagans are on the spot?
    Thanks again for this blog.
    Gerard

    1. @ Gerard: I, generally, prefer to be in resort when it is possible, for the usual reasons:
      - comfort (I prefer to be on the ground, so comfortable is the boat) and often more flexibility for diving "à la carte"
      - Guides who know the sites thoroughly (and know where to find pygmy seahorses, or when to dive to such or such place, or where to dive according to the current ...)
      - possibility to repeat several times the same site

      For Triton Bay, I think it would be a little frustrating for me, as a photographer, to only do a few dives here and there in the bay, when the conditions are so changeable from one day to the next. The Bo's Rainbow site, for example, which I first did in macro, a day of rotten tour, I did it again later, in more favorable conditions, in wide angle, and it was extraordinary ... of my favorite sites (which would not have become if I had not returned).

      After that, the cruises that go to Triton Bay are often combined with other stuff, so it allows to discover more things and it's great too ... But overall, I always remain a little "frustrated" with cruises.

      The Aranui went to Triton Bay at the end of my stay. The cruise leader came to see us, to greet us and to have a date on the sites. I doubt that the divers on board saw as much stuff as I did and enjoyed their dives as much as they did in the two to three days they spent in the bay ...

      Finally, for bagans (and whale sharks) in Triton Bay, it is very variable and very random seems it. Lisa from the resort told me that she did not really understand why they were not around right now. There does not seem to be any "rules". It depends on the abundance of the fish, the tide, the season, the age of the captain, etc. etc.

  4. Hello Corinne and thank you for this article that puts the mouth water ... And the color of the water ... Just the dream in this late winter.
    I see that we have in common diving, photography and Indonesia. Nevertheless, for my part, I do not appreciate to dive into the current (bad experience in Komodo that left me some after effects ..). Hence the question: would you say that Triton bay dive sites are subject to strong currents?
    The place looks very nice, whether on land or under water. Again thank you for making us dream,
    cordially, Nathalie.

    1. @Natalie: yes, there may be a lot of current on some sites, at certain times of the tide, at Triton Bay. But of all the dives I have done over a dozen days, at the rate of three per day, there has only been one where we have been confronted with a bit of current that has forced us to modify our shots during diving. Two or three times, too, we changed site for another with less juice, given the conditions, arriving on site ...

      But most of the time, knowing me ballasted a bulky photo box, my guide Andi chose the most favorable sites to avoid the current. I did not do a single dive where it was necessary to get out the hook as it may be the case in Komodo or Raja Ampat ... With a guide who knows the area, it is generally peaceful dives. (Except if you claim to drift and dive into the current, in this case it can be done too ...)

      🙂

  5. Congratulations again for this wonderful article and its sublime images, below and above the water! It's worth it all this way to a little piece of paradise ... We leave next Saturday for 15 days in Panama, the opposite. Diving planned in Bocas del Toro, where our 2nd son, who has just turned 10, must spend his OWD and join his eldest and my wife, certified last summer in Koh Tao. Then some other dives at Isla Coïba. Hope to see beautiful things too ... 8)

  6. Hello Corrine,
    I discover with pleasure both your blog and this article. Congratulations, it is very well told and your photos are beautiful. It inevitably gives me the desire to re-dive! Moreover this summer, destination Bali to go dive with mantas and mola-molas. I'm going to explore your blog, it will make me wait!

  7. Hello Corinne,

    Can you tell me the differences with Raja Ampat? By the way in the passage to R4, there was more in 2016 badge to hang on his stab. I had to settle for 2015.
    Is it worth it to make a trip to Triton Bay even if we know R4? Anyway, the boss of the resort where I was seemed to say that Triton would be the next R4.

    Great photos in passing!

    1. @ Remi: The differences between Raja Ampat and Triton Bay are numerous:

      1 - In Raja Ampat (north archipelago, not Misool) we can dive all the year, but not in Triton Bay, which by its position further south, is too exposed to the winds during the period roughly corresponding to our summer (June-September).

      2 - In Triton Bay, we're ... in a bay. With what it implies in terms of visibility: water more charged, often green, with variations according to time, currents, tides. This visibility, not always at the top, will disappoint divers in search of consistently transparent water and "pretty" easy dives.

      3 - Triton Bay is a bay (bis). Not an archipelago like Raja Ampat. So there is not exactly the same landscape of islets scattered everywhere as in Raja Ampat, although it may look in some places for the appearance karst cliffs crowned with jungle.

      4 - Triton Bay is not easy at all to rally and not at all developed in tourism, unlike Raja Ampat, which has experienced an exponential popularity and development in recent years. So there is so far (May 2016) not much choice in terms of flights, accommodation and opportunities to dive in Kaimana and its surroundings. But it should evolve quickly, as was the case with Raja Ampat, and that's why Triton Bay is considered the next R4 ...

      5 - In Triton Bay, there is the opportunity to see whale sharks that come near mobile fishing platforms called "bagans" (as in Cenderawasih Bay). It is more uncertain to see Raja Ampat.

      6 - In terms of underwater wildlife, Triton Bay seemed to me as rich as Raja Ampat, with coral in very good health too. The difference is played out on the conditions to be able to observe things. Despite a visibility not always top, I saw trevallies, large hump parrots, wobbegongs, barracudas, gaterins and all the tropical fauna usual in these countries ... I did not see manta rays. But I read the story of a diver who saw it during a cruise-diving in the area. For the little one, the visi is not a problem, so for the macro fanatics, all the sites of Triton Bay are fabulous ... With a special mention for the pygmy seahorses, I talk about it:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2016/05/08/pygmy-seahorse-triton-bay/
      Finally, on sites accessible from Triton Bay a little further offshore, the visibility is much better, we meet impressive benches surgeons and jacks, the show is often great, but the sites are less "easy" because of the waves and of the current. It is necessary that the good conditions are reunited to go there.
      8)

  8. I discovered your site in favor of a site search, especially for my 2 sons (19 & 16 years), who dive mostly in Asia, because of our travels.
    Pictures sublime, but especially - and it is much rarer in the French blogosphere - fluid text and high quality, without the slightest mistake spelling or grammar! A delight.

    1. @Olivier : thank you very much, glad that my site can be an inspiration for your two sons!
      As for the rest, it's a bit my job, at the base ... I started working as a copywriter and copywriter for publishers, I was also a translator English-French literary and I'm entry into journalism through the editorial office ... 😉 Today, some colleagues call me "mistress" when they need advice on the agreement of the past participle and others call me "Nazi of the syntax "... But like everyone, I still happen to let shells pass. I'm sure looking good we can find ... 😀

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