Gorgon Giant at Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
Gorgon Giant at Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)

In The Heart of The Coral Triangle

#Indonesia #RajaAmpat #Misool

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - Oct-Nov 2015

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: 


In the waters of Misool, in the south of Raja Ampat, there are swarms of glittering fish and multicoloured coral in a mess... I take you on a dive cruise in the heart of the Coral Triangle, in Indonesia.

Set course for Raja Ampat and Misool!

November 2, 2015. I'm on board the Waow, a magnificent three-masted ship specially designed for diving cruises. After the Banda Islands and incredible encounters with Hammerheadswe are now approaching the south of Raja Ampatwith dives in the waters of Misool Island. (Pulau Misool, in Indonesian).

I've been to Raja Ampat several times before, but this is the first time I've sailed to Misool. The name of this island and its geographical location, in the heart of an area called "Coral Triangle"...that I've been dreaming about for a long time...

Misool, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, in l'archipelago of Raja Ampat (Map: Adex.asia) -
Misool Island is located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, in the Raja Ampat archipelago. (Map: Adex.asia)
Secrets od Seram. Diving cruise on the Waow, from October 27 to November 8, 2015.
The itinerary of the "Secrets of Seram" dive cruise on the Waow, from October 27 to November 8, 2015.
Behind the Waow, the karst islets south of Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015)
Behind the Waowfrom the islets south of Misool Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015)
Waow burning

Updated February 2018. The Waow???? Unfortunately, this magnificent diving cruise ship that used to sail the waters of the Indonesian archipelago, and on which I had the chance to embark in 2015, no longer exists... ???? Unfortunately, it burned and sank in the bay of Cenderawasih, Indonesia, during the night of January 31 to February 1, 2018. I refer you to the message published on their Facebook page and on their site.

More to read:
→ All my articles on Raja Ampat
→ Raja Ampat: practical information to organize your trip

As we approach Misool, we discover a cluster of karst islets, capped by greenery. Typical landscape of Raja Ampat, which reminds us a little of the bay of Phang Nga in Thailand (Krabi, Koh Phi Phi).

The crew of the Waow maneuver, in front of the islets south of Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The crew of Waow at the maneuver, in front of the islets south of Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
Nice, the walk in the middle of the islets! (South Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
Nice, the walk in the middle of the islets! (South Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The karst cliffs plunge into the turquoise water. (South Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The karst cliffs plunge into the turquoise water. (South Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)

The Coral Triangle, a treasure trove of biodiversity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans

The Coral Triangleis the richest region in the world for marine biodiversity: the area is home to 76% of the world's coral species! This triangle is roughly bounded by the Philippines to the north, Borneo to the west, the Sunda Islands, Timor and Papua to the south, and the Solomon Islands to the east (see map below).

Here, the waters of the Pacific meet those of the Indian Ocean. Right in the middle are the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. With the tides, monsoons, seasons, the influence of El Niño or La Niña, powerful, nutrient-laden currents rush through the straits between all these islands.

The phenomenon is called in English The Indonesian Throughflow (ITF). A great mix, a source of life and an underwater profusion absolutely unique in the world! More than 1,400 species of fish and some 600 species of coral have been recorded here to date...

The coral triangle. (Source: Wikimedia)
The Coral Triangle. (Source: Wikimedia)
Diversity of coral species in the world. (Source: WWF Australia report, May 2009)
The diversity of coral species in the world... We can see, in red, the famous "triangle", which concentrates the most variety of species. (Source: WWF Australia, May 2009)
(Source: TheCoralTriangle.com)
(Source: TheCoralTriangle.com)

People often ask me why I always go back to Indonesia... For the diver that I am, one of the main reasons is precisely the beauty of the underwater landscapes and the extraordinary richness of the fauna in this famous Coral Triangle! Impossible to get tired of the seas of the Indonesian archipelago!

Underwater, it's even more beautiful

Two dive days are planned here, south of Misool, before we reach the north of the Raja Ampat archipelago for the end of the cruise. I prepared carefully my box the night before for my underwater photos. In the heart of the Coral Triangle, Misool has the reputation of having beautiful reefs. I can't wait to see it!

The first good surprise when I go below the surface: the water is much warmer than the previous days when we were in the Banda Sea! We go from 24-25°C to 28°C !!! Raaah... Non divers don't realize, but scuba diving has nothing to do with just swimming. Those few little degrees make a big difference when you stay submerged for about an hour (and you're a super cold person like me).

The rest... it's just fantastic. ???? I almost cry with joy in my mask, it's so beautiful. Everywhere it explodes with life and colour. The reefs abound in gorgonians and there's a spectacular mass of fish.

Pictures are better than a long speech. To begin, I give you below a short video sequence, full of life (with glittering fish balls that form and re-form in an instant as in Nemo), which sums up well the underwater atmosphere that reigns here, in the heart of the Coral Triangle...

At the Andiamo site, where I did the little sequence above, we even saw a squadron of mobulas rays a little further, in the blue... (Sigh.)

On the coral side, I've taken a lot of pictures during these two days!

Gorgon Giant at Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
At Misool, the sea fans are huge! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
At Misool, there is healthy coral and fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)

I take pictures, I switch to video mode, I go back to the photos and I don't know where to put my head... 😲 😮

Coral Reef Splendor

As I explained above, at Raja Ampat, we are right in the heart of the Coral Triangleat the epicentre of marine biodiversity. You don't have to be a marine biologist to verify that. You can see it at first glance, on the sites still preserved from degradation due to human activity.

For coral and fish, this translates into an amazing variety and density of coral that I have rarely seen elsewhere, except perhaps at Komodo. I often use the word "profusion" to describe Raja Ampat's holdings, and that's exactly what it is... I never get tired of it. 

These two days around Misool pass alas too quickly!

The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
In Misool, there are fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
Batfish at Misool. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
At Misool, there is healthy coral and fish everywhere! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The coral in Misool is sumptuous. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)

I love it when there's so much coral debauchery, with poiscaille everywhere! The little I saw of Misool impressed me quite a bit, I must admit. I'll have to come back... 😈

The more I dive, the more the beauty of the underwater world touches me, moves me. The more I'm sensitive to its fragility, too.. Because these kinds of intact, healthy, life-sustaining reefs are in ever-decreasing numbers around the world. I feel privileged to have been able to admire such beautiful ones.

😍

I was a guest of the Waow from 27 October to 8 November 2015, for this diving cruise called "Secrets of Seram". All the opinions expressed here remain 100% mine. 

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - Oct-Nov 2015

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  1. Beautiful article, and beautiful pictures. Ideal to start the week.

    Moreover our countdown has also started, in one month we will be there too 🙂

  2. Indah sekali!
    During our last stay, I met people holding homestays in the region of Misool, and I more and more want to try the adventure (ground). To have…

    Countdown also started, third visit to Pulau Kri in 18 days.

    b

  3. Congratulations for the photos, it's dreaming. It's beautiful! To believe that the fishing explosives did not reach the corals here ..
    Just a quick question, this dive is beyond 18 meters? If yes, how much?

    Jeans

    1. @Jean: No, no destructive explosives in the corner. Part of the area is protected.

      The pictures above are a compilation of several dives around Misool and were taken between 6 and 30 meters... But I am quite unable to say at which depth this or that gorgonian was precisely... 🙄

      As everywhere, we dive to the depth where we are able to go, knowing that the underwater floor does not stop at 18 meters... The organizers adapt in principle the outings to the levels of the divers and will not take level 1 or Open Water beyond 18 meters... 🙄 In general, in areas so far away from any rescue, for safety reasons, stick to recreational diving preferably without deco. It is therefore rare, for tourist diving groups, to go beyond 40 meters. Most of the dives start, for their deepest part, in the 20-30 meters zone, and then we progressively go up as time goes by.

      But in these waters, it is not so much the depth that can pose a problem (and it is enough to make your eyes full at all the depths), that the currents, which one must know how to manage, that the one is at 12, 18 or 26 meters ...

  4. @Corinne : always so beautiful your photos ! Here, we didn't have the same temperatures in the far north! 😆
    Well, it's true, I never get tired of seeing your underwater photos, and these superb corals. Let's hope we'll keep them for a long time! Let's preserve the bottom of the oceans, and the nature in general ! Congratulations to you! 🙄

    1. @Didier: thank you !!! Yes, I, too, every time I "rediscover" my photos by preparing a post, I tell myself that I was very lucky to have been able to contemplate all these wonders, while hoping that these funds will be underwater. still as beautiful in 15-20 years and beyond ...

  5. Waow: this cruise is aptly named.
    These beautiful images that you show us give a crazy desire, that of immersing himself.
    I'm going to Mimpi Indah in March, but I'm already thinking afterwards when I see these cruising images.
    Thank you for making us dream at first, and for making those dreams come true later 😉
    I look forward to the next comments accompanied by these photographic wonders.
    Eric S

    1. @ Eric S: thank you for this small comment very nice ... The Mimpi Indah in Bangka, North Sulawesi, is a good base to turn the dream into reality! And already dream of the following trips ... Have a nice stay !!!
      8)

  6. It's true the photos are beautiful, I'm in the caribbean perso ... I'm actually "live" some comments, the brilliance of colors, the majesty of ballista and royal angels, the clouds of blue dolphins ... a turtle has even made us the honor of his presence ... it is beautiful our infra planetes pity that my camera has failed me and my camera has problems ... suddenly I fell on a Mobo ... Mexican go pro ... but what I just read confirms me ... I'm going to go diving in Indonesia ...

    1. @ Stéphane: if you have the opportunity to discover the Indonesian funds, do not hesitate ... There are many exceptional sites in the archipelago, what to take full eyes!
      🙄

  7. Waouhh sublime, I'm absolutely mad about gorgonians and soft corals. I will be at Raja Ampat in a short time, and although I do not dive, I feel that I will take full eyes in snorkeling 8). Thank you for these photos and videos.

    1. @Catherine: I too love giant gorgonians and soft corals in profusion... Even in snorkeling, there is enough to be impressed, in Raja Ampat... Enjoy your stay !!! 🙂

  8. Hello and thank you Corinne for your blog and the time you spend there.

    This will help me a lot for my itinerary in November.

    Continue like that bravo.

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