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 of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, 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 have already been to Raja Ampat several times, but this is the first time that I sail to Misool. The name of this island and its geographical situation, 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 diving cruise "Secrets of Seram" 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 Waow(Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015)

Updated February 2018. The Waow, this magnificent cruise-diving boat that used to sail the waters of the Indonesian archipelago, and on board of which I had the chance to embark in 2015, does not exist anymore... 😢 It unfortunately burned and sank, in the bay of Cenderawasih, in Indonesia, in 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

Approaching Misool, we discover a cluster of karst islands, covered with greenery. Typical landscape of Raja Ampat, which reminds a little the bay of Phang Nga in Thailand (Krabi, Koh Phi Phi).

The'crew of the Waow maneuvering, in front of the southern islets of Misool (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)
The crew of the 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 (Misool South, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.)

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

The Coral TriangleIt is 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 delimited by the Philippines in the north, Borneo in the west, the Sunda Islands, Timor and Papua in the south, up to the Solomon Islands in the east (see the map below).

At this place, the waters of the Pacific meet those of the Indian Ocean. In the middle, there are the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Depending on the tides, the monsoons, the seasons, the influence of El Niño or La Niña, powerful and nutrient-laden currents rush through the straits between all these islands.

The phenomenon is called in English The Indonesian Throughflow (ITF). It's 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 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)

I am often asked why I keep going back to Indonesia... For the diver that I am, one of the main reasons is 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 days of diving are planned here, south of Misool, before we reach the northern part of the Raja Ampat archipelago for the end of the cruise. I have carefully prepared my box the day before for my underwater pictures. In the heart of the Coral Triangle, Misool has the reputation of having beautiful reefs. I can't wait to see it!

First good surprise when I go under the surface: the water is much warmer than the previous days when we were in Banda Sea! We go from 24-25°C to 28°C ! Raaah... Non-divers do not realize it, but scuba diving has nothing to do with simple swimming. These few small degrees make a big difference when you stay underwater for about one hour (and you are a super cold person like me).

The rest... It's just fantastic. 😮 I'm almost crying with joy in my mask, so beautiful. Everywhere, it explodes with life and colors. 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 reform in an instant as in Nemo), which sums up the underwater atmosphere of this place, in the heart of the Coral Triangle...

At the Andiamo site, where I made the small sequence above, we even saw a little further, in the blue, a squadron of mobulas rays... (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, in Raja Ampat, we are right in the heart of the Coral Triangleat the epicenter of marine biodiversity. You don't need to be a marine biologist to verify this. You can see it at first glance, on the sites still preserved from degradation due to human activity.

For the coral and fishes, this translates into an amazing variety and a density as I have rarely seen elsewhere, except maybe in Komodo. I often use the word "profusion" to describe the bottoms of Raja Ampat and that's exactly what it is... I can't get enough 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 is such an abundance of coral, with fish 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 this kind of intact reefs, full of health, where life proliferates, are less and less numerous all over the world. I feel privileged to have been able to admire such beautiful ones.

😍

I was the guest of the Waow from October 27 to November 8, 2015, for this dive-cruise named "Secrets of Seram". All opinions expressed here remain 100% my own. 

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - Oct-Nov 2015

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  1. It's a perfect way to start the day, but it also gives you a taste of departure.

    Very beautiful landscape!

    Eric

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

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

  3. Indah sekali!
    On our last trip, I met some people who run homestays in the Misool area, and I'm more and more keen to try this (land) adventure. To be seen...

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

    b

  4. Bravo for the photos, they make you dream. It's so beautiful! It's hard to believe that fishing with explosives hasn't affected the corals here...
    Just a quick question, this dive is beyond 18 meters? If yes, how much?

    Jeans

    1. @Jean: no, no life-destroying explosives around here. 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 else, you dive as deep as you're capable of going, bearing in mind that the underwater floor doesn't stop at 18 meters... In principle, organizers adapt outings to divers' levels and won't take Level 1 or Open Water divers beyond 18 meters... 🙄 In general, in areas so far from any rescue, for safety's sake, stick to recreational diving, preferably without deco. So it's rare for tourist diving parties to go beyond 40 meters. Most dives start in the 20-30 metre zone, at their deepest, and gradually ascend as time goes by.

      But in these waters, it's not so much the depth that can pose a problem (and there's plenty to see at all depths), as the currents, which you need to know how to manage, whether you're at 12, 18 or 26 meters....

  5. @Corinne: your photos are as beautiful as ever! We didn't have the same temperatures in the far north! 😆
    Well, it's true, I never tire of seeing your underwater photos, and those gorgeous corals. Let's hope we can keep them for a long time! Let's preserve the ocean floor, and nature in general! Bravo à toi! 🙄

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

  6. Waow: this cruise is aptly named.
    These magnificent images you show us make us want to immerse ourselves in them.
    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'm looking forward to the next comments with 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)

  7. It's true, the photos are magnificent. Personally, I'm in the Caribbean... I'm actually "living" some of the comments, the brilliance of the colors, the majesty of the balistes and royal angels, the swarms of blue castagnoles... a turtle even honored us with its presence...it's a pity my camera failed me and that my camera had problems... so I fell back on a Mobo... the Mexican go pro... but what I've just read confirms me... I'm going to go diving in Indonesia...

    1. @ Stéphane: if you have the opportunity to discover the Indonesian seabed, don't hesitate... There are plenty of exceptional sites in the archipelago, enough to feast your eyes on!
      🙄

  8. 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.

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

    This will be a great help for my itinerary in November.

    Continue like that bravo.

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