8 – 27 February 2010

While we were in North Raja Ampat, we were incredibly fortunate to have professional photographers and videographers Claudia & Leon Joubert document our stay and experience in what is arguably the epicenter of marine biodiversity. Claudia Pellarini-Joubert and Leon Joubert of the Bittenbysharks.com fame work with Max Ammer to manage and market Sorido Bay Resort.

Click and watch their video here of “Yogi and Stella in Raja Ampat“.

Coral Triangle Photo Expedition from WWF on Vimeo.

From the big picture all the way zooming in to the small critter, Raja Ampat keeps one riveted and awestruck

From the big picture all the way zooming in to the small critter, Raja Ampat keeps one riveted and awestruck

Not a single day were we not blown away by the varied sceneries here in Raja Ampat. We were so greedy in seeing everything that even if three weeks with Papua Diving may seem like a lot of time, it was seriously not enough. The dinner table story telling by Max made Yogi rub his goatee thinking, hmmm, when can we come back here again? West Papua is such a massive area – a place with more secrets to tell and more wonders to be discovered – one of the last remaining frontiers still with remote unchartered territories. Sounds adventurous? You cannot begin to imagine!

Narrow base holding small island outcrops like this seem to defy gravity. What we're not showing is the wider side view :)

Narrow base holding small island outcrops like this seem to defy gravity. What we’re not showing is the wider side view :)

The Passage holds a magical place photographers love, a cave with topside illumination!

The Passage holds a magical cavern photographers love – an underwater cave with topside illumination!

The sun illuminating the topside foliage shows off this massive gorgonian fan in the shallows in a different light

The sun illuminating the topside foliage shows off this massive gorgonian fan in the shallows in a different light

When not diving, much of our activities were spent snorkelling in shallow waters. The blue water mangroves were our favorite hangout place for many many days – blue water mangroves with coral reefs fighting for space in amongst the mangrove roots! It was like if we thought it couldn’t get any better, it did! Here are some samples of shallow (less than a meter) wonders:

This bright red dendronephthya soft coral is attached to a mangrove root and the water around us was indeed BLUE! Not your usual murky mangrove environment!

This bright red dendronephthya soft coral is attached to a mangrove root and the water around us was indeed BLUE! Not your usual murky mangrove environment!

Unbelievable corals of many different species grew in one meter depths beside the mangroves. Corals are very busy procreating here!

Unbelievable corals of many different species grew in”coral tips touching the surface” depths right beside the mangroves. Corals are very busy procreating here!

Rain or shine we were out there photographing. Here, on an extremely low tide, corals grow till the water surface

Rain or shine we were out there photographing. Here, on an extremely low tide, corals grow till the water surface

Much like freshwater arowanas, these archerfish stay in the water surface, gulps in water to spit on an unknowing insects perched on a leaf or branch of mangroves

Much like freshwater arowanas, these archerfish stay in the water surface, gulps in water to spit on unknowing insects perched on a leaf or branch of mangroves

And these half beaks roam along the surface with the archerfishes

And these half beaks roam along the surface with the archerfishes

And in 10 meter depths in the mangrove area we found this massive porites hard coral that may be centuries old!!!

And in 10 meter depths in the mangrove area, we found this massive porites hard coral that may be several centuries old!!! These are very slow growing corals perhaps around 9mm/year, scientists say

On the subject of rising water levels, I asked our boat guides if they remember how it was when they were young, living in the nearby village. Was the beach farther than it is now? They thought for a while and tried to remember. And their answer is yes – this beach was about 10 meters away.

Noticed a whole beach full of these coconut trees with almost all their roots exposed

The whole beach full of these coconut trees with half their roots exposed

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