The Wayag island group in northern Raja Ampat, Indonesia is an incredible feast on the eyes, with hundreds of karst islets scattered throughout a calm lagoon. This picture perfect place is best seen from the top of Mt Pindito where one can observe the entire lagoon from above. For this photo I have used HDR photography to stitch 3 photos together in order to bring out the best blues and greens possible.
The Daram island group in Raja Ampat is one of my personal favourite destinations in all of Indonesia. Dense schools of fish, beautiful soft corals and very few divers make for an incredible dive experience spread over several different world class sites. This photo is take at the site “Warna Berwarna” which boasts a huge diversity of life from big schools of fusiliers to the tiny Denise pygmy seahorse. This image boasts colourful soft corals and a dense school of fusiliers cruising along the reef.
Alor is one of the most underrated destinations in Indonesia, in fact, the entire area east of Maumere is home to some incredible geography with plenty of belching volcanoes, healthy reefs, and traditional cultures. Although many divers head to the area to take advantage of the superb macro photo subjects, the wide angle photography opportunities are also very rich. One of the more unique areas is the island of Pura, a large volcano thrusting 1000 metres out of the water in the strait between Pantar and Alor. On the south eastern shore of Pura lies one of the more interesting dives in Alor, basically several kilometres of never ending bubble tipped anemones and their resident clownfish. Although the endless spread of anemones is a cool site to see, it’s the chance to encounter local kids in the water at this site that can often be the highlight of a dive here. Quite often the young boys from the village can be found playing in their small boats or swimming in the water with their hand made spear guns. It’s quite a sight to look up from the reef to see one of these young men peering down at you from the surface while wearing home made goggles. With this particular shot I spotted the guys paddling out toward me in their small outrigger while I was near the surface. Next thing I knew, the two young fellas both popped their faces into the water at the same time! I think they did this not only to check who was down there but also to see if I had a camera, because the next thing you know they both jumped into the water at the same time. Why did they want to see if I had a camera? Why did they jump in the water? They wanted to perform for my camera of course! While one of them kept diving down and posing in a zen like state, the other was swimming along with his spear gun trying to impress me with his fish killing prowess (I ignored him because of that..) I spent 15 or 20 minutes with these kids taking quite a few photos of them but it was the first photo that stands out the most. I was extremely fortunate to capture their happy smiles and the obvious eagerness as they were waiting to “clown” for the camera.
Alor, Eastern Indonesia, Nikon D90 with Aquatica Housing, 10-17mm lens at 10mm, f8, 1/250
Mike just spent three weeks scouting Raja Ampat before our big trip out there in March 2015, here are a few samples of the stunning topside scenery that we will hopefully encounter while we are there. The topside scenery of Raja was stunning as usual and Mike was even able to explore a few places he has not visited before such as Ayu Atoll. Although he didn’t do a lot of diving and there are no underwater shots to be shown, the trip was incredible and we can’t wait for our big 2015 Underwater Tribe trip with the Mermaid II liveaboard coming soon!
Photo of the Day – Manta Rays Feeding at Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat
A snake eel being cleaned by a shrimp, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
A small needle fish reflecting on the water surface