It’s that time of year again, where the final trip for the Raja Ampat season is finished and we must make The Crossing through the Banda Sea and into Komodo. Before I get ahead of myself though I’d just like to reflect back to my five most favorite moments or encounters of this past Raja season, which happened to be the best so far.
5. The time a wobbegong sat on my head.
Wobbegong sharks are typically found lying under coral heads and are quite rarely seen swimming about like their other more streamlined brothers. As I was photographing one doing just that, I felt something softish begin to rest on the back of my head/tank. Assuming it was a divers fin I turned
around but instead of a yellow fin I found the yellow underbelly of a wobbegong now resting on my mask. As he realized I was not part of the reef he calmly swam away until he found a nice resting place a a short moment later.
The mangroves in Raja have to be on of the most amazing and unique sites to dive. Light pierces though the aquatic forest above and cuts through the glassy water creating one of the most surreal visual experiences your likely to have underwater. The coral reef casts a perfect reflection onto the surface as archer fish weave in and out of the finger like roots of the mangroves. If your a photographer you couldn’t ask for a better combination of subjects.
3. Oceanic Mantas
In January this year, Mermaid II got extremely lucky with the oceanic mantas. On two consecutive dives at one of the best sites in Raja, Karang Bayangan, we encountered the most oceanic mantas (the big ones) I’ve ever had. We were able to count thirteen mantas in one dive.The entire dive was spent watching these ocean giants as they came in groups of three to five passing inches from everyones faces as they courted and cleaned.
2. Blue Rings!
Easily one the most amazing creatures you could ever find is found quite regularly on the night dives in Raja Ampat. The blue ring octopus is a small octopus with iridescent blue rings all over it’s body. They are highly inquisitive and appear to dance across the reef which can keep you occupied for the entire dive.
1. Mobula Magic
For the first three quarters of the season we had epic mobula ray and anchovy action like I’ve never seen before. Nearly every trip in the south of Raja, Misool, we had at least one dive where the water would go dark and we would find ourselves in frenzied school of anchovies being hunted by anywhere from five to thirty mobula rays. Not only were these moments my best in Raja but also topped my best moments in my diving career.
Mermaid II Raja Ampat Scuba Diving Cruise
April 8-16, 2016