RAJA AMPAT - THE 4 KINGS
Others claim it, We have it!
Increasingly well-known as the world epicentre of marine biodiversity, the islands of Raja Ampat offer a world of thrilling big animal encounters, the chance to see new species, pristine reefs of hard and soft corals and some of the world’s most intriguing macro creatures.
archipelago lies off the northeastern coast of West Papua, Indonesia’s most easterly province (formerly known as Irian Jaya), which occupies the western part of the huge island of New Guinea. Exotic? Mysterious?
This fascinating, vast and rugged province is both. Indeed it was perhaps the last of planet Earth’s regions to remain untouched by civilization. In 1770 Captain Cook and his landing party set foot on the western shores of the island and a volley of arrows sent them packing from a territory then inhabited by headhunters. Fortunately, a more welcoming reception awaits visitors these days!
The highest diversity recorded on earth
According to Conservation International (CI), marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. Diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Triangle composed of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
No two islands or islets are alike, and no two dive sites the same. The steep-sided walls of the rocks are shaped by wind and water. Soft, vanilla-coloured, sandy bays are ideal for spending time exploring between dives. But it is under the water where one finds the most amazing creatures in abundance.
Worldrecord house reef
Since Papua Diving was founded (1993) we have been working in the field of conservation. Before any other we worked on educating the local Papuan people about the importance of stewardship, protecting nature, harvesting instead of exploiting.
In 2001, during one of the CI marine surveys, Dr. Allen broke his record of fish diversity by counting 283 different species of fish during one dive. That dive was conducted in front of Sorido Bay Resort and added 80 species to the previous record of 203.
In April 2012, Dr. Allen conducted another survey and counted an amazing 374 different fish species. A significant increase of 91 species from his former Cape Kri count 11 years earlier. This increase is evidence that not only are the reefs around our resorts are the best in the Raja Ampat but also it demonstrates that our efforts in actively protecting them for over 18 years delivers results in increased bio-diversity and improved health in our local Eco-system.
The 4 kings: Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo
Known as the the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. It encompasses more than 8.3 million acres (33,750 km²) of land and sea and is roughly 150 x 225 kimometers! It is a part of the newly named West Papua (province) of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya. The area is vast and covers the size of Denmark. Transportation is only possbible by sea or air.
Kri Island is closest to the biggest King: Waigeo – famous for its birdlife and it’s also there where the French naturalists Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul found the first Black Tip Reef shark in 1824 – A short 30 min. boat ride from here!
Raja Ampat is home to many endemic species, like the ‘walking sharks’.
Still today scientists travel here to find new species. Both above and below.
However expect to see large numbers of schooling fish, manta rays, various species of pygmy seahorses, wobbegongs, bumphead parrot fish, giant trevally, barracuda and just about every reef fish and critter in the books. All of this is set against a vibrant backdrop of the world’s healthiest hard and soft corals.
On land expect a lot of birds and other wildlife like lizards and the Cuscus – a furry marsupial that often can be spotted in the evenings