Returned from Raja

Wow!  What a trip!

I’ve just returned from an amazing 10-night trip around Raja Ampat in West Papua.  Led by underwater photographer Shannon Conway and professional dive guide Graham Abbott, we sailed around Raja Ampat aboard the Indo Siren, exploring some of the best sites on offer.

From pygmy seahorses no bigger than your fingernail to sharks and mantas, mangroves to muck and pristine coral reefs, Raja Ampat really is a special place.  One of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on the planet, every dive is a surprise.

We went off the beaten track and visited sites where boats don’t normally stop.  One of those was the Bluewater Mangroves where bright pink soft corals cling to the shallow mangrove roots.  We had two full days in these beautiful waters shooting the mangroves and their inhabitants in both morning and afternoon light.  It’s a unique place but one rarely dived due to crocodiles, although we didn’t see any this trip.

We visted Arborek village and handed out colouring books and pencils to the smiling kids before diving their jetty at night; we squealed with joy as a large pod of pilot whales (or false killer whales) raced under our dinghys, jumping, showing off their babies and whistling and clicking around us; we swam through schools of thousands of silversides, watching them move as one to escape the mouths of trevally and tuna; we scoured mucky slopes at night, finding more weird and wonderful critters than we could photograph.

6776 photos later, I’m home and it’s now time to start sorting through and processing the images.  I’m looking forward to reliving those magic dives as I do so.

_DSC1992-webIn the meantime, here’s a few shot from my last Raja trip, images from this trip will follow in time.

_DSC3000-web _DSC3265-web _RA11068-web

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