In recent years, Raja Ampat has established a well-founded reputation as an unparalleled epicentre of marine biodiversity. The archipelago is home to over 1400 varieties of reef fish and 75% of known coral species in the world; more than twenty endemic species have been discovered along local reefs, and 16 species of marine mammal are found in these seas. From passing pods of colossal sperm whale, to minuscule pearly threads of seadragon pipefish first described to science in 2010, Raja Ampat has it all.
Marine mammals include Spinner Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Pygmy Killer Whales, False Killer Whales, Pilot Whales, Orcas, Sperm Whale, Pygmy Sperm Whale, Bryde’s Whales, and Dugong.
Green Sea Turtles and Hawksbill turtles are frequently encountered by divers, whilst Leatherbacks and Olive Ridley turtles are occasionally spotted.
Both Oceanic and Reef manta rays are found in Raja Ampat, the latter in truly staggering numbers around various cleaning stations and channels during the months of November to April. These majestic gliding creatures boast the largest brain to body ratio of any bony fish, and are a principal draw for divers from all over the world.
Although not particularly famed for muck sites, there are wealth of muck and macro species to rival most other regions of Indonesia – flamboyant cuttlefish, Lembeh seadragon , wonderpus, blue-ringed octopus, frogfish, several varieties of pygmy seahorse, and a wide array of nudibrachs to be found along the reefs and sandy island coves.
Notable endemics include the elaborately patterned Papuan Garden Eel, the exquisitely colored Nursalim’s Flasher Wrasse, and the Raja Ampat Bamboo Shark, a small mottled nocturnal species that uses its stout pectoral fins to ‘walking’ across the shallow seabed.
To read more, click the links below: