It’s another day in paradise and I’m working at my desk when Asong comes running in, gesturing wildly for me to follow him shouting ‘Quick, quick! Ikan besar!’ (- big fish!). So I grab my camera and run out onto the deck where all 7 boat crew are leaning over the side pointing at what, at first glance, looks like nothing but ocean. It doesn’t take a genius to know experienced boat crew aren’t going to wake up one morning and get excited at the realization that they’re surrounded by water. Sure enough, as my eyes adjust to the morning sun, I catch a glimpse of white and shadow just below the surface. As it gets closer the form takes shape and I realize that we’re being circled by a manta ray.
All eight of us stand, transfixed in awe, as our magnificent manta gracefully glides and turns through the water, coming up to feed and then disappearing again. Each time it returns there’s a collective sigh of relief that the magic isn’t over yet.
But then, as quickly as it appeared, the manta leaves and one by one we reluctantly go back to work – goofy smiles on our faces at the thought of our lucky encounter.
It’s another reminder of the wonder of Raja Ampat, the richest marine environment in the world and a place I’m fortunate enough, for now at least, to call home. Paradise indeed.
Wish you were here? Come & join us!