I hope I’m not boring you yet… but I have to talk about all the awesome encounters I had in the seas of Raja Ampat. The sheer numbers of fish to be seen. The giants and the small critters.
I even had one of my big dreams come true: I spotted a Whale Shark from the boat. Only a small one, about five meters long, and it did not wait for us. So no, I did not dive with a Whale Shark, I did not snorkel with one, I did not film it, but… I saw it. I even saw its spots when it swam right under the boat. And Whale Sharks are NOT common in Raja Ampat, so I was incredibly lucky…
Back to the things I did see, and film. There are really a lot of fish there, in big schools, and they are not shy. Have a look at these impressions, taken mostly from Citrus Ridge and Cape Kri:
Can you imagine how much biomass is swimming there, the Snappers, the Barracudas, Trevallys, up all the way to Napoleon Wrasses and the big Bumpheads?
The following video shows the biggest Giant Clam I have ever seen, quite a lot of sedentary biomass, too:
And of course, my favorites: the Mantas. Here in Raja Ampat, 41% of them are melanistic, i.e. mostly black. At Manta Sandy, we had the luck to watch 12 individual Reef Mantas being cleaned and chasing each other in mating rituals. And the last scene shows a wonderful Oceanic Manta at Blue Magic:
I love Mantas. That’s why I decided to give a small donation to the Marine Megafauna Foundation. More about that later!