Welcome to Raja Ampat
The vague sound of chirping birds. It was the first thing I sensed when opening my eyelids this morning (16/10/10). Various birds responding to each other with clearer sound started to wake me from consciousness.
Inside a wooden cottage with the sun light trying to peek in from the sidelines of the window curtain. Surrounded by lush trees which makes us feel like in the middle of a jungle. Whilst a few meters in front of the cottage I can hear the sound of little waves crashing softly to the beach shore.
Home. That’s what I always feel at moments like this.
Last night, not long after we put our bags in the cottage, we were welcomed by a spotted cuscus that was climbing down a tree in front of our cottage. During breakfast we were greeted by a little beach iguana that suddenly appeared from behind a tree. Little to noon, a huge crowned pigeon flew by next to our cottage. Lunch was accompanied by the musical sound of beetles from surrounding trees.
We just arrived in Raja Ampat last night and just had the chance to dive once this morning. Diving that was marked with a meeting with the Pygmy Seahorse the size of half centimetres, up to a meeting with the famous Wobbegong Shark the size of one metre. But in that short amount of time seems like nature and its occupants is trying to prove something. That it’s not without reason Raja Ampat is know for its natural wealth.
Under water, Raja Ampat’s number of coral, fish, and moluscca species are considered highest in the world. Above water, stretches of turqoise blue sea water is tempting us to jump in. Clusters of small and big islands with its towering lush-green trees decorate the landscape. These isles are habitats of various bird, mammal, and reptil species, some of which are endemic to Papua and thus protected. Others of which have just recently been discovered.
No wonder people say that Raja Ampat is heaven. Under water you get stunned by the multitude of variations and colours of life. Above water, you get spoiled by the captivating natural landscape. Alfred Russel Wallace (1860) once said that Raja Ampat is “one of the most singular and picturesque landscapes I have ever seen”. Well I say, it’s photogenic indeed!
[Translated from my post in Bahasa Indonesia, Selamat Datang di Raja Ampat]