Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness Pam & Wayne Osborn
Raja Ampat - Realm of Kings
Once upon a time a woman found seven eggs. Four eggs hatched to become kings, and the other three became a ghost, a woman and a stone. So goes the mythology of Raja Ampat's origins. The name literally translates as four kings and represents the four largest islands of this remote tropical archipelago.
Nestled just to the west of the Papuan bird's head peninsula, Raja Ampat is host to the most bio-diverse marine habitat on our planet. Part of the famed coral triangle, its rich palette of underwater life attracted us to visit in 2011 and 2012. Our base for both trips was the Misool Eco Resort on the island of Batbitim, 90 nautical miles from the Papuan port of Sorong.
The Misool Eco Resort is built around a lagoon that once hosted a shark finning camp. Today, 1100 square kilometres of the surrounding waters are a 'no take zone' and diving tourism has replaced the income from fishing.
The underwater images were taken from 65 dives during both visits.