November 2017

Paradise lost in the middle of the ocean

For many years, Raja Ampat was on my bucket list, just as a dream that we think it’s to far away to get it come true.

Raja Ampat is the eastern Indonesian region and it’s known for the tropical beaches, lush green rainforest and mangrove coastlines. However, the most known feature is the limestone island-peaks in the middle of the ocean, creating beautiful crystal clear lagoons. The diversity of nature in this area is simply stunning.

November 2017 came and I found myself flying to Sorong to visit one of my dream destinations by boat, and doing what I most love: diving and photography.

The plan was sailing north, to Wayag and do some cool shoots. The sailing was smooth and I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing when I woke up in Wayag … beautiful mushrooms islands covered by green and lush “tropical jungle” and turquoise lagoons (the perfect postcard for cosy white sand beach beaches).

For 8 days, we explore the region: kayaking in the middle of peak-islands, picnic and sunset bbq on the beach.. The sunsets … each one more stunning than the other.

Perhaps the highlight of the Wayag area has to be the crazy trekking we did to reach the top of one the tallest mushroom-islands. I’m used to live in the jungle and, without any other shoe’s option, I decided to trek (aka “climb”) the sharp limestone peak on flip flops. Although we started the adventure early morning, the tropical-humid-heat was there to remind us where we were. After 1h30 of filming and photos on the way up, we reached the summit. The view from the top was breathtaking and there was no bright sun to dissuade us from enjoying the moment. Even an eagle came to say hello and decided to share the sky with our drone.

Also hard to forget is the SUP adventure in the crystal waters of Hidden Bay, were we found ourselves exploring the narrow labyrinths of lagoons created by the the mushroom-islands. Not as cultural as my previous adventure (Maumere-Alor), we also did some village visiting and bird watching, trying to spot the Paradise Bird (mission accomplished).

The diving during this Wayag trip was good, although not as spectacular as I imagine it would be. However, on the way back to Sorong we stopped in Arborek and I finally had one of my dreams come true: diving with beautiful and gracious Mantas.

By the end, the way trip was a lot of fun with good friends (Patrick, my partner in crime for the second time, got some amazing footages; Kyan, Elis, Stephan and Wendi that came as models) and made me dreamed about exploring more about the region.

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