Snorkeling and diving in Raja Ampat (West Papua): the underwater landscape
Raja Ampat is located in the Coral Triangle, an area features by the greatest marine biodiversity on the world, hosting hard and soft corals, fish and molluscs in such number that they are not "inserted" into the landscape, but they do form the landscape itself.
Raja Ampat's marine ecosystem is characterized by a very complex interaction between thousands of different species, some of which are endemic and can't be found in other areas of the planet. The state of health of the corals is excellent and these creatures are so lush, that they create a real "underwater landscape". It's important to remember that all of the photos on these pages were taken from the surface of the sea during simple snorkeling trips, not during dives.
Pictures of corals from Raja Ampat islands in West Papua. There are so many corals, that they aren't simply "inserted" into the undersea landscape, but they form the landscape itself.
School of fish swimming along the coral reefs of Raja Ampat islands.
The large blocks of limestone that make the landscape of Raja Ampat so spectacular above the surface of the sea, continue down into the abyss, with vertical walls of rock completely covered by corals and other creatures. The undersea visibility in Raja Ampat is less than what I was able to find in other areas of the planet; this is mainly due to the enormous amount of nutrients contained in the water.
Photos of reef in Raja Ampat showing the many different corals.
A few more images of the vertical walls that plunge into the depths of the Pacific ocean, as a natural extension of the of rock above the water, that forms the island. All photos were taken just swimming on the surface, without diving.
A structure made of coral that becomes home to many different vertebrates and invertebrates.
Fish swimming around corals, to create an environment full of life, characterized by a virtually unique biodiversity in the world.
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat reveals vertical walls and banks of rocks full of corals hosting additional form of life, as many species use corals as an home to find shelter from predators.
More underwater pictures of Raja Ampat islands showing the undersea environment.
Photos of a reef in Raja Ampat.
Underwater photos showing a landscape dominated by a huge reef that is home to hard and soft corals, sponges, sea squirts, fish in such a concentration that I have never seen in any other part of the world.
Photos of a reef showing different species of corals.
More undersea photos of a coral reef that is home to acropora, leather corals, brain corals and velvet corals. In the next pages in this web site, we will analyse each coral in additional details.
The reefs characterized by additional protection from waves and strongest currents, host a completely different range of creatures. In the narrower channels, where sea water mixes with fresh water coming from the ground, there is an incredible variety of rare soft corals, sponges, sea squirts and other invertebrates, which cover completely every single inch of rock. This is a paradise for macro-photography, where it's difficult to meet sharks or turtles, but where there are some of the most bizarre forms of life that you can see the seas.
Rock walls completely covered with soft corals, sponges and sea squirts, found during a snorkeling trip to Raja Ampat.
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