Raja Ampat – Underwater

Home to one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, the underwater world of Raja Ampat is a dream for snorkelers and divers alike. Below you can find some pictures of the incredible marine life we spotted while snorkeling off the island of Batanta.

36613888

40658560

40549248

39523584

39408512
There were plenty of beautifully-patterned clams lying on the sea floor
37990144
These ones, always tucked neatly into the crevices of the reef, would close tightly as we swam overtop of them, leaving nothing but a squiggly blue line to mark where their mouth had been.
36796096
This clam was by far the biggest we would see while snorkeling. If we could have swam down next to it, it would have stretched from our waist to the top of our head.
39093248
Apart from giant clams, we would also come across some oversized fish during our time under water. This angel fish, which in this photo is about 20-30 yards away, was bigger than we were…
39813312
…as was each parrotfish in this school, a video of which you can find here.
38518464
We also saw two cuttlefish swimming together, each the size of our torso.
38510912
Here‘s another video of them.

38371968

38202432

37889600

38747328

37874816

37828160

37579584

39637696
A brave clown fish peeking out from an anemone.

37096576

36702528

40492672
Apart from snorkeling around our homestay, we also went on a manta ray-watching tour where we got to swim with several of the graceful creatures that, like so many other things we had seen underwater, were larger than we were.

40238592

40148672

39068928
On our very last snorkeling outing before leaving Raja Ampat, our underwater camera malfunctioned and we lost all of our pictures from our entire time in Indonesia due to the memory card getting wet. Luckily, after getting back to China, we were able to recover most of the pictures and videos after purchasing a data-recovery system.

Read on for a poem by Kate:

Bolbometopon muricatum

Limbs tired,
we’ve been out
for an hour.

We push up
our masks,
pop out
our snorkels.

Go back?

Okay.
But first,
one more look.

Gear back in place,
we duck under.

A herd
of trunkless
elephants
blunders by,
trumpeting silently.

Is my mask fogged?
No.

A parade of parrot
fish stretches across
the reef’s drop-off, crunching coral.

They weave in and out
of one another, grazing,
creating clouds of sand that drift

up to shore creating
paradisiacal beaches
with swaying palms and birdsong.

We gaze at the school, mesmerized
by their elephantine mass, while
their colorful cousins
the size of our
hand dart
past.

The stampede swims out to the depths
as we turn to swim inland.