We all know that Raja Ampat holds the title for the richest marine diversity in the world, however, many aren't aware that it is one part of a larger system known as the Bird's Head Seascape. Covering 225,000 square kilometers of West Papua in Indonesia, the Bird's Head Seascape boasts the highest coral reef diversity for any area its size and is an extraordinarily diverse showcase for tropical marine life.
Comprising three main areas of Raja Ampat to the west, Cenderawasih Bay to the east, and Kalmana Regency and Triton Bay in the south, the 2,500 islands and reefs of the Bird's Head Seascape may, on the surface, appear extremely isolated from each other in the vast South Pacific. However, they are all intrinsically connected by larvae-bearing ocean currents that act as a giant incubator, distributing, and re-distributing species throughout the region with the Bird's Head Seascape at the center. This has created a sort of 'species factory' of thousands of types of marine creatures, many of them endemic, unique to science, and a haven for scuba divers.
Check out Bluewater Travel's new itinerary to Triton Bay and East Banda.
Some facts about the Bird's Head Seascape:
1711 species of reef fish
600+ species of coral
17 species of whales and dolphins
World's largest nesting grounds for Pacific leatherback turtles
Significant cetacean migration routes and aggregation sites
Over 70 endemic species found nowhere else
20 Marine Protected Areas
Over 200 scuba diving sites
Read our Underwater Photographer's Guide to the area.
Check out Bluewater Photostore's range of DSLR underwater housings.