Adventurer / July 23, 2018

The Wild Misool

Venture to where the wild things are – Misool, South Raja Ampat – the richest marine biodiversity on earth.  Myth-enshrined ancestors form the basis of Papua’s modern social structure. Raja means “King”, while “Ampat” means four. According to the legend, eggs laid by a mega bird of Waigeo hatched into four fabled kings who settled the region’s four biggest islands from north to south; Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool. These four kings begat Raja Ampat’s original people, the Maya. A stone egg enshrined in a Mayalibit Bay lends a sliver of truth to this myth. This seascape safari is ideal for adventure and wildlife enthusiasts, honeymooners and those who love to gaze at the stars!

Misool Indonesia, just south of Raja Ampat, is a hidden archipelago of some of the most beautiful uninhabited islands in the world. White sand beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, mushroom-shaped islets, and pellucid turquoise waters. It is home to some of world’s most beautiful islands. Misool is bigger than what most people can think of. The size of Misool land and water combined is bigger than the “Island of Gods”, Bali. The most beautiful beaches and most exciting dive sites are only accessible by sea. There is no better way to travel to see them than by sailing on a luxury wooden yacht, Sequoia.

Rather than staying one remote resort, which limit your experience, your horizon can change each day you wake up as you travel between these pristine islands. Experience something truly majestic from forgotten cultures to vibrant soft corals and extraordinary fish on the richest reefs on earth. With 10 professional crew members including a cruise director, all your needs will be taken care of in a private and intimate settings. Begin your own journey. It is the ultimate luxury.

Daram

Daram is the eastern most Island of Misool. A short distance from our anchoring site, you can find scenic lagoon, shallow reefs and crystal clear waters make an ideal location for on-the water sport adventures like kayaking, tubing and water-skiing. Its long beaches make it ideal for turtle nesting.

Once underwater, submerged pinnacles will surround you where huge sea fans and beautiful soft coral are filled of schools of fusiliers, butterfly fish, barracuda, batfish and crocodile fish. If you want to see tiny critters, you can spot pigmy seahorses living on sea fans as well as camouflaged crabs and mantis shrimp.

Three favorites dives sites are waiting to be explored.  Andiamo “In Italian means Here we go”, Candy Store, as you will feel like a kid in a candy store: they are too many fish, and Warna Berwarna which means vibrant colors in Bahasa Indonesia, which is famous for its colorful soft corals. These sites satisfy both wide angle and macro photographers. If you stay in the resort, you will most likely not visiting Daram, as it is 35 nautical miles away from the closest resort, which in this case, Misool Eco Resort. Away from resort, also means you may most likely have these dive sites by yourself.

Wayilbatan

Wayil is Lines of coconut and lontar trees will welcome you to Wayil where we will serve you a sumptuous breakfast to start your morning. You can explore the island with multiple white sand beaches to set up a beach picnic in the morning before high tides wash away all the beautiful sands. It is a great place to relax and get ready for an underwater adventure.

What we love from Wayil that it has endless shallow lagoons to choose for a dive course, refreshment dive skill, or kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

Raja Ampat scuba diving has gained a reputation as being amongst the finest in the world. You will be in the center of thousands of fish just inches from your mask as they dart and change direction in a split second. The rainbow of colors, textures, and fish shapes bring you into a world that seems as if Pixar Animation created it.

You and your family can be trained together with our own private instructors. From the shallow Sandy beaches you can learn how to breath underwater, clear you mask, give proper hand signals and other skills to allow you to dive safely. With our PADI-certified dive instructor and 5 stars dive center, your underwater adventure will be safe and unforgettable.

If you are a diver, we normally start our morning with scuba diving at Neptune’s Fan Sea. It is given after the name of Neptune for its beautiful underwater garden. You will be welcomed with endless giant sea fans any size and any colors beyond our imagination. With a close inspection on the sea fan, you might see pigmy seahorse.  Raja Ampat is home to 533 out 798 known coral species, which is 75% of world coral species. Therefore, it is known as the “Amazon of the Sea”. The Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms; provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms. They are also the source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients for marine food chains assist in carbon and nitrogen fixing help with nutrient recycling. Losing our reefs will mean the extinction of many species and will inevitably lead to the breakdown our ecosystem’s health and function.

Another site is Wedding Cake, named after the tunnel full of soft corals just like a color of wedding cake, which offers a chance to see schools of batfish, trevallies, barracuda as well as pygmy seahorses and an endemic walking shark. This dive site is perfect for snorkeling or a beginner diver given no strong current.

Dive at Four Kings known for its abundance of hunting trevally and zillions of baitfish. It feels like you are in hunger games where fishes are busy hunting each other given the current allows us to dive here. In the low current, there are not much actions, however you can still enjoy beautiful ridges full of corals and fish. Due to its size, we recommend to spend 2 days in Wayil, which we can also finish with a night dive for a different experience in “Dunia Kecil” dive site.

Farondi & Wagmab

At Farondi, limestone cliffs drop vertically into the water giving impressive views above the sea and lovely drop-offs underwater. The area is filled with caves and overhangs to explore as well as a beautiful lagoon and fresh water lake. You can start your day with dives at Farondi Cave and Friendly Canyon. Misool marine sanctuary with both hard and soft corals makes it home for wobbegong shark as well as bump head parrotfish.

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The calm turquoise seas here are ideal for on-the water sport adventures like kayaking, tubing and water-skiing. If you look to the skies above, you may notice that you are accompanied by hundreds of doves of Papua.  We will take you on the Boston Whaler to the hidden lagoon to explore a freshwater lake with stingless jellyfish.

Balbulol

Balbulol Archipelago is located 7 nautical miles next to Faronda Island. It offers endless vistas, most of which are uninhabited, one can find and endless number of hidden bays, coves, and lagoons. It is here that you can explore these calm waters by kayak, stand up paddle boarding, or one of our speedboats.

There is only one home stay located nearby islandm Panung Island. This home stay does not provide any dive service, which means we might likely to have the dive/snorkeling sites by ourselves.  There are several dive sites to choose, one of our favorites is Love Potion no.8. If a good dive, we may see a large school of giant bump head parrotfish feeding on coral reefs. Snorkeling is very good in the Mango Island nearby while our crew prepare a beach picnic for you to enjoy and relax.

Fiabacet & Kalig

Fiabacet islands are two little islands east of Misool, which are famous for orangutan crabs, which make bubble coral their home. This area is covered with sea fan, table corals and soft coral. You will find tiny creatures such as pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and flatworms.

If you like wide-angle, you will be spoiled by school of fusiliers, butterfly fish, angelfish, grouper and damselfish as well as wrasse, parrotfish, surgeonfish, triggers, puffer fish and porcupine fish. It is the word’s aquarium.

One of our favorite dive sites is Magic Mountain, which some guests have referred to as ‘Like a Dream’! This site really lives up to its name. While diving this site you may see: manta rays, Napoleon Wrasse, patrolling white tip sharks and sheltering Wobbegong as well as big tunas and hunting trevally. Raja Ampat is also known as a “species factory”. There are at least 35 coral reef fish species, 40 coral species and 8 mantis shrimp, which are all can only be found to this region, that have recently discovered. You can also see the majestic Black Manta.

When most people think of the ocean they probably imagine whales, dolphins, and sharks. The sheer variety of life that is encompassed by the word ‘bizzare is endless here in Raja Ampat. As you explore, you may see the bizzare Wobbegong Shark, Walking Shark, as well as the Crocodile Fish, which has a very complex eye pattern.

In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most impressive site of Raja Ampat - Boo Windows - where every descent will surprise you. As you immerse yourself, schools of fish will welcome you to their beautiful world. You will most likely be surrounded by school of fish from Yellow Fin Fusilier, Batfish, Damsel Fish, Glass Fish to Big Eye Trevally, The Great Barracuda, Bump Head Parrotfish and Colorful Juvenile Sweetlips. As we sail, a school of Dolphins may be swimming along the yacht bowline steering them to their destination.

Yillet

Yillet consists of two main islands: Yillet Besar, which means Big, and Yillet Kecil, which means small. Yillet Besar is so beautiful with powdery white sand. It was a shark finning camp turned into a park ranger station, which we can visit to see what they do to conserve this region. As a bonus, we can swim with baby sharks in the morning. They are harmless and very important part of ecosystem.

Yillet Kecil offers underwater plateau with numerous spooky overhangs. As we have too many afternoon sunset tea or cocktail in another islands, we recommend you to do a new adventure “sunset dive.” We should start descend on sunset and finish after the dark. What is so special about this dive site is the big possibility to meet the endemic Epaulette Walking Sharks your appreciation for this highly diversified family of fish will forever change. They live and hunt on the seabed or on the reefs and are only found in this region of the world.

Jef Pele & Lenmakana

These two islands are less visited due to its remote location. It is right off the border with Ceram Sea of Molluccass. We recommend spending two days exploring this remote region. They are endless activities to keep you busy yet relax. They are several stingless jellyfish lakes to explore, depending upon the season. They are sensitive to the water temperature. They can dormant in the bottom when the water is too warm or too cold.

We can start with a little adventure dive in the Pele’s Playground. It has a long plateau, ridge, and wall where on each side completely covered with soft corals. Mobula Rays and Manta Rays are spotted here when we are lucky. The underwater plateau is covered with hard corals and small fishes.

Kaleidoscope dive site is one of our favorites in Misool. It is named after the burst of soft corals and schools of fishes. As you descent, you will see that both sides of the ridges are covered with elephant ear sponges. With a close inspection on the hard corals coral, we may find wobbeggong shark. It feels like in a pixar movie of Disney. Unreal!

Toblerone dive site is located in the little island nearby Pele. It is named after the V-shaped of the ridge, which we can see after the window underwater. It is quite similar with wedding cake dive site in Wayil. Imagine swimming along side of manta rays, sharks, stingless jellyfish, giant bump head fish, colorful soft coral and thousands of reef fish while staying on the surface of the water. The aquatic treasures of Raja Ampat can be enjoyed by virtually any one at any level – the only equipment needed are a mask, snorkel and fins!

How much we love diving in Blue Hole. It is a hole that we can dive with a beautiful above water scenery. The island nearby looks like a bird head of Papua. Crystal clear water means good visibility, which can reach 50 meter (150 feet) deep. The boomies are beautiful, full of corals and life. Giant midnight snappers make this bommie home. The spotted ray was seen in our last dive here. What is so special is you can find orange fluorescent colors of anemones. It is an aquarium.

The powerful 225 hp Boston Whaler Dauntless is set up for water skiing with either one or two skis depending on your skill level. Alternatively, you can choose to be towed by our 2-person tube. This is a popular activity for kids to enjoy together as they glide back and forth along the waters of calm bays. A relatively new activity that is gaining popularity is Paddleboarding. It allows you to enjoy your surroundings without the sound of any machines or engines while viewing the world around you. You can also combine it with kayaking.

Dapunlol

The islands within Raja Ampat islands are considered by many to be the most beautiful islands on earth. There are hundred of peaks from to Wayag in the North to Dapunlol in the South that you can hike to get a bird’s eye view and take pictures.

The wild territory of less visited peak in Raja Ampat is Danpulol, which is also known as Harfat Jaya Peak. It is one of the most visually breath-taking and captivating sites in Raja Ampat. The island is heavily forested, and at first sight reveals nothing but a thick green carpet of dense forests .To the east and west of the island, a maze of limestone pinnacles jut sharply out of the blue sea, carved and eroded by the waves and carpeted luxuriantly in vegetation.

It also offers various types of natural attractions like karsts, flora and fauna. Reaching the top of the mountain takes some effort but once on the summit, the refreshing air and stunning views will amaze you. You may even see an eagle cruising high above you. After you return down on the beach, you can swim or snorkel in one of its blue lagoons to cool down while our crew prepares a little delicacy & cold press juice.

Peak points are not the only place you will be able to explore. There are endless possibilities for exploration on hidden beaches. Once you choose which beach to explore, we will take you there with the smaller boat and you can bask in the shade while reading a book. The best are pockets of privacy, artfully selected and in just the right location, not too far to skip to that secret beach where you can do a lunch picnic, massage, or climbing coconut tree. Baby sharks are common to be seen on the shallow water near the beach, as well as baby turtles making their first walks to the sea in the late afternoon or in the nighttime. It is majestic.

With more than 50 islands, most all of them are uninhabited, one can find and endless number of hidden bays, coves, and lagoons. It is here that you can explore these calm waters by Kayak, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or one of our speedboats. Our favorite is Puncak Cinta, which means the love peak. We can take a hike following the wooden stairs, once reaching the summit it is clear that the lagoon has a heart shaped. We can also explore the lagoon with any activities you feel like doing from snorkeling to stand up paddle boarding. Scuba diving is also possible.

As you paddle, you will to hear the gentle sounds of nature from bird singing to dancing fish. You can also observe birds and wild plants such as pitcher plants and orchids. If you chose to swim in the lagoon, you may find thousands of fishes dancing below the water. It is a paradise not found anywhere else on earth.

You will also meet the friendliest people of the planet, 50,000 islanders, who live across 135 villages, which call Raja Ampat their home. It is comprised of thousands of magical Islands each unique in terms of landscapes and culture. You will be brought by local tribes to witness ancient rock art.  A number of petroglyphs can be found on walls of caves throughout the island, dating back approximately 5,000 years.

We will also visit Tomolol Cave so we can kayak inside ocean cave, where we can also visit the biggest pearl farm in Papua as well as stingless jellyfish lake in the right season.

Nowhere on earth compares to the equatorial Sunrise and Sunset. The combination of deep blue oceans, tropical islands, complex cloud formations, varying weather, all contribute to the depth and variety of both the Sun’s rise in the East and set in the West. You will view in awe and splendor the kaleidoscope of mixed colors within the swirls of clouds as a background of wooden ships in the background. Everyday a new canvas will appear on the horizon dramatically different from any one from yesterday or tomorrow.

Finish your afternoon with tea or a cocktail while you become mesmerized by the romantic sunset of equatorial Indonesia. Continue with Dinner under the stars with the underwater hull lights on to illuminate the sea around you and the music of your choice playing in the background. End your night with a romantic “under the sky” movie cinema up in our sky deck or on a pristine beach.

Your day will start with a sumptuous breakfast made to order and a light healthy lunch. Before sunset we provide with tea and/or your choice of cocktails. Diner will be a multi-course dining experience that you will remember for years to come. In terms of venue, you may choose to dine in the spectacular great room, al fresco in our sky deck, or on any number of beautiful island beach settings. We love to do something out of ordinary to make you feel special. Thinking of romantic jetty dinner? It is for you to enjoy.

Misool Blue Water Mangroves

Indonesia has by far the world’s largest population of mangrove trees including the only “blue water” mangroves. Unlike the majority of mangroves elsewhere in the world, the mudflats are not built up, so the water is crystal clear, free of silt and river-borne sediments. This permits lots of light to penetrate to the bottom to the hard and soft multi-colored coral. It is great to snorkel or dive. The Blue Water Mangroves in Southern Misool and Gam are the Ideal locations for this exploration.

In the low ties, you may see Walking Sharks sleeping amid the sand is a home of the myriad of creatures such as Nudibranch, giant Sea Cucumbers, and patrolling Archer Fish. As a bonus, the jungles behind Mangrove are full of birdlife.

Start planning your coral triangle safari. Begin your own journey!

Pinneng, Nala Rinaldo, Coral Triangle Safaris take images and videos.