The off-season in Triton Bay usually runs around June to late Sept. Water temperature drops and the wind and waves pick up, making boat travel uncomfortable at best and sometimes even dangerous. We usually focus on renovations and improvements to the resort at this time. A few years ago we added new guest rooms, while last season saw new rooms for staff. The major project this past summer was changing the roofs on all the guest rooms and restaurant to a more durable and long lasting type of wood shingle. We even managed a few dives – the water might be cold for divers but the fish and corals don’t seem to mind!
If you come to Triton Bay, it won’t take long before you realize the area has some spectacular topography. Visitors have remarked that some places remind them a little of Palau, and a little of Wayag in Raja Ampat. Two of our first guests this season, Markus Roth and Karsten Heinrich, brought along drones and provided us with some stunning aerial photographs. What a way to kick off the season!
From top left: islands in Triton Bay that are probably best experienced from a kayak; the resort built just off the beach and surrounded by the tropical rainforest of Aiduma; Little Komodo with its rich and diverse reef hidden below; a Bryde’s Whale – they have been a common sighting for us in the summer of 2016; Our little bay with the sunset in the distance and the resort barely visable. Thanks for the photos Markus & Karsten!
Triton Bay Divers has recently been featured twice in the Swiss Diving magazine Nereus! For those who read German, please check out the article by Andrea Rothlisberger in the June issue, and by Thomas Haider in the August issue (part 1). Additional photos from Thomas can be found on their website at this link. Photo above by Thomas Haider.
One thing we knew right from the beginning when we first started building was that the land at the back of the resort was very fertile. Here was untouched rain forest and the land took months to clear. At first we thought we had cut down too many trees, but within a few months all the tree stumps we thought were dead had regrown two or three meters. Now, after two years those tree stumps tower five or six meters. When we were building, someone ate papaya, and papaya must be the world’s fastest growing tree. From nothing, a papaya tree can reach three or four meters in a year if it gets enough water, and the resort must have about thirty trees by now!
But not all plants grow as fast and as easily as papaya. Some plants like lots of water, some don’t. Last summer it rained once in three months; this summer maybe there was only one day that it didn’t rain! So even though the papaya trees have done very well, it has been almost impossible to keep plants such as bouganvilias which don’t like too much water. Additionally, the land at the front where the bungalows are is quite sandy, so it has been a challenge to grow flowers there.
But for the most part we are quite happy with the variety of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we have growing here. In addition to the many coconut trees, we have mango and wax apple trees which are seasonal. There are a few banana trees that are beginning to bear fruit, and we have grown tomatoes, long beans, melons, and chile peppers. The boys have found wild orchids around the island, and we have planted a few that are just beginning to blossom now.
Below is a gallery of some of the plants that we have here. There are a few that I don’t know the names of, so if anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated!
We had some down time at the resort at the end of January and so our Papuan partners performed a traditional blessing ceremony for the land. It was a short, simple ceremony that involved some prayers in Arabic (they are Muslim), some offerings (including four roosters to be sacrificed), and a big lunch for everyone involved. It may have been a little late, but we’re happy to have had it done and everything is proper to everyone’s satisfaction.
Above photo: underwater 360 degree panoramic of Christmas Rock, one of Triton Bay’s better known dive sites.
For German readers, below is an article by Connie Thieme in the most recent SilentWorld magazine about her stay with us earlier this year. Thank you Connie for sharing the article, and to AquaVenture for arranging her visit.
Connie missed almost a week of diving due to illness, but still managed to put together some incredible photos (including the picture above), which can be seen in our Guest Galleries or on her website Marine-Snapshots. Look for the black light (UV) shots of various marine animals and corals, and the photo of the Pontohi pygmy seahorse is as good a picture as you’re going to see of these elusive creatures.
“Come my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Perhaps we do not need, like Tennyson’s Ulysses and his mariners, to look for a new world but rather renew the one we live in now. We are a global community, connected like never before, and with an inter-continental flight we can go from our ultra-modern cities to the most remote lands. The mistakes made by first world countries in our rush to economic development are being made everywhere around the planet, and sadly there are few places like Triton Bay now. Such places need to be accessible to all but they also need to be preserved, and it was in this spirit that this project was conceived.
Building this resort was an act of faith, a daily test of patience, a compromise between different visions. Speaking strictly for myself, there were many times I thought it was not supposed to be this hard. Before construction even began I had almost given up a dozen times. But I believe the Universe doesn’t give us more than we can handle, and somehow this project that has taken the last two and a half years is finally almost complete.
To nature lovers everywhere, we humbly present Triton Bay Divers. If all who come here can escape from their busy lives and find peace and tranquility, our purpose will be achieved.
Having been at the construction site for most of the past few months, we have not had much of an opportunity to properly update the website. However, it is time for a little update on the progress of the resort. The good news is that the workers are on schedule to complete the resort by mid-to-late Feb and we should be ready to accept our very first guests at that time! Apologies to those of you who wanted to come for Christmas – we tried but unfortunately we can’t get it done by then.
Each building is at a different stage of completion, with the kitchen and staff rooms mostly done, but only the foundations have been built for the restaurant. Below are a few pictures taken in the past few weeks.
Meanwhile, as the holidays approach, Triton Bay Divers would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!
After a quiet summer finishing up much of the required paperwork & permits and negotiating with contractors, we finally began construction of the resort in early September. Construction is scheduled to be completed some time in February if everything goes smoothly. This is later than what we had hoped for, but this is Papua and there are no strict timetables for anything so you take what you can get.
At the moment, workers are focused on completing the concrete buildings (kitchen, dive center, storage area) and the staff quarters as we wait for the wood that will be used for the restaurant and guest bungalows to dry. The pond, which will be essential in draining the land, is only partially complete as we await building materials to be delivered.
Rain has hampered construction somewhat, but the strong winds that were constant throughout August and September have died down and the weather warms. Water temperature, which drops down to as low as 24 degrees in the summer, is also slowly increasing and will soon top out to a very comfortable 28~29 degrees.
One of the things that we wanted for the resort was that it faced the west (there is an Indonesian song about Kaimana’s sunset), however that just wasn’t to be. However, as the winter months approach (for those in the northern hemisphere), the sun moves south and we are pleasantly surprised to find that we actually have a very nice sunrise every morning around 6:00 am!
In four days last week, myself and eight Papuans prepped most of the land on Waala Beach, the site of our resort, for the builders who hopefully will be arriving in July. I was amazed by the Papuans’ ability to live off the land and fashion what they need from what they have on hand. Camping out with them over those few days was like a wilderness survival course. They cut up a large log that had washed up the on the beach to make picnic tables, and built tents using tarp and some driftwood. They can build a fire in the middle of the jungle in minutes using old coconut shells for kindling, and can keep it going for hours. Using a strip of bamboo to divert the natural flow of water over the rocks, they made a shower for washing. I brought enough food for me from Kaimana, however they brought only rice, relying on local fishermen to come by with their daily catch. And if the fishermen didn’t come on a particular day, they ate plain rice cooked in a kettle over a fire.
For us divers, the focus is on the coral and fish in these reefs, but I would like to say that the diversity of life underwater here is matched or surpassed by the diversity in the jungle. It is estimated that there are thousands of species yet to be discovered by scientists in the interior of New Guinea, and during those few days I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of that on our little piece of land.