The Bird’s Head Seascape’s Triton Bay is special. We first went there, with Larry Smith, for the soft corals. Since Triton Bay Divers opened, however, the entire gamut of subjects have been located; from the tiniest of pygmies to whale sharks, and, just to add a “bit of cream to the topping”, a flasher wrasse encounter like no other! Today I’m sharing wide angle images. I think you will agree Triton Bay is unique. Enjoy
Triton Bay (Kaimana) is one of three regions in West Papua, Indonesia, that comprise the Bird’s Head Seascape, which is generally recognized as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. This area is a major priority for the Indonesian government and global NGO’s such as Conservation International, the Nature Conservatory, the World Wildlife Fund, amongst others, and a network of Marine Park Areas (MPAs) have been established over the past decade throughout the region. For those interested, this report provides an update on the state of the MPA network and provides a detailed look at the work that these NGOs do here. It can be downloaded from this link.
If you love critters then October is the best time to visit. We believe there are two reasons for this: 1) It is the start of the diving season and the reefs will not have had any divers for at least four months. Yes, there does seem to be an inverse correlation between the number of divers visiting a site and the number of critters seen. And 2) the critters seem to enjoy cooler waters. However, to spot most of these guys you will need to have a guide who really knows the sites. Dive sites change and a site which was hot one season can be disappointing the next. October isn’t the best season for wide angle photography, but if you are into macro it is well worth it.
Below are some images taken by amateur nudibranch specialists Sylvia & Joel Meudic, who stayed with us last October. In two weeks, they photographed over 100 different species of nudibranchs as well as a plethora of pygmy seahorses and other critters such as pipefish, frogfish, crabs and shrimp. To view their excellent and very comprehensive portfolio of images from Triton Bay, please see this page.
Here is very rare footage of two of Triton Bay’s most special attractions: the Triton Bay walking shark and the Paracheilinus nursalim flasher wrasse. The walking shark is also known as an epaulette shark, and this species is endemic to Triton Bay. Watch how it moves along the ocean floor. Meanwhile, this particular species of flasher wrasse, though common locally, can only be found in the southern part of the Bird’s Headseascape. Flasher wrasse are like peacocks of the ocean, as the males, in bright, beautiful colors, put on a show each afternoon to attract the ladies!
Many thanks to Jacinto Castillo for both videos, which were taken when he stayed with us in 2018!
The walking shark can be seen starting at 11:00 minutes into the video.
Check out this wonderfully written and photographed article from Brandon & Melissa Cole, who stayed with us in January 2019. The article appeared in the Summer issue of Diver Magazine, and a German version has also recently appeared in Tauchen. Thanks so much Brandon & Melissa!
Andy stayed with us for a few weeks in April 2019 and managed to capture one of the best set of photographs we have ever seen, which he has been so kind to share.
Its important to note that underwater visibility and weather for the aerials during his stay actually wasn’t as good as the pictures seem to indicate – he managed to take advantage of the situation when weather was favorable and he did get quite a few excellent wide angle underwater shots even in what most divers would consider to be “poor” visibility. It just shows what proper strobe positioning and adequate lighting can accomplish despite apparently poor conditions.
So below are two galleries. His full collection of pictures taken during his stay with us can be found on his Gallery page. We hope you enjoy them and thank you once again Andy!
To see more of Andreas’ photos, please click this link for his Instagram.
Underwater Tribe talks to Dr. Erdmann of Conservation International about his almost 3 decades working in marine conservation in Indonesia and the South Pacific. From the beginning of his career, to the explosive growth of tourism in Raja Ampat, to his current projects, the podcast examines the issues that conservationists face. This is a must watch for those who wish to dig deeper and learn more about the development of marine tourism in West Papua.
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!
Paolo stayed with us again in Dec 2017 and has once again so generously donated his photos. These are some of the very best wide angle pictures we’ve seen of Triton Bay and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
To see the full set of wide angle pictures from Triton Bay click here, and his macro pictures can be found here.
In April 2018, Triton Bay Divers will be hosting Dr. Heike Vester of Ocean Sounds and Dr. Ricardo Tapilatu of the University of Papua. They will be looking at the suitability of conducting scientific research from the resort during the northern (boreal) summer months when we are closed for diving. During their stay, they will each a conduct a talk on their area of expertise.
“Whales in a Changing World – Raja Ampat”
Dr. Heike Vester (Ocean Sounds) will talk about her 3 years research in Raja Ampat and present over 17 species of marine mammals. Whales and dolphins are not well studied in this area and her presentation is one of the first to document the pictures, videos and sounds of most of these elusive and beautiful species. Even though the waters of Raja Ampat are well protected, marine mammals face threats and challenges that are man made, from uncontrolled boat traffic, unregulated whale watching, to plastic pollution and signs of climate change. We aim to study marine mammals in order to help maintain and develop better marine protection to ensure respectful and humane interactions between people and marine mammals.
Saving Pacific-travelling sea turtle species (Leatherback and Green) at Bird’s Head Seascape – Papua Barat – Indonesia’. Dr. Ricardo Tapilatu has been to Kaimana many times for his work with Conservation International. Leatherback turtles are critically endangered and West Papua is one of one of their few remaining nesting grounds, while green turtles nest on a small island in the western part of Kaimana Regency. Dr. Tapilatu’s present research projects are focused on developing conservation strategies for optimizing hatchling production from nesting beaches of the Bird’s Head Seascape in Indonesia and beyond, while mitigating the effects of global climate change. His blog can be found by clicking on this link.
If you would like to meet Drs. Vester and Tapilatu and learn more about their research, there are currently two rooms available during the week of April 7~14 when they will be staying for a few days. Please contact us soon at [email protected] as we do not expect these rooms will be available for very long.