After a shout out to some of our previous guests and others who visited Triton Bay, we have managed to help Conservation International identify 8 new Whalesharks that are visiting the region. Six are from Triton Bay itself and two from Cenderawasih Bay. If you have any Whaleshark images that shows the ID Spot (please see our earlier blog) please feel free to share them with us and Conservation International. You never know you may have one that has not yet been identified and you can name it!!!
We would like introduce you to our newly named Whalesharks:
Firstly, those identified by our Guests: Rob & Susie Andrews, Marie Tartar and Faye Simanjutak.
After some 23 years since first stepping foot in Triton Bay, Joerg Meier returned this time with family and friends to revisit some of his old haunts and relive the beauty above and below the waves… this is his story….
” None of us can claim 2020 turned out as planned. And with the first month of 2021 gone, it looks like we face another challenging year ahead. Most travel plans in 2020 – including team-ups with German family and friends – did not work out. The positive aspect of negative things was a longer than usual retreat to the remoteness and biodiversity of West Papua. The journey started with two weeks in Batbitim, a tiny island in southern Raja Ampat and Misool Eco Resort’s home. I’m privileged to be a shareholder since 2007. It then continued to Triton Bay, east of Kaimana, in the south eastern part of West Papua’s Bird’s Head’. I first encountered the astonishing beauty and majesty of Triton Bay 23 years ago, in early 1998. Back then, I ventured into the unknown with little more information than this place with its stunning landscapes was supposed to be one of the last untouched paradises in Indonesia’s vast archipelago. There was an interim encounter with Triton Bay in 2009 – cruising on a liveaboard – but only now I had the opportunity of revisiting some of those sites I first discovered in 1998. Ending 2020 observing a stunning sunset over Kalig Island, starting 2021 with a storm approaching Batbitim’s North Bay, to then continue to Triton Bay Divers revisiting majestic Triton Bay, this time with my little family, was the best possible way to end gloomy 2020 and welcome 2021 in good spirits. Some 55 dives later, topped with lagoon and jungle excursions, now back in Jakarta, we already miss that remoteness, the diving, and being exposed to the sounds of nature. Belated Happy New Year 2021 to all of you – stay healthy, safe and sane! ”
From Joerg’s images below, I think we can all agree Triton Bay is beautiful above and below the waves!
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.