Cenderawasih Bay 2015 by Andrina Bindon
Cenderawasih Bay 2015
by Andrina Bindon
Still far off the beaten track with very few visitors, the hightlights of my recent month there are every bit as good as in previous years. The calm, blue water is an invitingly warm 28-30 degrees and there are variety of great sights to be seen underwater and topside.
The resident population of sub-adult whalesharks in the south is still the main draw and remains a unique experience whether you snorkel or scuba.
The relationship these beautiful fish have with the fishermen is amazing. Even you can step up onto the fishing bagan and hand feed them. Don’t forget to look in the deep for other creatures collecting the scraps; three pelagic black tip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) feeding made for an exhilirating distraction one day.
But there’s more to Cenderawasih…
We have now found 8 landing craft at Pulau Manim between the depths of 5m and 35m. Each one providing different growth and habitat for different fish; large Antipathes black coral with schools of juvenile snapper; wrecks full of glassfish; trumpetfish hanging in the softcorals; anemones clinging to the structure .
Exploring the current rich channel at Pulau Yappen and the patch reefs in the outer atolls is proving time again that there are plenty of fish in Cenderawasih; reef sharks patrolling; black fin barracuda and trevally circling , fusiliers raining down the walls, ocean triggerfish making their nests, mobula rays riding the currents.
The existance of endemics and species anomolies only found in Cenderawasih make every dive a hunt for the unknown and a quest for that special photo opportunity; the walking shark, pygmy fusiliers, dottyback, Burgess butterflyfish and Genicanthus bellus ornate angelfish.
And how about that the hard coral coverage on the reef and the colourful soft corals rival some of the best that Indonesia has to offer.
Above water is also a feast for the eyes; small rocky outcrops; sandy desert islands; the tree-covered Papuan scenery that changes throughout the day from misty mountains in the mornings, impenetrable jungle in the mid-day heat to dramatic sunsets at the end of the day.
Cenderawasih is a must!
Andrina Bindon and her husband Simon Marsh, were longtime cruise directors at Dive Damai (www.dive-damai.com). They are now Damai’s Bali-based Operations Managers.