Raja Ampat by William Tan
Administrators note: While the virus wind rages none of us are able to do what we love…dive in Raja Ampat! While we are away, and all social distancing, we thought it would be inspiring to reach out to a few long time travelers to the area and ask them to share images and stories about their time in the Bird’s Head. William Tan has been there numerous times over time…and he’s a phenomenal image maker. Enjoy William’s words and images. Thanks for sharing William!
Back in the days when Larry Smith was exploring the Bird’s Head Peninsula (West Papua), he would periodically update me on the amazing places he had discovered. Raja Ampat was one of them. Although, I wasn’t able to make any of his many invitations at the time due to work commitments, Raja Ampat had been one of my must visit dive destinations since.
Years later, I found out first hand that everything Larry described of the place to be true. The promised Oceanic Mantas, Wobbegongs, red “Santa Claus” Denise Pygmies were all around and in abundance. Of my recent visits, the most memorial must be a chance encounter on Christmas Eve 2016 with a Whale Shark.
My dive group was the last to get on the tender boat that early morning, and we had to return to the main boat twice to retrieve forgotten equipment. Barely a minute after we entered the mirror flat water, the DM alerted us to an unmistakable silhouette… a baby Whale Shark slightly over 2 meters long coming our way. It stayed for a good 20 minutes, greeted every diver and played with his/her exhaled bubbles. There was time to gather those who had aborted the dive and were eating breakfast on the main boat, and other 3 groups of divers ahead of us to share the last few minutes of this most unique encounter before the whale shark swam off. Till today, I still regard it as the best Christmas present.
William Tan is a violinist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra by profession, he enjoys his many travels between concert seasons shooting marine life.
Check out more of Williams images on his Facebook page, William Tan.
His work is so awesome. How about a bonus image!