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Worth a detour
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Raja Ampats

Listed under Coral Reefs in Indonesia.

Photo of Raja Ampats
Photo by flickr user TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)
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The reefs off Raja Ampats are called by some ‘the new Palau’, for their similarity in marine diversity and remoteness to Palau, one of the diving world’s most sensational discoveries. Reef biologists have discovered an abundant array of coral species among a large and diverse population of fish, molluscs and other marine life, current counts stand at almost 600 species of hard coral, which is more than a half of all recorded species, and more than 1,200 species of fish. Biologists have also noted an especially dense population of damsel fish. These reefs lie in a remote part of what is known as the coral triangle, where ocean currents and weather conditions mean that corals flourish, and surprisingly little exploration had taken place here prior to this century, so much of the reef is in excellent condition. The whole region is a particularly beautiful place to visit, and though it is remote, this is one of it’s best features. Much on the land that you walk on will be coral skeletons and the sand here is full of sharp coral shards. The best way to see the coral diversity and colourful heart of this region is to join a sailing party or hire one of the larger boats and a local guide. Despite this being a relatively new discovery for divers and snorkelers, local fishing and agriculture have caused reef damage, and that is from relatively low tech farming methods, but dynamite fishing and leaching of chemicals have scarred sections of this relatively unknown reef, proving how essential it is to focus on reef protection and help local people learn methods that cause less damage.

Written by  Becky White.

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