Southeast Asia

Indonesia's Raja Ampat: A Papuan Odyssey

Whale Shark, Teluk Namatote, West Papua, Indonesia
Whale Shark, Teluk Namatote, West Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Pierre Constant

The Raja Ampat Islands, located in Indonesia’s West Papua province, nestled between the Pacific Ocean, the Halmahera Sea and Seram Island, are at the crossroads of tremendous biodiversity and coral diversity—home to 75 percent of the world’s reef species. Pierre Constant returned to the region and shares his tales of diving and cultural experiences there.

Indonesia's Lembeh Strait: Relax & Enjoy Muck Diving & More

Harlequin shrimp on sponge, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

For underwater photographers, when we talk about Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, lots of macro subjects and small critters come to mind. “Muck diving,” which involves diving in muddy areas where lots of small animals can be found, is actually the main business of the localresorts and dive centres. But as you will find out in this article, there are lots of other things to see here too.

Indonesia's Banda Sea

Diver with mushroom leather corals, a purple sea fan and orange soft corals on the reef at Hatta Island.

Five minutes into my first dive in the Banda Sea, I came face-to-face with a scalloped hammerhead shark, gliding effortlessly in its underwater realm as it emerged from the depths to investigate the alien visitors descending from above. A second hammerhead swam past a moment later but was less bold in its approach and quickly disappeared back into the abyss.

Southern New Britain: The Secret Place in Papua New Guinea

Aerial view of Linden Harbour, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Aerial view of Linden Harbour, New Britain, Papua New Guinea

The southern coast of the large island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea is a truly remote location isolated from the northern coast by high, rugged mountain ranges with no real roads through them. There are no commercial airports here—only landing strips and old WWII airfields used for small-scale charter flights. Practically, the only way to get to the southern coast is by boat from Rabaul, on the eastern tip of New Britain.

Malapascua Island: Where thresher sharks roam

As picture perfect as Malapascua is, in a nation of 7,107 palm tree fringed islands, 2.5km long Malapascua wouldn’t be on anyone’s radar were it not for the thresher sharks that treat the island like a spa. Each morning as the sun peeks over the mountains on distant Cebu, Pelagic threshers rise from the depths to be cleaned by reef fish along a deep ledge known as Monad Shoal.

Khao Lak

Khao Lak, Thailand. Photo by Kate Clark
Khao Lak, Thailand. Photo by Kate Clark

My dive buddy, Kate, is trying to get a shot of a purple sea fan but she’s having trouble with her strobes and my ADD is kicking in. This happens occasionally. I try to be a good buddy, I really do, but there’s just so damn much to see underwater and I get antsy if we stop too long for a photograph.

Bali's Tulamben: Muck Diving Heaven

Standing on the beach staring out at the deep blue water, it’s hard to imagine a world so vibrant and full of life lying just a few meters away from our feet. My dive group and I shuffle slowly into the water, careful not to slip on the smooth black stones beneath our boots. With all our gear in place and a quick press of our deflators, we descend down into this beautiful wonderland hidden just below the surface.