Tony filming a knifejaw on plate coral

Article: Outside on diving in Indonesia

Bucky MacMahon writes for Outside magazine about scuba diving in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. MacMahon spent ten days in Indonesia in 2008 with a group of donors to and members of Seacology, an environmental group that focuses on protecting islands and their territorial waters. Raja Ampat is the perfect location for a group of environmentalists and benefactors of the environment to ponder how we can preserve the world’s oceans – as MacMahon points out,

Raja Ampat, after all, is the final frontier, one of the least fished, least populated, healthiest marine environments on the planet. It’s also a place where worlds collide—politically, geographically, ethnologically, zoologically—every which way at once. Located just east of the famed Wallace Line (named for the great 19th-century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace), which separates the fauna of southern Asia from that of Australasia, the archipelago is part of the 131,000-square-mile transition zone known to modern biogeographers as Wallacea. Scientists call Raja Ampat “the epicenter of marine biodiversity,” where there are a number of endemics and where new species are discovered nearly every time a marine biologist straps on a tank. Properly protected, it could serve as a kind of evolutionary laboratory and maritime seed bank to jump-start recovery for the whole region and, potentially, in a pinch, the world.

Raja Ampat is one of the world’s most alluring dive destinations – it is on almost every dive traveller’s bucket list. The diversity of life – corals as well as fish and invertebrates – is unparalleled. The waters around the four islands that make up the region are washed by such strong currents that they have been mistaken for ships in motion when viewed from the sky, each with a wake trailing behind it. Raja Ampat is remote and, as yet, relatively untouched.

Sylvia Earle, wonderful lady of the oceans, was on the trip that MacMahon describes. She urged her fellow travellers to understand that the next ten years (and this was as true in 2008 as it is today) are the most critical  for the future of our oceans – “We’ve got a limited time to make a difference.” She was speaking to a group of Silicon valley millionaires, philanthropists and trust-fund kids, but her message is as important to you and me as it was to them. Not having large material means is no excuse to do nothing.

Read the full article here.


Published by


Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.