Thursday, December 1, 2011

An ocean paradise on earth

Starfish in a bed of sea grass in the waters of Raja Ampat Photo: Romeo Gacad

I have never done any scuba diving, only snorkeling, but I’m ready to begin if it means seeing the underwater world at Raja Ampat, which means Four Kings, in eastern Indonesia's Papua province. These palm-fringed islands have been described as "a living Eden and the last paradise on Earth," and have some of the richest and most biodiverse marine life with nearly 1,400 varieties of fish and 603 species of coral.

According to Smart Travel Asia: "For serious marine diversity it doesn’t get much better than Raja Ampat. Over 1,500 coral-studded islands lazily pepper the Equator and the azure waters are home to a fabulous variety of colourful soft corals, and reef fish can be observed and large schools of fish populate the region, such as sharks, manta and mobula rays, dolphins, whales and turtles."

Like so many natural wonders, this still pristine paradise is facing serious threats. View some incredible photos and read more here.

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