Our Snorkel Trip To Gam Island, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
by Barb and Gary Koop
(Sudbury, Ontario, Canada)
My wife and I have been avid snorkelers for many years, and we decided to celebrate our 50th year together with a special trip to the Raja Ampat islands, Indonesia.
We were the only snorkelers at Papua Explorers, an eco-resort on Gam Island, that week. But we were joined by some of the divers who wanted to get a different bird's eye view of the reef. They pointed out some things below that we might have missed, like the unusual hidden Wobegong down below.
The house reef wasn't large, but had an incredible range of reef life from anemonefish (aka Nemo) to frogfish, scorpionfish, and lionfish. Another highlight was snorkeling above six Manta Rays circling below us at a "cleaning station" where they congregated.
There were other highlights during our visit. We took a boat trip to an island called Fam with good snorkeling and a turquoise lagoon dotted with karst type mushroom island formations like you see in the brochures. Another highlight was a visit to the village and a guide who took us for a 30 minute hike back into the jungle to the top of the hill at dawn where a flock of a dozen large Red Birds of Paradise were engaged in their mating ritual.
The only shock was the occasional times when we would run into a "raft" of debris consisting of flotsam and jetsam - a reminder of how we are polluting the oceans of the world.
Getting to the Raja Ampat islands involves flying to Jakarta, then another 4-5 hour flight to Sorong, and a 3 hour boat ride to one of several resorts. The long boat ride was brightened in our case by a large pod of spinner dolphins and a whale sighting. We certainly felt it was well worth the effort.