INDONESIA TRIP OF WONDERS DAY 11: PHOTO JOURNAL – RAJA AMPAT

I woke up on day 11 wondering how 24 hours could be better spent than our diving adventure and exploration of Piaynemo the day before. Somehow we almost managed to match this incredible experience with another crazy day of unexpected wonders.

After breakfast at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort, we all crammed on the boat headed to our first dive spot. We did 18 dives on the trip and it is safe to say I was on dive overload but each underwater experience was unique. On this dive, I dipped down to 35m and while resting on the ocean floor I came face to face with two black tip sharks. This was definitely the highlight of the scuba diving on this trip for me and I remember laughing while underwater at how crazy the experience was.

In rough waves, my dive buddy and I clambered back on the boat before we headed to an unreal spot for a surface interval. We rolled up to a giant sandbar in the middle of the ocean. A small island sat at one end, seemingly floating on water. This was one of the craziest spots I’ve been in a long time and flying the drone here was unreal.

After the sandbar, we headed to the island of Arborek, a small village where we were welcomed with a traditional dance by the children. I was then kindly nominated by my group to take on the village leader in a traditional dance performance. Those that know me well are aware I do not dance… kind of ever. Peer pressure is a strong force and before I knew it, I was armed with a wooden stick and shield dancing around in the sand.

Photo by Pinneng from Wet Traveler

We danced through the village before enjoying lunch and hanging out with the locals of the village. I sat down with a few ladies making baskets as they told me about the different dyes they use and how long the process takes them. One of the brown colors comes from soaking the leaves in mangrove tree roots for several months.

Our last dive of the trip wasn’t very deep or very far. In fact, it was right underneath the Arborek Pier. Huge schools of fish congregate below the pier, circling the pylons. I chose to free dive in and out of the pylons, swimming straight through schools of fish. This was an experience I had only ever seen in National Geographic. Ducking under and playing with thousands of fish was a great way to end an awesome trip.

Photos by Mike Corey from Kick The Grind

Totally tired but always ready to shoot some photos, we arrived back to the resort and grabbed the drone. We wanted to take advantage of the nice afternoon light to shoot some drone photos along the shore of our resort. After these photos, I packed away my gear and I probably won’t touch it for a few days at least. A bit of a photo detox after shooting non-stop for 2 weeks on four different devices. GoPro Hero 5, Sony a7ii, Dji Mavic Pro Drone and iPhone 6.

This was a non-stop two weeks of adventures by the ocean and it was one of the best times of this year for me! Can’t wait to get back to Indonesia later this year for a longer stay!

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