Misool is a region of Raja Ampat, located off the north-west tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula west of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia. We were staying at the excellent, Misool Eco Resort.
I was part of a dedicated photo trip organized by Caroline Vitalini from Scuba Travel and led by underwater photography maestros Alex Mustard & Martin Edge. Alex gave his usual high standard presentations and tips every evening, and Martin was on hand during the day giving one-to-one workshops on subjects such as shooting in shallow water and in-lighting. To finish each evening the participant’s pictures were critiqued by both legends during an image review.
Misool Eco Resort is a tropical paradise with a fantastic house reef that you could virtually spend your entire trip diving. It has stunning hard & soft corals on the fringing reef and jetty, with marine life ranging from 3 species of pygmy sea-horse, mandarin fish, friendly turtles, schooling jacks and black-tip reef sharks, all surrounded by a myriad of swirling baitfish. The dive center is amazingly well run and was very accommodating to a large group of photographers.
The resort is situated within the heart of some of the most biodiverse and healthy reef systems on this planet. The Misool Marine reserve boasts 60+, diverse dive sites, all within easy boat ride. The standout / famous sites include Boo Windows, Magic Mountain & Four Kings. The Resort controls all the diving in the reserve, so no one dive site has more than one boat load of divers at one time. This allows lots of space underwater for underwater photographers to capture images of the stunning scenery and marine life.
Misool is an underwater photographer’s paradise playground. It is very much a ‘wide angle’ destination but also ideal for shooting fish portraits and macro. Seafans and hard & soft corals dominate in a riot of color with backdrops of silhouetted reef and overhangs giving amazing backgrounds and layers. The reefs are the ‘fishy-est’ I’ve ever seen, Baitfish and fusiliers swarm all over the reefs, pursued by all manner of predators, giving a very high energy atmosphere.