Underwater Giants in Cenderawasih Bay

Ancient waters and friendly giants wait in the Bay of Paradise. Travelling to this isolated part of the world gifts the privileged with experiences and memories to last a lifetime. 

As the Oceanic Discoverer meanders the pristine waters into Cenderawasih Bay, the beauty of unspoilt and untouched nature welcomes you. Essentially a prehistoric sea, the bay was geologically isolated from Pacific tides for around 4 million years, brandishing it wholly unique. The time in isolation has given this spectacular bay the chance to grow and develop species of marine life distinctively different to anywhere in the world. To behold such unique and striking colours of fish and corals you can appreciate why it took so many years of isolation to develop such beauty.

The name Cenderawasih Bay has the meaning of Bay of Paradise, and so wonderfully lives up to such a denotation. Situated in the Eastern fringe of the Indonesian Archipelago, Cenderawasih Bay’s remoteness is a sensation in itself. Here there are many reasons to be in awe, the most common one and perhaps the most famous would be the 15 tonne residents that call this place home. Sometimes up to a gargantuan 12 meters in length (we are talking the length of two cars) these placid creatures are aptly named the whale shark. A 12 meter shark might conjure up images of jaws on steroids, however these beasts are far from it, in fact a more appropriate image would be the BFG, where you are the orphan girl Sophie entering a giant world full of new and unusual snozzcumbers. A rare site in most of the world, if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the shy and reclusive whale shark you are considered blessed. The concept is blown away here, large congregations call Cenderawasih Bay home, unlike other places in the world, their presence is not transitory, they have set up home and see no reason to leave.

Most of the action takes place around fishing platforms. An indication of why the whale sharks so happily have no desire to move, these fishing platforms make for rewarding visits; with large numbers of whale sharks gathering to feast on smaller fish through the fishing nets. We all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, so in return for their feast, the whale sharks share their elegance and beauty with those who wish to delve into the depths, gliding past their visitors effortlessly. As the adrenaline pumps through you, the site of these creatures so close is a once in a lifetime moment, the magnitude of them and the millions of years needed to create the scene overwhelms and fills you with the understanding that we are all members of a stunning and complex universe. 

Unconventional Conventions travels to Canderawasih Bay as part of their Spice Islands 2016 conference in October 2016.