The Misool Eco Resort is nestled in another string of islands below our nook in the karst maze. We’ve heard about this beautiful place from other cruisers who stopped by in the last few years, and were excited to spend a few days here and see it for ourselves.
The resort has been instrumental in establishing conservation practices in the area and funding much of the work. It’s impressive to learn about their commitment to the healthy reef- if only more places could be like this! If the underwater grandeur of the area weren’t enough, the resort itself is aesthetically stunning and staffed by a sweet crew. We joined their guests for a “Manta Masterclass” presentation by the dive master, and learned so much about these spectacular creatures.
Dan treats us to dinner, so we get a beautiful meal (our veggies are thin after a week) and no dishes. The restaurant staff completely charms us, and the children are completely charmed by Darwin- a resident bird, who will happily steal your chips. I am already putty in the hands of the director’s babe, who in addition to being deliciously cute is the first wee one in a while that doesn’t cry at my scary white skin.
We only had three days to enjoy this magical place before timelines required us to press on for Ambon for Dan’s flight home, although I think Dan was at least a little tempted to look at changing up his travel plans to try and squeak out an extra bit of time here. Somehow, his 10 days with us have flown by. It was really tough to depart, and we left very seriously thinking we might make a U-turn from Ambon and sail the 2-3 days back to Misool.
Our prior anchorages in Raja Ampat were conservation areas, but not no-take zones. Here there is no fishing at all, and the difference is immediately apparent. The fish weren’t skittish of us, more often they were even curious. The average fish size was significantly larger than anything we have seen in a very, very long time. And oh, the turtles. So many turtles I lost count! Finally we had the routine appearance of sharks as well. They may make many people uncomfortable, but they are the essential hallmark of a healthy reef environment. Even if that one blacktip was a serious PITA and chased us out one day…
There were other pretties to enjoy. Like this gorgeous nudibranch. I love nudibranchs.
Also gorgeous, but evil: the crown of thorns
I swear I did not order this image. It just happened.
You never get tired of turtles
More underwater awesomeness on the Totem Flickr stream.