I am way behind on writing about Raja Ampat. However, now I have the benefit of perspective. In my notes from this week I am still amazed by the big species and crazy colors, and my energy still has the excited novice edge. In hindsight I can now say that we saw more sharks at Batu Rufas than we did anywhere else and had also reached the pinnacle of the colorful plankton-feeding, current-loving, somewhat stationary stuff like crinoids, fans, ascidians, tunicates and sponges.
Batu Rufas is near Piaynemo in the northern Pam Islands, the most remote that we got in Raja Ampat. It is a good deal west of our last stop, Yenros Homestay on Gam. Along the way we stopped at the very western tip of Gam to snorkel at Citrus Ridge.
By the end of our time in Raja Ampat, I estimate we had 70-80 snorkel sessions. Citrus Ridge was in the top 10 — not just because of the fantastic hard coral garden but also because of the clear water and sunny weather. At Citrus Ridge we had some dense schools of fish
and noticed the common blue-green chromis for the first time.
Batu Rufas is a ridge of rock that almost encloses a lagoon where the bungalows for tourists are located. The entrance to the lagoon is not visible on the right side of this photo, taken from the viewpoint on the south summit of the island.
Here you can see the entrance to the lagoon,
and here’s the view looking the other direction from the viewpoint.
Batu Rufas is kind of pretty,
but one of Raja Ampat’s instagram stops is nearby Piaynemo.
Batu Rufas is the long low skinny island in the top right of this photo.
But like I said last time, don’t come to Raja Ampat for the views. The action is under water. At our balcony in Batu Rufas we never got tired of watching baby sharks swimming under our toes. Dense schools of small fish in the lagoon would casually make way for the sharks. Parrotfish, however, would attack the small fish, causing a bit of panic and a lot splashing in the water.
I think I saw adult black tip reef sharks every time I went in the water, up to seven at once and multiple times more than 10 during a single snorkeling session. Here’s the best photo I have.
Other notable sightings were schools of squid the size of the tip of a ball point pen and a beat up turtle missing one flipper (shark attack?) feeding on (dead?) coral.
Fam Wall is a highly recommended nearby excursion.
That was probably our favorite wall snorkel of the trip.
Sticking with superlatives I’d say the best jetty of the trip was the one at Pam (aka Faam) Village. This is where the weekly (?) ferries come in from Sorong. There are about 30 large round concrete pillars on this 40 year old (?) structure.
The first stone fish Ferda found was this one:
We ended up finding four stonefish at Pam Jetty. I think there’s a stonefish here as well:
That was an unusual snorkeling experience, and then we got to walk through the village.
Most of the snorkeling that we did during our week at Batu Rufas was around Batu Rufas itself, of course. Here’s a bit of what we saw there.
Thanks for the great week on Rufas.
Esti was always smiling and put together good meals in her basic kitchen.
If you go, beware that it’s hot at night. The protected lagoon gets no breeze.