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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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November 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 37, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Two Reads on Raja Ampat

from the November, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Like Grand Cayman in the 70s, Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia, is the must-go place for divers. Of course, not everyone can afford such an excursion, but for those who can, one new book provides an excellent guide, and another provides enough photographs so you'll know what you're missing.

Two Reads on Raja AmpatFor armchair divers, the 288-page coffee table-sized book Raja Ampat, through the Lens of, with a score of photo contributors listed, hit the market early last year and lets you see the kinds of critters you only read about - - the pygmy seahorse, blue ring octopus, picture dragonet, archerfish, as well as the seascapes of amazing hard and soft coral. I especially like the many above-surface photos, where the wildlife, villages, people and spectacular islands provide an understanding of the uniqueness and precious environment. The text is informative, as are the bios of the nearly two dozen famous shooters, including David Doubilet, Mark Strickland, Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, Gerry Alan and Rogers Steene. The list price is $61 but the 200-plus pages of color photos from these pros are well worth the price.To order, go to and click on 'Books.'. Our profit goes to preserve coral reefs.

Two Reads on Raja AmpatFor travelers, Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock have spent more than 1000 hours chronicling the wonders of Raja Ampat and have produced Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape, a 176-page paperbound book that describes 130 dive sites of Raja Ampat, Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay, while offering practical information about the area. The detailed descriptions of the sites, complete with GPS coordinates, explain the terrain, how to dive the site, and the kinds of animals, coral and critters you can expect. As a tourist diver, you'll be riding along with guides, so you can only hope your leader knows the sites as well as Burt and Maurine. If not, their book will help you advise your guide - - better leave it with him afterwards - - and help you complete your log book accurately once you have surfaced. A number of excellent photographs will help you identify many of the critters you will encounter. If you have been to Raja Ampat, or dream about going, this thoughtful and well-illustrated book is for you. The list price is $35, and the book is available through us at

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