Kofiau Island in Raja Ampat : A Diver’s Paradise
” … when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent. ” – Dave Barry
Off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea in Indonesia’s West Papua province lies a unique little island among the Raja Ampat Archipelago or Four Kings Islands. Kofiau Island is the smaller and least visited amongst the major islands in Raja Ampat, the world’s coral diversity bull’s eye. This island is comprised primarily of raised coral limestone and some volcanic hills covered in low lush rainforest, all offering a wealth of nature & beautiful scenery. If you ever wanted to go where few others have been, head this way. There are 43 islands in Kofiau totaling 55,735 acres of land and 206,802 acres of marine area. While Kofiau’s tropical rain forest is home to the endemic and rare Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher, Kofiau Monarch and Kofiau Green-tree Python, its marine life boasts some of the highest marine diversity recorded anywhere on the planet.
In the past, the illegal dynamite fishing and poisonous chemical fishing caused a lot of damage to the coral. As part of the preservation of natural resources in the Raja Ampat region, two international institutions named CI (Conservation International) and TNC (The Nature Conservancy) have been set up on the island of Kofiau, which is one of seven MPAs (Marine Protected Area) in the Raja Ampat Archipelago.
With so many islands making up Kofiau, the three original villages are all located on smaller islands off the coast, while new villages have only recently been developed on Kofiau Proper. The people in these villages, namely Deer, Dibalal and Tolobi are provided with sports equipment, elementary-school and teaching supplies, a solar-powered refrigerator and basic medical equipment for their health-care centres in exchange for over 41,000 acres of no-take Marine Protected Area (MPA) for 10 years.
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