Cendrawasih Bay National Park: Playground of the spotted Whaleshark in Indonesia
The large Cendrawasih Bay National Park in the north of the island of Papua, otherwise known as Teluk Cenderawasih, includes Indonesia's largest marine national park, and is one of the best dive-sites in the archipelago.
Here are magnificent vertical drops, picturesque hard coral gardens, sponge life and myriads of fish
This is the playground of one of the world's largest animals: the spotted whaleshark or rhincodon typus. If elsewhere in the world divers consider themselves lucky to meet one or a couple, here they come in pods and divers can swim along with them quite unharmed except to beware not to be hit by one of their powerful fins.
Scientist Dr. Gerald Allen calls the Cendrawasih Bay: "The Galapagos of Indonesia's Reefs".
Whalesharks are migratory animals, and are known to grow to 18 meters in length or more. Biologists tell us that they are an acient species originating some 60 million years ago, and are usually found in the open sea. They have a lifespan of 70 years. A 7 meter whaleshark can weigh up to 22 tonnes. Unbelievably these huge animals are docile since they live only on plankton, clouds of egg roe and small fish, which in Indonesia are called "ikan teri".
In the village of Kwatisore near the town of Nabire, these giant fish usually gather by the floating platforms, called bagan, where fishermen haul in their catch of small fry.