Friday, February 15th, 2019

Birds of Paradise above and Soft Coral Reefs Below

birds of paradise
Watching birds of Paradise in their tree shortly after dawn

There are no birds singing. And there was no sign of dawn when our alarm awoke us as 0500 aboard Prana by Atzaro. But we leapt out of bed, eager to get ashore. It was still completely dark as climbed out of our tender onto the beach on Waigeo Island.

By torch light we began our hike up the steep hill above the village of Saporkrem.  We were going to see a special dawn ritual.  There, right at the top and just as the sun rises, the Red Tailed Bird of Paradise carries out his early morning mating calling to females.

Mating birds of Paradise in their tree shortly after dawn

Birds Mating

To be successful, and win the affections of his lady, the male Bird of Paradise seems to need to display the most brilliant vermilion plumage.  Is it wrong to be watching such a private and intimate affair?

Watching mating birds of Paradise in their tree shortly after dawn

Right or wrong we were fascinated and tried to capture it with long telephoto lenses, high up in the tree, in low light levels.

Back onboard we moved the short distance to anchor off Cape Kri, on the north eastern shore of the island of Kri.  Here is the famous dive site that holds the world record for the number of different species seen in one single dive! 

Diving

Diving on this exceptional site gave us the opportunity to tick off many on our ‘must see’ species list the likes of:

  • Nudibranches
  • Sea dragons
  • Blue-striped flagtail pipefish
  • Pygmy seahorses
  • Green sea turtles
  • Giant Napoleon wrasse
  • Indian lionfish
Diving equipment on the stern of Prana by Atzaro

Everyone who dived was impressed by abundant, untouched corals gardens and sea fans that serve as homes for large schools of colourful small fish.  This was how the Caribbean used to be when we chartered out there 20 years ago.

………To be continued

A suite on the Prana by Atzaro (pranabyatzaro.com) costs from US$1,120 a night. Charters cost from US$12,500 a day, inclusive of meals, local beer, soft drinks, one spa treatment, transfers from airport to yacht, and all activities.

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