15 years ago, when Yogi quit his office job as industrial photographer of MTU in Munich and became a fulltime freelance photojournalist, he embarked on a one-year self-funded expedition to Christmas Island and the Coral Triangle – Indonesia, Sabah & the Philippines. He spent a lot of time diving with Edi Frommenwiler on the Pindito in Raja Ampat long before the famed islands became the talk of the diving world. It is in fact Yogi who taught Edi how to find pygmy seahorses here when these tiny beautiful creatures were just newly discovered in Lembeh! On our first night on the boat, Yogi said being on the Pindito was like “coming home”.
Pindito is the only liveaboard dive boat that has 17 years of operating experience in Raja Ampat. Back in 1992, Pindito’s master and owner, Edi, needed to find a new destination to cover when the rainy season descended upon Komodo and the Nusa Tenggara route Pindito normally sailed.
Trusting his intuition Edi took a chance and headed north from Flores by way of the Spice Islands. He had a hunch that the waters between Nusa Tenggara and the west coast of Papua (then called “Irian Jaya”) might hold some good diving. What he discovered on the northern end of his journey was the most biodiverse coral reef ecosystem in the world – he had discovered “Raja Ampat”.
In November of 2002 Conservation International (C.I.) in association with world-famous Australian ichthyologist Dr. Gerald Allen conducted “rapid assessment” fish counts in Raja Ampat. Marine Biologists worldwide were stunned by the results. Allen reported that this area forms the absolute apex of marine fish biodiversity in the world. It is the holy grail of marine fish speciation.
17 December 2009
Our last day onboard the Pindito will not be complete without our traditional WWF flag waving portrait. We have been so happy these last 10 days diving the islands of the 4 kings.