As you probably know, Raja Ampat, West Papua, has four main islands. These four islands are the biggest in the archipelagos, the most accessible, and usually have more facilities. Misool Island is one of these four. That is why Misool has become one of the most popular Raja Ampat destinations.
Looking at this fact, the remote location of Misool doesn’t seem to be a problem for the tourists. After all, to reach Misool Island takes around four hours of boat ride from Sorong, the gate of West Papua. No wonder, Misool is in the most southern part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Raja Ampat.
Despite earning its reputation and popularity from its underwater attractions, there are many other unique and interesting things to explore on Misool Island.
The Beauty of Underwater in Misool Island
As the largest areas of Raja Ampat’s MPA, the surrounding oceans of Misool Raja Ampat have large corals and sea creatures biodiversity. Misool is also a part of the Coral Triangle, an area with the richest species of corals in the world.
The corals’ richness and good condition in Misool’s surrounding areas automatically become a wonderful habitat for fish and other sea creatures. More than 1.632 fish species are found on Misool Island. One of the endemic species is Misool rainbowfish which is named after the island, Melanotaenia misoolensis.
The most favorite activities when people visit Misool Island are, of course, snorkeling and diving. It is said that there are more than 50 dive sites around Misool. Some of the most famous are Fabiacet, Boo Rock, Jamur, Goa Besar, Kaleidoscope, Farondi, and Verena’s garden.
Try diving in Misool Island Raja Ampat dive spot, and you can encounter rare and breathtaking marine life. Healthy and colorful coral reefs, sea creatures such as pigmy seahorse, dugong, manta rays, sea fans, whitetip sharks, barracuda, octopus, Mobula rays, porcelain crabs, and many more.
The Unique Saltwater Lake on Misool Island
This is one of the attractions in Misool Island that is probably difficult to find anywhere else. The characteristics of these lakes also called anchihaline lakes, or marine lakes, are that the water comes from the sea but is then cut off. This unique environment creates a unique ecological system as well.
Three of the most famous saltwater lakes in Misool are Lenmakana, Karawapop, and Keramat. The unique characteristics of these lakes make them a perfect habitat for many species of jellyfish. But because of the lack of predators in the lakes, the jellyfish become stingless.
Study shows that Mastigias Papua, or spotted jelly, lives in the three lakes. Meanwhile, Aurelia aurita or moon jelly lives in Lenmakana and Keramat, then Cassiopea ornata, or upside-down jellyfish, only lives in Keramat lake.
If you are lucky, you can experience swimming, snorkeling, or diving with the stingless jellyfish. But because the nature of these saltwater lakes and ecosystems is very sensitive, you must follow several regulations.
These lakes are also beautiful from the above. Even Karawapop Lake is famous as the “love lake” or “love lagoon” because it resembles a heart from above. But to see this scenery and go to the lake, you have to do a little extreme hiking. So make sure you get proper assistance.
More Things to Explore in Misool Island
Another unique thing about Misool is the dense and wild tropical forests, also mangrove swamps. This vegetation is what makes Misool don’t have as many beaches as other islands in Raja Ampat.
But worry not, this, becomes another advantage. It means there are more kinds of things to explore in Misool! For example the mangrove forests. Mangrove swamps are a perfect habitat for some sea creatures that have high economic value. Also, if you are lucky, you can find one of the rare Bluewater Mangroves.
Misool Island also has several caves to explore. Even more, some caves are proof of pre-historic lives in West Papua. In a famous cave such as Tomolol, you can find rock art and ancient burial sites.
All in all, Misool Island is a complete package for adventure seekers. A lot of dive site options to witness the underwater beauty, island hopping, plus unique experience such as visiting saltwater lakes and exploring the pre-historic cave. So make sure you stop by Misool Island during your trip to Raja Ampat, West Papua!