I have been struggling to write this post about our time spent at Misool Eco Resort (MER) in Raja Ampat Indonesia for awhile now. Many words come to mind (remarkable, unique, amazing, to name a few) yet still all the descriptors and synonyms in the world couldn’t possibly do this magical place justice. One on hand, I want to sing MER’s praises from the rooftop for their astoundingly committed conservation efforts and social justice programs so that the whole world knows what good work they are doing, and are equally inspired to start saving our seas and turning the tide on the biggest environmental issues facing us today. But on the other hand, its only a matter of time before the secret is out about this place and suddenly we are priced out of ever being able to return because the next thing we know it’ll be affordable only to the uber-rich. Presumably that would be wonderful for the region, because the more money they charge the more of it goes right back into the local communities and conservation programs…but selfish little old me is immensely saddened by the idea of never being able to return. MER has become the golden standard for us, the place we’ve put on top of a pedestal, and will forever dream about as we work towards being able to return. Yes, it really is that incredible of a place.
Our week of diving was immensely satisfying. We had the pleasure of exploring pristine reefs, walls and pinnacles jam packed with healthy corals of nearly every imaginable color and shape. We saw schools of snapper stretching farther than the eye could see in every direction. We saw more pygmy seahorses than I can count. Multiple sharks, on every single dive. When a reef ecosystem has lots of sharks, it speaks volumes about its health. The presence of those apex predators means the area is thriving and that the entire food chain is being in kept in check, the way nature intended. We had our first encounter with manta rays, as well as our second and third encounters. When we weren’t diving we were treated to surreal stretches of sandy beach, flat seas in every imaginable shade of turquoise, a stunning handcrafted water cottage in which we felt nothing short of royalty, and spectacular sunsets. And then there was the stunning North Lagoon, full of little baby black tip sharks cruising the shallows and putting on a show at dusk as they learned to hunt schools of anchovies. Best evening entertainment ever!
The staff at MER were wonderful. Friendly and smiling at all times, they all went to the trouble of learning our names on the first day. We treated ourselves to sublime massages, feasted on 4 meals a day, and listened with rapt attention to guest operations manager Calvin Beale’s impassioned presentations on the house reef and manta rays. Overall, it was a profoundly awesome experience for us and we will forever cherish the memories of our time there. Paradise, pure and simple.
I also loved how remote it was, and how refreshed and recharged that made me feel. I loved the break away from the constant connectivity of every day life. It truly is a place to leave the rest of the world behind and just revel in it all. This place was immensely good for my soul, in numerous ways. I can’t thank them enough for that.
I won’t discuss at length here just what those remarkable conservation efforts are, because I’ve already written about that in this post. I also won’t recount the remarkable story of how MER came to be, because I can’t tell that story better than MER itself; you can find it all on their website here. Have a read, its good stuff. Better yet…start dreaming and start saving for your own visit to Misool Eco Resort. You’ll think you died and went to heaven. I know I did.