A window on our impact: Documenting a declining piece of reef at the heart of one of the world’s most precious, biodiverse marine ecosystems
Boo Windows, orJamur Boo, is located in Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. It is a breathtaking dive site. There are three large and famous “windows” in the main reef, but divers can only swim through the two larger openings. The site is bursting with marine life in all its forms: It is covered with soft coral, plate and staghorn corals, gorgonian sea fans, sea whips, sponges and tunicates. Divers are treated to swirling schools of fishes, such as snappers, fusiliers, batfish, and more, while wobbegong sharks, turtles and three species of pygmy seahorse are also commonly seen here. It is one of our most favourite dive sites.
Despite mammoth (and well enforced) conservation programmes and protection efforts being undertaken by the resorts and liveaboards whose divers frequent Boo Windows, the site is deteriorating – possibly due to diver pressure and climate change.
There is one four-metre-tall, two-metre-round submerged pinnacle jutting out from about 35 metres at the southwest of the site. When we started visiting this beautiful place in 2011, we were drawn to this dramatic formation as it was home to some of the prettiest soft corals, sea fans and sponges we had ever seen. It made a wonderful subject for photographs. Every time we dived the site, we would be sure to visit this charming little living “neighbourhood”.
However, as years went by, we started to see these life forms dying back. By 2015 this coneshaped rock had become rather barren.
We will return to dive Boo Windows again in 2017, and hope that we will start to see some recovery of the corals, sponges, and tunicates that once drew us to admire this impressive “spire of life”.