About 'RICHEST  REEFS, by Stephen Frink:

Jim and Cary Yanny, ECO DIVERS, Manado




Revised: 08/23/03.

Forward to RICHEST REEFS, by Stephen Frink:

 Michael Aw makes the observation that the descriptive “pristine coral reef” is at times rendered cliché by too many introductory scuba divers returning from their first holiday in the tropics.  But when Michael Aw, a diver with extraordinary wealth of experience and discriminating vision, says the coral reefs of Indonesia are the world’s “Richest Reefs”, I tend to believe.

 This is not a superlative that Michael would offer lightly.  Rather it is the specific result of seeing the very best of the underwater world, from the Caribbean to the Pacific to the Red Sea.  Yet returning time after time to the Indonesian archipelago to sample her power, beauty, and biodiversity; and truthfully finding no match.

 The statistics agree.  Imagine an ichthyologist of the experience and stature of Dr. Gerald Allen visiting Raja Ampat and documenting 284 species of fish on a single dive, equal to one fish species identified every 5 seconds!   Yet this book is about far more than statistics.  It is about a reverence for the coral reef from one who reckons “the coral reefs of Indonesia are akin to the Amazon rain forests, far richer than the Serengeti”, and has the images to prove it.  It is about a celebration of the majesty of the coral reef, tempered by a fear that her days are numbered due to destructive fishing practices, pollution, global warming, and simply overpopulation.

 Michael has seen the very best of the planets tropical reefs, and has traveled great distances and invested considerable time and expense to do so. He considers himself fortunate to have done so.  We should consider ourselves fortunate to be able to share the fruits of his photographic passion, to vicariously visit some of the world’s most remote and truly pristine coral reefs. 

 In his words “I have explored from the extreme west to the far east of Indonesia; from Pulau Banyak in Sumatra to the Anambas – Natuna Islands, Thousands Islands, Bali, Komodo, Lombok, Bunaken, Banka, Sangir-Talaud, Toli-Toli, Halmerhera, Ceram, Banda, Ambon, Flores, Togians, the Berau Islands, Bontang, Ujung Pandang, Moyo, Komodo, Alor, Taka Bone Rate, Tukang Besi, Kei, Biak, the Weter Islands and recently to Raja Ampat, some I returned to several times. Yet I have only barely scratched the surface of the vast archipelago.” 

 Many of these are places I’ve never even heard of, but clearly should be on my shooter-wish-list, based on the images Michael captured in these remote locales.  Michael Aw artfully portrays how much we have to lose if we ignore our coral reefs.  And how very much we have to gain by embracing the scuba lifestyle and immersing ourselves in nature’s “Richest Reefs”.

 Stephen Frink, Key Largo, July 2003


 Jim and Cary Yanny, ECO DIVERS, Manado

We wish to congratulate OceanNEnvironment on the launch of your beautiful new book, “Richest Reefs Indonesia”. We have now had a chance to look through it and conclude that this piece of work is of a very high-quality, as you had indeed predicted. Well done, you should be very proud of what you’ve achieved here. We look forward to receiving our advanced copies soon so we can start selling.

 Jim and Cary Yanny