A day in the life of Cassandra

Browsing Archive: May, 2011

Baby Blacktip Reef Sharks and Ocean Resiliency

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

After our days in the villages, we returned to Misool Eco-Resort for some wrap up interviews and photography.

 

During my final afternoon, I stood waist deep in the crystal clear water as baby blacktip reef sharks circled me.  Their charcoal dipped fins barely broke the surface as their bodies moved and blended with the white sand below.  Ten, then fifteen, then twenty sharks streamed through the water just inches from me. 


The sharks paid me little attention, as they were busy hun...


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Behind the Scenes

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Monday, May 30, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

Arriving in the villages with our 250 pounds of gear caused quite a spectacle.  When I pulled out my audio equipment and headphones, the kids broke into an excited frenzy. Some exclaimed that I had a bomb. When I handed them the headphones to listen, they giggled at the amplified sounds and voices, realizing it was only a strange looking microphone.


When we set up the camera for landscape shots, the village kids wanted to simultaneously be in front of the lens and behind it. They fol...


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Bait boat Adventures

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

Prior to visiting the villages, we made arrangements to photograph artisanal pole-caught fishing operations for bonito, a type of small tuna. In this famously beautiful spectacle, fishers toss buckets of bait fish in the water, sending the tuna into a feeding frenzy.  Fishers then plunge a single hooked line attached to a long pole into the water, snare the frenzied fish, and toss them one by one into the boat.

 

We couldn’t wait to see the operation in play and spent days tracking down ...


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Village Revelations

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

Traveling to Raja Ampat takes almost as long as a trip to Antarctica and feels almost as remote.  From San Francisco we flew west for three days, finally reaching Sorong, Indonesia, the gateway to the Raja Ampat Islands.  There we boarded a boat and made a four-hour journey to Southeast Misool, passing only a boat or two along the way as we approached the seemingly endless chains of dark jagged islands. 


At first glance, the rugged islands seem uninhabited, but a closer look would reveal 10...


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New Conservation

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

As marine resources become depleted elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific, fishers have pushed into Raja Ampat, the island group off of Papau, Indonesian’s easternmost territory. 



Dilapidated boats, carrying kilometers of long-line to catch sharks for the shark fin industry, or dynamite, the efficient but highly destructive tool of shortsighted Asian fisheries, are a constant threat.  Already, sharks are scarce throughout the region and large expanses of reef have been blown to bits.


But these outs...


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I thought I knew beauty

Posted by Cassandra Brooks on Sunday, May 8, 2011, In : Raja Ampat, Indonesia 

I thought I knew beauty, I thought I knew remoteness and I definitely thought I had a clue about what a healthy marine ecosystem looked like.  Arriving to Southeast Misool in Raja Ampat, Indonesia I realized I had no idea. 

Nothing I experienced before could have prepared me for the lush green virgin forested islands or the vibrant blue lagoons and bays. 

The moment I peaked below the water’s surface, my ideas about what a healthy coral reef was supposed to look like were shattered....


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