I just received an update from Marit at Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat. Looks like this year the anchovy shoals have arrived in full force. Feeding on them are squadrons of Mubula Rays, pelagic fish and sharks. I was there last year during this season and what I witnessed rivaled the baitballs of Cocos and Sardine Run. Below is an update from Marit and a quick video I shot of some of the hunting action.
“September sees the annual migration of anchovies north from the Banda sea to Misool in southern Raja Ampat. This year has been a bumper season with huge numbers schooling on the reefs all around Misool Eco Resort. Since the inception of MER’s no take zone, none of the anchovy fishing boats are around. Good news for divers. The anchovies don’t come alone. Schooling Mobula rays of up to 50 individuals round up the anchovies into bait balls then storm in for the attack. Spanish mackerel, giant travelies, schools of jacks, tunas and sharks are all there for the feast.
Swimming out from the wall, divers instantly are surrounded by the pulsating mass of fishes, sometimes so thick that you lose sight of the reef just feet away. It’s a mesmerizing sight with so many fish moving in unison, alternatively flashing on and off as they catch the light each time they turn. The action goes on well into the new year as the mobula and hunting fish feast on their abundant prey.”