Liberal Arts Blog — Raj Ampat (“The Four Kings”) — An Archipelago of Incomparable Beauty

John Muresianu
4 min readFeb 5, 2023

Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Random Stuff Day

Today’s Topic: Raj Ampat (“The Four Kings”) — An Archipelago of Incomparable Beauty

Off the coast of the world’s second largest island, Guinea, lies an archipelago of 1,500 islands that, for master scuba divers, is the Holy Grail of coral reefs. Thank you to my old friend, Jamie Harmon, for introducing me to this earthly paradise just a few days ago. I had never heard so much as a whisper about it! Today a few more notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE MYTH OF THE FOUR KINGS — well, once upon a time, a woman found seven eggs, four of them hatched and became the four big islands of Raj Ampat, the other three became a ghost, a woman, and a stone…

1. Islam arrived in the 15th century.

2. The Portuguese in the 16th.

3. The Dutch took over in the 17th.

NB: And do you remember that the savvy Dutch traded just one Spice Island, Run, known for its nutmeg, to the English in exchange for that swampy hell-hole called Manhattan? Not their best trade. Run is part of the Banda Islands whose total population is now 21,000.

PART OF THE “AMAZON OF THE SEAS” (eg. the Coral Triangle) ) — Raj Ampat has 75% of the world’s species of “hard coral” (about 600 species) — plus 1700 species of reef fish!

1. Raj Ampat is the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle (which encompasses the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomons).

2. “Hard corals” are animals, not plants, and are the “reef builders of the coral world.”

3. Other highlights of Raj Ampat include “endangered and rare mammals such as dugongs, whales (such blue or/and pygmy blue, byrydes, less known omura’s, sperm) dolphins, and orcas…)

NB: “The high marine diversity in Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by its position between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as coral and fish larvae are more easily shared between the two oceans.”

TECHNICALLY LOCATED IN THE INDONESIAN PROVINCE OF SOUTHWEST PAPUA — which is a misnomer as it is actually located in the northwestern corner of Papua!!!

1. The population of Raj Ampat is a minuscule 64,000.

2. Spread out over 27,000 square miles of land and sea.

3. The four largest islands account for only a quarter of the land area of the total.

NB: The largest island is Waigeo (home of the capital of Wasai), the next is Misool. Then Salwati And finally Batanta (famous for its “craggy, rugged geography” and separated from Waigeo by the Dampier Straits).

The Raja Ampat Islands: An Astonishing Gem of the Pacific

Scleractinia — Wikipedia

Coral Triangle — Wikipedia

Southwest Papua — Wikipedia

Sultanate of Bacan — Wikipedia

The tiny island the British traded for Manhattan


“Whenever you are wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up.”

- Ogden Nash


PDF with headlines — Google Drive


#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20


Anything miscellaneous to share? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes? Or, what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? Or what is your favorite holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare?

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.