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Trevor Frost Dives Deep In Indonesian Papua
Posted on February 22, 2016

A local man walks along a boardwalk in his village near Kri Island

It’s been a few months since we heard from global adventurer and National Geographic photographer Trevor Frost, but he’s been busy. A life of international flights, visa logistics, jungle filming assignments, and Nat Geo restructures is not an easy one to navigate. But when Trevor delivers, he delivers big. This is his first gallery of 2016, from a scuba-diving trip to Raja Ampat in Indonesian Papua, with the most biodiverse coral-reef system in the world. Once again, he delivered. —LYA Editor

Words, Captions and Images by Trevor Frost

The two questions I am asked most are, How do you become a National Geographic photographer? and Where do you want to travel next? The former is easy to answer: there is no path or formula or guidebook. Frankly, I think it would have been easier for me to become a doctor or lawyer. And the truth is, if you have to ask the question, then you probably won’t figure it out. The latter question is much tougher to answer.

Generally I go where I find stories, so most of the time I’m not really thinking about the food or culture or music when making my decision. That said, I can tell you that these days I dream of trips where I get to let loose and explore for no reason other than my own curiosity. I had the chance to go to India for the first time in January with good friend and fellow photographer Joe Riis, and that was wonderful because we spent 10 days just relaxing on a beach near Goa. Seriously, we didn’t do anything but eat amazing Indian food, swim in the ocean, sit on the beach, and fish. Might be surprising to hear that someone like me wouldn’t want to do something else, something more active, but the fact remains that we all—yes, even photographers—dream of spending time doing something that has nothing to do with our work.

All the above aside, one place I’d always thought about from time to time was Raja Ampat in Indonesian Papua. It is group of islands off the Bird’s Head landscape of the island of New Guinea, with the most biodiverse coral-reef system in the world. Because I don’t do underwater photography professionally and because I enjoy scuba diving, I always thought Raja Ampat would be a place I could go and feel like my trip is an escape. The thing is: Raja Ampat isn’t easy to get to, and it is very expensive because it is extremely remote. I got lucky in 2015 though, and was invited to travel there with Focused on Nature, a nonprofit conservation fund based in Geneva, Switzerland. I spent eight days in Raja Ampat and went scuba diving each day.

The magic of scuba diving is that the world goes quiet: for the hour or so you are under the sea, there is not a thing to think about except what is in front of you and how much air you have left. Life is broken down and made simple. That is what I live for more than anything: moments of escape. The psychologist Abraham Maslow called those moments peak experiences.

A small village near Kris Island, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia

 

Top: A local man walks along a boardwalk in his village near Kri Island. Above: A small village near Kris Island, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia. L to R: 1. A local man standing watch over the dock in a small village near Kri Island. 2. Palm Trees on the island of Kri in Raja Ampat. 3. A local village in Raja Ampat.

A giant school of glass fish in Raja Ampat. This was probably the coolest thing I saw underwater in my time at Raja Ampat

 

Above: A giant school of glass fish in Raja Ampat. This was probably the coolest thing I saw underwater in my time at Raja Ampat. L to R: 1. This small school of fish let me get very close to them, which is key to getting good photos underwater. 2. Closeup of a giant school of glass fish in Raja Ampat. 3. A large school of fish zoom by as I approach them. 

Corals at the end of the Papua Diving’s dock.

 

Above: Corals at the end of the Papua Diving’s dock. L to R: 1. A giant fan coral in Raja Ampat. 2. A friend diving over the incredibly rich reefs of Raja Ampat. 3. Barracuda fish swimming by.

The long dock at Papua Diving headquarters on Kri Island. Just off the end of the dock scientists recorded the greatest fish diversity in the entire world.

 

Above: The long dock at Papua Diving headquarters on Kri Island. Just off the end of the dock scientists recorded the greatest fish diversity in the entire world. L to R: 1. One of my favorite things about coral reefs are the patterns you find. This is a closeup of a soft coral in Raja Ampat. 2. A underwater selfie in Raja Ampat. 3. A porter helps move luggage from the boat to our accommodation. 

Check out the Travex line of gear Trevor Frost packs on his trips at eddiebauer.com.

Author: - Monday, February 22nd, 2016
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  1. Jonathan Diamond

    This kind of self-congratulatory and smug posting is very disappointing. Imagine the arrogance it takes to start out a piece by saying that it would be easier to be a doctor and that everybody always asks how they can get your job (but of course you can’t if you aren’t as naturally brilliant as the author!).

    And on top of that, the writing is extremely poor quality and the photographs are mediocre at best. A good national geographic article will have a real story to build around, not just a long boast about how great it is to get to travel the world taking pictures. The fact that you, a privileged and affluent white man who travels the world on conservation funds, live “for moments of escape” is completely uninteresting and stereotypical.

    Finally, it’s really a shame that organizations like Focused on Nature spend money to send one person to an expensive scuba diving location. You have to be absolutely kidding yourself if you think this benefits conservation. The only person it benefits in this case is the author. People should think twice about supporting a cause where money is used to grant this author an 8 day vacation.

  2. Eddie Bauer Social

    Hi Jonathan. Thanks for sharing your views, sorry to hear you feel that way.

  3. poohbear

    “The two questions I am asked most are, How do you become a National Geographic photographer? and Where do you want to travel next? The former is easy to answer: there is no path or formula or guidebook. Frankly, I think it would have been easier for me to become a doctor or lawyer. And the truth is, if you have to ask the question, then you probably won’t figure it out.”

    lol WTH is the point of this? We’re here to read about travel not some guy trying to prove how special his job is and how clueless we are on how to get it. Be a bit more modest man.

  4. Chrissy

    Ouch! Interesting article, but I am responding to Eddie Bauer Social-I believe a more appropriate response would be good-please rethink your disappointing response. (very cocky, in an of itself)

  5. Eddie Bauer Social

    Hey Chrissy. We don’t mean to be cocky – apologies if that’s how it appeared. We understand that Trevor Frost’s words aren’t resonating with some of our readers. We encourage a thoughtful and diverse discussion of all things adventure here on our blog – so we’re glad to hear everyone’s opinions on the matter, and are glad to host a discussion here. As for what Trevor wrote, next time he’s in a civilized place with WIFI, we’ll invite him to respond here. Thanks.

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