Wayag Shark Point

West Waigeo, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua

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If most people imagine relaxing on the beach is sitting in the sun while playing the waves occasionally, at Wayag, tourists will be amazed by the many sharks swimming along the beach. However, tourists don’t need to worry because these sharks are still young and very tame. Of course swimming with these sharks is very possible.

The place where tourists can get the experience of swimming with sharks is at Wayag Beach Post. Therefore, after walking around Wayag Hill, tourists have to stop by the beach post to feel the sensation of swimming with the ultimate sea predators. This experience will not be found anywhere else. Not even at diving sites.

The differences between the sharks found here and sharks that can be found while diving are that sharks in this place are tame and that visitors can always find sharks at Wayag. Swimming with dozens of sharks at this post feels much safer than swimming with sharks that we just happen to meet at diving  sites. Even teenagers can swim with these sharks in a relatively safe manner, but of course with very close supervision

Generally, the baby shark species that live in this beach post are the Black Tip Shark. This shark gets its name from the black coloration found on the tips of its fins. The shark is a type of reef shark whose hunting area is on coral reefs with a depth of 2-10 meters. These sharks also often expand their hunting area to shallow waters less than one meter from the beach.

The Raja Ampat local government has explicitly included this type of shark as a protected animal that is prohibited from fishing. This is because this type of shark is in the endangered category. This regulation is expressly stated in the Raja Ampat Regional Regulation Number 9 of 2012 concerning the Prohibition of Catching All Types of Sharks in Raja Ampat.

This species is widely distributed throughout coral waters in both tropical and subtropical areas. In Indonesia, this shark has many local terms, including hiu mada and kluyu karang. This shark is classified as a shark that is very vulnerable to being sold in the free market and being hunted for its fins because its hunting area is very close to the surface and in coral reef areas that are relatively close to the land. In other words, reef sharks are easier to be caught or get caught.

To foster good knowledge about shark sustainability, the manager of the Wayag beach post deliberately made swimming with sharks as its main attraction. By doing so, it is hoped that the awareness of tourists about the existence of sharks, which are important for the marine ecosystem, will increase. At the very least, tourists will grow a positive understanding to protect shark populations by not hunting their fins, which are still often found on the free market.

This type of shark is an aggressive predator when it is an adult. However, this type of shark is not a threat to humans because it is not too ferocious for humans.  This type of shark is also a prey for other, bigger sharks. According to some experts, this type of shark tends to be friendly to humans so that it is known as a social shark. They also often cluster in large school to prevent attacks from other predators.

Thus, the presence of baby black reef sharks at the Wayag beach post is not dangerous, although tourists must be careful and extra cautious. These sharks can be said to be the ‘pets’ of local residents as they are really tame. As an addition to swimming together, tourists are also allowed to feed the sharks, although the latter is very controversial as it can reduce their instincts to hunt as they mature.

In addition, feeding sharks from infancy not only causes dependence on humans, but also turns off their gut instinct. So that later when they are adults and no longer swimming on the beach, they tend to be too close to humans which could endanger their lives. This is because their fins are still very popular in the black market to meet both domestic and export demands.

There are a number of strict rules that must be obeyed by tourists when they want to swim and feed the sharks, for their own safety. Among the rules are do not feed too close to limbs and tourists must not smell of blood or bleeding. Thus, tourists who are injured by corals while exploring Wayag Hill are prohibited from swimming with the sharks.

The location of this beach post can be reached within 5 minutes by speedboatfrom Wayag hill. If tourists want to visit this beach post, they only need to convey it to their travel agent. However, always remember to be cautious and don’t get complacent even though the sharks are known as tame sharks.

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