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Paradise Lost has just been released as the third and most exciting episode of the Wild Brothers yet!
Taking the focus from collecting insects in our lush rainforest home to the tropics for this underwater adventure was quite a change of scenery. We were blessed to get to take a break from normal missionary life with our family friends the Browns. We all love the ocean, so we were passionate to dive right into shooting our time in the amazing Raja Ampat Islands!
We arrived in the Raja Ampats without a clue about how much fun we were going to have. This place was unreal! Undoubtedly accepted as one of the most diverse and exotic underwater ecosystems in the world, we fell in love with the warm climate, clusters of remote islets, and incredible marine life.
Each direction we went brought us somewhere totally unique and full of surprises.
Swimming with manta rays was our first big trip. We packed into two boats and set off with the expectation of documenting the amazing experience of giant mantas swirling around us in 40 feet of deep, blue water. But sometimes things don’t always go to plan. This day was no exception. The weather was mediocre, grey skies and calm waves; typically the weather shouldn’t have detoured the mantas from congregating, but they appeared to be shy because after half an hour of scanning the surface and taking several swims, we weren’t rewarded with any major sightings.
These giant mantas were known to be drawn to this channel of water because of the many kinds of cleaning fish that inhabited the area. This was a popular “drive through” for the mantas, a cleaning station that provided free use of the cleaner fishes’ voracious appetite for small, annoying parasites and bacteria that commonly accumulate on helpless mantas.
As the mantas go through and get picked clean of parasites, they provide an exchange for the work of their cleaner fish buddies—a free meal! This is one amazing example of mutual symbiosis between two completely different organisms that God has put into place in this particular underwater ecosystem.
There was this one place called Hidden Bay that we visited. We had a great opportunity to film the beautiful creatures there in the heart of the mangroves. From the surface you wouldn’t imagine that there could be so many different little schools of tropical fish and strange nudibranchs populating the warm, green waters. We jumped in, and once the clouds of sand settled back into place, we were delighted at what we saw. It was like being in another world! Clusters of swaying sea grass was the home to tiny seahorses that bobbed around like discombobulated little corks, seeming not to know where they were going. Skirting along the bottom were camouflaged flounder and swarms of tiny fish, keeping a wary watch for any larger predators that might be lurking in the shadows.
And there were predators. We were surprised when Dad discovered a banded sea-snake hanging around in the shallows near where we were snorkeling. This wouldn’t be the last sea-snake we would see; they were quiet prevalent everywhere we went. One bite from these venomous snakes could be fatal, so we tried to keep our distance.
The Raja Ampat islands are pretty remote in most areas, and there are mysteries which haunt these waters. We got of glimpse of this when we came across a scene that shattered our “laid-back” mood. We found ourselves at a ceremonial burial ground looking into the eye-sockets of several human skulls, forming a gruesome pyramid among other bones, from the axial and appendicular skeletons of many individuals.
We did not know who they were or how they died, and many of the skulls contained gashes or holes, possibly from being bashed in with a blunt object.
Driving away from there, the reality of death was heavy on our minds. It didn’t take long for us to find that this paradise wasn’t free of the sin that corrupts every aspect of this world. It was sobering to find just how quickly we forgot about sin while surrounded by such beauty and design, but it took just one incident like that to remind us that we were living in a fallen world—true paradise was lost when Adam first sinned.
These are just a few of the scenes and experiences found in Paradise Lost. It was definitely our coolest island adventure yet, and there were so many things to do and see! I think the only downfall of the episode was that we couldn’t pack it all into 30 minutes!
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