The stunning marine reserve around Ratua Island
Posted by Ratua Island on November 30, 2018
With so much plastic in the world’s oceans, the image of a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters is fast becoming a thing of the past. Only a handful of pristine lagoons remain untouched by mankind’s dirty hands, and if we want to secure the future of these waters and the marine life within them, we must make a global effort to stop pollution.
Here on Ratua Island, we understand the importance of looking after our oceans. That’s why for the past 15 years, we have created a self-imposed reserve, designed to safeguard the local marine life and offer sanctuary to our aquatic friends.
Our unique marine reserve
Fifteen years ago, a French philanthropist was sailing around the world when he heard about a beautiful jewel-like island in Vanuatu.
Held in high esteem by the locals for centuries, Ratua Island is found nestled safely between Aore and Malo islands, in the northern Archipelago of Vanuatu.
This little gem of an island is perfectly hidden away from the world, and as such was practically untouched by visitors. It was obvious that the pure and clean waters surrounding the island had to be preserved, and so a marine reserve was established.
Pollution, over-fishing or destructive shipping practices were all banned in the reserve, and fifteen years later the result is an abundance of fish, breath-taking colourful coral, and dozens of local turtles.
Meet the locals
The Ratua Marine Reserve holds a stunning kaleidoscope of sea life.
Beautiful fish, ancient coral, and curious turtles are all to be found just a few metres below the surface.
The vast variety of fish include everything from Nemo (clown fish) through to the Giant Trevally and triggerfish. Moray Eels, puffer fish, and sea-horses are all common, along with crabs, sea anemones and, if you have a really keen eye, the occasional octopus!
We're also lucky enough here at Ratua to live alongside one of nature's most intriguing marine animals - the Dugong.
Dugongs are related to manatees, and are sometimes called sea-cows. Many believe these gentle giants were the inspiration behind mermaids, because from a distance they can appear human-like. These graceful vegetarians sometimes come along next to the shore here at Ratua around sunset, playing in the water or searching for some sea grass to feed on.
Of course, coral reefs wouldn’t be called that if it wasn’t for coral.
Coral is a living creature, and is the foundation of the ecosystem that surrounds it.
There are two types of coral; hard coral and soft coral. Hard corals have hard, limestone skeletons which form the basis of coral reefs. Soft corals are flexible organisms that sometimes resemble plants or trees.
All of these wonderous sights are right on your doorstep here at Ratua. Swim, snorkel, scuba-dive or paddleboard in the safety of the calm, crystal-clear waters and discover our majestic marine reserve for yourself.
Protecting the world’s coral reefs
Coral reefs are unlike anything else on the planet, with even more diversity than the world’s rainforests. Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, they are home to more than a quarter of all marine life.
Essential as nurseries for the world’s fish, they are home to thousands of species of fish, crustaceans, and plant-life.
Coral reefs also act as natural barriers against the relentless ocean waves, protecting coastal villages, towns and cities. These are especially important, as climate change brings more frequent, powerful storms and hurricanes to the tropics.
It is estimated that the value of the coral reef ecosystem to millions of people is over $375 billion per year.
It is essential that we protect coral reefs, both for the sake of the marine life and the people which live nearby. Even if you live far from coral reefs, you can have an impact on reef health and conservation.
An experience you’ll never forget
If you have never experienced the wonder and beauty of a tropical marine reserve, then you are missing out on one of nature’s greatest adventures.
There is simply nothing in this world like gently floating in the turquoise blue water as a friendly turtle gracefully swims past, or paddling alongside a rare Dugong as the sun sets over the horizon.
Whether it’s kayaking on the surface or diving below the waves, Ratua’s marine reserve gives you the perfect opportunity to experience nature the way it should be – free from pollution, interference or worry.
If you want to have an unforgettable marine experience, call us today and to book your holiday of a lifetime.
Do it in time for Summer and you might even get to see hundreds of baby turtles hatch on the beach!
Contact us today for more info, or head on over to our Facebook page for the latest photos and news.