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Photos and text by Cameron Dueck

Raja Ampat is in precarious ecological straits and local Papuans are struggling to survive economically.

The Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center (RARCC) is one of the best established conservation and community development groups in the archipelago, and a key local partner of many international conservation organizations.

Kayak4Conservation is a nonprofit organization that employs Papuans to build kayaks in the RARCC fiberglass workshop from specially designed molds, donated by Kaskazi Kayaks in South Africa. They also use Papuan kayaking guides and help families in remote locations start home-stays, which are then used by Kayak4Conservation clients.

“Our goal is to support those living in this beautiful and fragile ecosystem to have better, healthier lives and make them stewards in protecting this natural environment,” said Tertius Kammeyer, who runs Kayak4Conservation.

See Dueck’s full photo essay on paddling Raja Ampat archipelago.

Traveler’s Tips:

• Sorong is the nearest airport, with daily flights from Jakarta by Garuda Indonesia as well as other domestic carriers. There is a daily ferry from Sorong to Waisai
• You will need a Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit, which can be bought upon arrival.
• Plan your homestays by visiting www.stayrajaampat.com.