Meghan MacGillivray
MER is an example of sustainable eco-tourism and is featured in our new IMAX film, Journey to the South Pacific.

Traveling to West Papua, Indonesia is not easy. A quick breakdown is that it takes 60 hours, 3 flights, 2 hotel stays, 3 countries, and a boat ride. A more extensive breakdown is: a 14 hour flight from Los Angeles to Taiwan, then a 5 hour flight to Jakarta where you spend the night. Early the next morning you take the 4 hour flight to Sorong, THEN take a 5 hour boat to your destination. After traveling for over 60 hours, your sense of fatigue is so profound that you’re almost delerious. However, when arriving at the Misool Eco Resort, all feelings of tiredness seem to dissipate.

The beauty of MER is apparant upon arrival.

The Misool Eco Resort (MER) is located in Southern West Papua (a province of Indonesia), in an area called Raja Ampat. Owned by Andy and Marit Miners, the island of Batbitim is just south of the equator inside a No-Take Zone and the 46,000 sq. km Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary which they helped establish with Shark Savers in 2010.

The resort was a labor of love for Andy and Marit, as they created this sustainable and ecological oasis in the middle of truly nowhere. With white sandy beaches, a thriving colorful reef, and luxurious huts directly located on the crystal clear water, the resort feels like paradise. The Miners pride themselves on using local employees and support many conservation initiatives, all without damaging or harming the ecosystem. Huts surround the small cove with turquoise water lapping right up to the doorstep. The feeling of luxury surrounds you, despite the fact the area is so incredibly remote. Andy and Marit’s hospitality and sense of pride in their resort is so apparent everywhere you go, and there is an air of familiarity and family that surrounds the place, heightened by the sight of their adorable toddler, Sahul.

Director Greg MacGillivray instructs Andy and Marit Miners for their scene.

The resort has its own registered Indonesian charity called Misool Baseftin, which has a myriad of programs ranging from reef restoration projects, building kindergartens in local villages, and supporting and steering the Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary that they helped create in October 2010. You can see a full list of the conservation programs they support here.

It is apparent that the area around them is thriving and that their actions have created results, as visible by the overflowing amounts of fish, coral, and sea life in the bay surrounding the resort. Once completely overfished by the previous shark finning camp, baby blacktip reef sharks now flock to the resort, providing delight to the visitors. With a reef right off the cove, within easy swimming distance from the beach, there are countless oceanic creatures and sea life waiting to be seen. Raja Ampat boasts the highest level of marine biodiversity on the planet, and the areas surrounding Misool certainly lives up to the hype, with visibility ranging from 10 to 30 meters.

Our film crew visited MER in January of 2013 to take advantage of this abundant sea life, and returned with truly stunning images that we simply could not have gotten anywhere else. The resort is featured in our new IMAX film, Journey to the South Pacific, which is currently out in IMAX theatres. We were so delighted to be able to experience this amazing place, and to meet Andy and Marit and feature them in our new film. Their generosity and friendly spirit were welcoming as they embraced our film crew within their resort, providing us with absolutely delicious food, and even pitching in to carry equipment when they weren’t starring in the film themselves.

Andy Miners pitches in to help carry the IMAX camera, no easy task.

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett, Journey to the South Pacific will take moviegoers on a breathtaking IMAX® 3D adventure to the lush tropical islands of remote West Papua, where life flourishes above and below the sea. Depart on a journey of discovery to this magical place where we encounter whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and other iconic creatures of the sea.  Home to more than 2,000 species of sea life, this exotic locale features the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth.  An uplifting story of hope and celebration, Journey to the South Pacific highlights the importance of living in balance with the ocean planet we all call home. Andy and Marit Miners and their Misool Eco Resort are truly a perfect living example of living sustainably and ecologically within one’s environment.

Children from the local village were featured in the film.

Visit the MER website for more information on how to visit their resort and click HERE to learn more about our IMAX film.


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