Dive Into the Most Vibrant Reef on Earth in Virtual Reality

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By Sarah Emerson

Nestled around the remote coastline of West Papua, Indonesia, thrives the most biodiverse reef on the planet. Concentrations of species richness unseen anywhere else in the ocean have caused many marine scientists to call this place a "cauldron of evolution." And now, for the first time ever, virtual reality technology is allowing people all over the world to dive into its teeming, crystal clear waters.

The Bird's Head Seascape contains more than 2,500 islands and reefs that make up the archipelago of Raja Ampat, and covers an area roughly the size of Great Britain. It's home to 75 percent of the world's coral species, 1,765 types of fish, and provides sanctuary to beloved species like whale sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles. To visitors and locals alike, Bird's Head is a paradise on Earth.

Debuting today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the VR film "Valen's Reef" follows the conservation and rehabilitation of the Bird's Head Seascape through the eyes of local fisherman and marine scientist Ronald Mambrasar and his young son, Valen. (Disclosure: VICE Media provided distribution support for "Valen's Reef" as part of its interest in sustainability initiatives.)

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Gabrielle Brown