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One of the most noteworthy ecological niches on the planet, with views among the most stunning that you are likely to behold in a lifetime, the Raja Ampat archipelago is a region characterised by rugged and steep limestone coastlines covered with virgin rainforest extending right down to the water’s edge. Many of the fish, corals and crustaceans that live in these waters are found nowhere else on Earth.
During this cruise, we will take you on a far-reaching exploration of what is without a doubt one of the least visited but most memorable adventure destinations on our planet. You do not need to be a diver to be able to experience this global epicentre of marine diversity; here you will have the opportunity to snorkel daily in an underwater world reminiscent of a living kaleidoscope. Nor do you need to be a seasoned birdwatcher to see and appreciate the dazzling birdlife that brought Alfred Russel Wallace to this region over a century ago. Witness the curious bobbing, flapping and weaving display dance of the red bird of paradise, hear the shrieks of the crested cockatoo and the loud whooshing wing beats of the hornbills in flight. Float on your back through a mysterious cave; swim with stingless jellyfish; dive into a jungle waterfall; relish the magic of what has been described as the ‘Last Paradise on Earth.
Your flight will arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat. From the airport you will be transferred to the harbour where the Ombak Putih or Katharina will be waiting at anchor.
Once settled into your cabin, your cruise director will familiarise you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures. Ready to start your adventure, you will weigh anchor and set a southerly course for the Misool archipelago, stopping for a refreshing swim along the way.
We will then dine alfresco on the main deck while meeting the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.
This morning you will wake to see the sun rise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution,’ featuring a great number of tiny islets whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides. You will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. You can test out your paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Ombak Putih will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol Bay.
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.
After an early breakfast, your tenders will take yoy into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites. You will then move on to the mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals.
After returning to the ship, you will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric cave paintings.
After your days of marine exploration, the jungle-clad island of Batanta offers you a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior. You anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where you will find local guides to escort you through the mangrove waters to the start point of your trek. A short walk along the riverbed brings you to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off.
After leaving the wilderness behind you, you will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel before moving north to the island of Waigeo.
You will wake up in the south of Mayalibit Bay – the huge and wild bay at the heart of Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s biggest island. The bay, which almost splits the island in two, is entered via a narrow fjord-like channel that meets the ocean just east of Waisai on Waigeo’s south coast.
After breakfast, you will take the dinghies to Lopintol Village where you will find one of the villagers to guide you on a morning spelunking expedition. Visit two very dramatic and contrasting caves that highlight the fascinating underground formations of the karst landscape.
After lunch, you will freshen up with a well-earned swim and snorkel before heading to Sapokren Village on the southwest tip of Waigeo Island.
After waking up, before sunrise, you will follow in the footsteps of the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. We hope that the efforts of your trek through the forest will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy. Whether you spot the birds or not, for sure you will experience a wonderful trek.
You will end your day by mooring off Pulau Arborek in front Arborek Village. Here, you can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living in this isolated place.
Another full day of adventure awaits you along the convoluted western coast of Waigeo. you will begin the morning by exploring Wofoh, three island gems linked together by stretches of pristine coral reef. You can use the tenders or kayaks to navigate the islands, or put your newlyacquired fish identification skills to use in exploring this vibrant reef. Or you may prefer to simply just relax on the beach.
In the evening your will make your way across the equator to the northern hemisphere on your journey to the islands of Wayag.
Few areas in Indonesia can lay claim to such unsurpassed natural splendour as Raja Ampat’s Wayag islands. The beauty of these picturesque karst spires is perhaps only equalled by the brilliant colours and vibrancy of the reefs and the marine life that flourishes below. Nature has carved these islands into a series of coves and lagoons, narrow channels and inlets, caves, jagged rocks and shaded, sandy beaches.
For those who dare, there are some spectacular but nearly vertical climbs that are rewarded with magnificent panoramas.
The Wayag islands are Raja Ampat’s best, and you will make the most of this unique region for one more morning, navigating the maze of mushroom-shaped islands, and stopping for swimming and snorkeling.
In the afternoon, you will set our compasses to return to the southern hemisphere on your way back to mainland West Papua.
In the evening you will have your farewell dinner with your captain and crew.
After a quick stop for a last swim and refreshments on one of the nearby islands, you will make your way back to the harbour of Sorong. Here you will bid farewell to the ship and her crew. Our tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Superior:||from AU $7,640|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!