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Diving in Papua New Guinea

West Papua: Spice Islands and Raja Ampat

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Coral Discoverer
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Combining scenery of outstanding natural beauty, diverse wildlife and storied histories, this Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition is a unique journey of discovery and adventure like no other. Embark Coral Discoverer in Biak, West Papua, and at the commencement of your 13-day voyage to Darwin, become one of the very first to have experienced these rarely-visited islands, where villagers have remained shielded from the outside world and communities are only now emerging into the 21st century. Make the most of every minute discovering the very best that nature has to offer on this remarkable journey through Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Biak, West Papua
Day 2 : Cenderawasih Bay | Kwatisore Village
Day 3 : Cenderawasih Bay | Papaya Island
Day 4 : Day at Sea
Day 5 : Raja Ampat | Gam Island
Day 6 : Gam Island | Penemu
Day 7 : Kawe Island | Wayag Island
Day 8 : Mesemta Island
Day 9 : Mesemta | Wagmab Island
Day 10 : Banda Neira | Spice Islands
Day 11 : Banda Neira
Day 12 : Crossing the Timor Sea
Day 13 : Arrive Darwin | Disembark

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the colors and aromas of the Spice Islands
  • Explore Raja Ampat’s pristine and brightly-colored reef systems
  • Snorkel through Tomorol Cave & in Pulau Gam’s traditional Sawingrai Village
  • Seek out whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, some up to 12 meters in length

Ship

Coral Discoverer

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Diving in Papua New Guinea Manta ray during on a snorkeling trip. Snorkel off of Cairns, the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific Locals greeting the zodiac

Day 1 Embark in Biak, West Papua

This morning board a chartered private jet for your flight from Darwin to Biak (additional expense). Enjoy a short tour of the town before boarding Coral Discoverer, where there is time to settle in and enjoy the onboard facilities before your departure. In the evening, join your fellow travelers, the Captain, and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey.

Day 2 Cenderawasih Bay | Kwatisore Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enter the marine life haven that is Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of an encounter with the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful whale shark. This region is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to swim with these majestic animals, and with luck, you may have a chance to snorkel amongst them. Spend the afternoon with the local West Papuans at Kwatisore Village, being welcomed into their community and learning about their traditional lifestyle and culture. Enjoy a walk through their village garden, with time to shop at the vibrant market stalls.

Day 3 Cenderawasih Bay | Papaya Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your exploration of Cenderawasih Bay continues today as you discover some of the bay’s eighty square kilometers of pristine coral reefs which support over 200 species of tropical fish. Join the Marine Biologist aboard the glass bottom boat or a kayak tour and snorkel amongst the corals. Make your way to beautiful Papaya Island for an Island walk before cruising through the stunning Cenderawasih National Park.

Day 4 Day at Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise along the magnificent coastline of Cenderawasih, passing tropical islands and majestic mountain ranges. Join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the Lounge for an informative introduction to Raja Ampat and an overview of activities planned for the coming days, which are sure to be a highlight of the voyage.

Day 5 Raja Ampat | Gam Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Awaken as the ship cruises the Dampier Straits, named in honor of famed explorer William Dampier. Enjoy your first morning in Raja Ampat discovering a true gem, Hidden Bay. The narrow entrance to the bay, which is located on Gam Island, is easy to overlook and visits from cruise ships are rare. Aboard Xplorer travel through the long, narrow channel which splits into two picturesque bays featuring a maze of small rock islands. An extremely scenic and atmospheric place to explore, there is ample time to kayak, enjoy glass bottom boat tours over the coral reefs, snorkel and SCUBA dive, and join the expedition staff on a guided nature walk. In the afternoon meet the locals of Gam and explore their traditional village.

Day 6 Gam Island | Penemu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Returning to Pulau Gam early this morning, a local Papuan guide joins you on a walk through the shady forests around Sawinggrai Village. Your guide’s local knowledge may allow you to catch a glimpse of one of nature’s finest creations, the ethereal red bird of paradise. Alternatively you may choose to take the opportunity for an early morning snorkel.  An afternoon visit to Penemu offers a walk to the lookout for awe-inspiring views and time for a swim and snorkel in the pristine waters. This evening cross the equator and celebrate with sunset drinks and shipboard festivities.

Day 7 Kawe Island | Wayag Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Savor a day of exploration, starting with an optional early morning hike at Kawe Island, where the reward is breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Cruise to Wayag Island, which is currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage location. Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and a magical maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands. Enjoy an afternoon of snorkeling, glass bottom boat tours, and discovering the area on Xplorer.

Day 8 Mesemta Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Misool Islands, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of the Raja Ampat region, are a bracelet of islands that are a mecca for snorkelers and divers alike. The islands boast dramatic scenery, with towering limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water and white sand beaches adorned with palm trees.  At Mesemta, see the breathtaking coral gardens while snorkeling or viewing from the glass bottom boat, or paddle at your leisure through these amazing karst islands on kayaks. This evening join the Captain and his crew on the sun deck for a gourmet barbeque at sunset.

Day 9 Mesemta | Wagmab Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy an early morning snorkel at Mesemta before a short cruise to Wagmab Island. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of water activities with a last opportunity to snorkel or dive Raja Ampat’s splendid soft coral reefs, with their vibrant shades of color and multitude of marine life. Paddle through the aqua sea and enjoy glass bottom boat tours before enjoying pre-dinner drinks.

Day 10 Banda Neira | Spice Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the middle of the Banda Sea lies an enchanted fragment of history, the center of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On the approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api Volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, is clearly visible. See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes in action - with up to 38 oarsmen aboard they are a sight to behold as they glide across the water. Later in the afternoon there is time to explore Fort Belgica. Built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611, the fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonization. Join the locals for a traditional dance and music performance before enjoying a glass of champagne as the sun sets over the fort.

Day 11 Banda Neira

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself in the colors and aromas of the Spice Islands. Travel through the wide, tree-lined streets and past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour. See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion, the old church, and a cultural presentation. Explore a nutmeg plantation and taste local treats on the waterfront. There is also a unique opportunity to dive or snorkel over the corals growing on the sunken volcanic lava flow.

Day 12 Crossing the Timor Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today say farewell to the Spice Islands and cruise towards Darwin. Spend the day on board to relax and enjoy, reminiscing over the highlights of Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands as you cross the Timor Sea. Join Expedition Staff in the ship’s lounge for a recap of the expedition experiences.

Day 13 Arrive Darwin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning at 8:00am, arrive at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, marking the end of your great adventure discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Coral Discoverer

Per person starting at
$8,645
Coral Discoverer Main Category B Stateroom
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Main Deck B
Main Deck, 17.5-18.5 sqm, with either junior king or twin bedding.
Oceanic Discoverer's Main Deck Category A.
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Main Deck A
Main Deck, 18 sqm, with either junior king or twin bedding.
Oceanic Discoverer's Promenade Deck Category B.
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Promenade Deck B
Promenade Deck, 14-16 sqm, junior king bedding.
Oceanic Discoverer's Promenade Deck Category A.
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Promenade Deck A
Promenade Deck, 16-17.5 sqm, junior king bedding.
Coral Discoverer Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom
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Bridge Deck
Bridge Deck, 17-18 sqm, junior king or twin bedding.

Notes

Solo Travelers:
A 50% single supplement is charged or select the “twin share” program. Book a cabin at the posted fare and the Coral Discoverer will attempt to match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If not possible, enjoy the sole use of the cabin at the twin share price.

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian or New Zealand Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations hoped to visit and activities on offer. While every effort will be made to follow this itinerary, the Coral Discoverer reserves the right to vary this itinerary to make allowances for weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

Cruise fare includes:
• Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
• All meals
• House beer and wine during lunch and dinner service
• 24-hour soft drinks, tea, and barista-style coffee
• Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
• Access to islands, marine, and national parks
• Guided tours on Xplorer expedition vessel, zodiacs, glass-bottom boat, and kayaks
• Touring as described in each itinerary
• Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
• Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities

Your cruise price does not include:
• Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
• Entry visas/travel permits
• Travel Insurance
• SCUBA diving charges 
• Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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