Have questions? We're here.
Purple Garden Coral Reefs in Indonesia

In Search of Wallace and His Living Treasures with Dr. George Beccaloni

Ternate - Sorong - Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ombak Putih
Talk with an expert
Build your ideal Indonesia trip. Call 1.406.541.2677
Start Planning My Trip
On this 12-day cruise, explore the legacy of Alfred Russel and his work on theories of evolution and natural selection. The Coral Triangle, an area in Indonesia, is home to some of the most diverse marine life in the world. Discover the areas that fascinated Wallace and witness the magic of the bird of paradise in its natural habitat. Trek through jungle terrain, observe the wildlife and visit remote local villages. Experience what captivated Wallace and attracts scientists and nature lovers worldwide, guided by the expert knowledge of Dr. George Beccaloni and a seasoned crew aboard the Ombak Putih.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle in Raja AmpatAerial view of Raja Ampat IndonesiaExplore some of Indonesia's 17,000 islandsCruising Adventures! Cultural encountersCruising Adventures! Dutch Fort TernateVillage at the beachfront in Sorong, IndonesiaPurple Garden Coral Reefs in Indonesia
  • Explore Ternate, the capital of the North Maluku Province
  • Admire the unique chain of volcanic islands including Makian and Ternate
  • Discover Bacan Island, well known for its incredible wildlife
  • Visit Yar Island to see a flock of flying foxes emerge from the forest
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.

Full Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Ternate | Embark

Your flight arrives on the small island of Ternate, the capital of the North Maluku Province. You are met at the airport and transferred to the stately Ombak Putih, moored off Ternate City. There is time for you to get settled into your rooms, have a quick safety briefing, and enjoy an alfresco lunch while meeting the other passengers and the crew.

In the afternoon, you venture into the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading center of North Maluku. Of the four historically powerful spice sultanates, Ternate is the only one where the sultanate has survived uninterrupted.

You visit Fort Toluko built by the Portuguese and the ‘Kedaton', the palace of the Sultan, with its rich collection of heirlooms. You also see the impressive Fort Oranje built by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the probable site of the house where Wallace was living when he posted his essay on natural selection to Charles Darwin in 1858.  After the tour, you move back to the boat ready to start your journey.

Day 2: Dodinga

Today, you wake up off the coast of Halmahera, just across from Ternate, with the mighty peaks of Ternate and Tidore as your dawn backdrop.

After breakfast, you head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where Wallace was living when, in a fit of malarial delirium, he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change - natural selection. Once he recovers, he promptly writes a detailed essay explaining his theory, which he posts to Charles Darwin as soon as he returns to his base on Ternate. His essay, which is published together with Darwin's thoughts on the subject in August 1858, prompts Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explains the theory in greater detail.  Dodinga is a pretty little riverside village with friendly people, colorful houses, and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, and its importance in the history of science cannot be understated.

After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts, and enjoying their hospitality, you head back to the boat for lunch and then go off for an afternoon of snorkeling and relaxation. You head south later in the day ready for your first Bird of Paradise encounter the following morning.

Day 3: Bastiong Village | Weda Reef

This morning, you do a trek to a waterfall located in central Halmahera, walking through towering coconut trees. After the trek, you take a walk around the village and experience their hospitality by the beach.

During lunch, you make your way to an island just west of Halmahera where you will be snorkeling in the afternoon, hopefully spotting unique marine life.


Day 4: Bacan

You wake up off the western coast of Bacan, another of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates. You go ashore to explore the forested slopes where Wallace made some of his greatest zoological discoveries, including the Moluccan Cuscus, the Standardwing Bird of Paradise, the world's largest bee Megachile pluto, and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly. Wallace describes the latter species as the "finest butterfly in the world". When he caught the first male in 1859 he wrote: "When I take it out of my net and open its gorgeous wings, I am nearer fainting with delight and excitement than I have ever been in my life; my heart beats violently, and the blood rushes to my head, leaving a headache for the rest of the day." Very few Westerners have ever seen this species alive and no groups of tourists have ever been taken to see it before. Of course, there is no guarantee you will see it - but you will try very hard and will be employing as your guide the one person on Bacan who knows exactly where it can be found.

You also keep a close watch for these and a host of other animals, some of them endemic to these islands, including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus, and the endangered black macaque – the only monkey in Maluku. It’s the wrong side of the Wallace Line for monkeys; these ones have introduced hundreds of years ago from North Sulawesi.


Day 5: Halmahera

In the morning, you make landfall at the Pisang Islands. These tiny gems isolated in the vast waters of the Ceram Sea offer you a chance to relax and enjoy the sparkling white-sand beaches, clear waters, and vibrant reefs before making your way to the shores of West Misool.

Day 6: Kapatcol Birdwatching and Village Visit

Today, you will try your best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise display in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. You will rise around 4 am and have a quick breakfast and go ashore, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ (courtship display) trees. You can make no guarantees, however, as you do not have them on a leash.

You have time for a look around the village and possibly a visit to the school to learn about their way of life. Mid-afternoon, you set off to the eastern side of Misool to Tomolol Bay.

Day 7: Exploring the Misool Archipelago

This morning, you wake to see the sun rise over the picturesque chain of islands that make up the eastern part of 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.

After an early breakfast, our tenders take us 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. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave.

You then move on to a mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities. After returning to the ship, you 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, estimated to be anything between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, and plants, tools, and vessels.

Day 8: Snorkeling Raja Ampat

After your days of marine exploration, the jungle-clad island of Batanta offers us 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 can visit the village and the school and watch the children’s performance.

For those who wish, if the tide is right, you are able to take a short walk along the riverbed that brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After this, the boat moves to Dayang Island for another great snorkeling opportunity.

Day 9: Wallace's Channel | Yenbeser Village

You wake up in front of the island of Penemu, a dramatic location with a short hilltop climb to take in the amazing views. After some great snorkeling on the island’s reefs, you set the course for the tiny Arborek Island, where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us.

You can also walk around the village and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept very much alive by the villagers living in this isolated place. There's a chance that you may get to see some manta rays as you snorkel, but there are no guarantees.

Day 10: Dampier Strait | Arborek Island

Today presents another opportunity for keen naturalists, as you wake up early and walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. With a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, you see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.

After returning to the ship, you turn your attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes her way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. If the currents are in your favor, you might see some of the area’s larger specimens of marine life, which are attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich waters.

You will spend the afternoon in Yenbeser village where Wallace spent some months and (if the tides are right) you’ll visit a faithful replica of Wallace’s small hut, which is built by the villagers using plans from FFI (Fauna & Flora International) and a grant from SeaTrek.

You will also visit a nearby small island where a local man has set up a coconut crab 'sanctuary'. The island is home to a small number of these monsters (Birgus latro, the world's largest terrestrial arthropod), and you can get up close and personal with these magnificent yet docile beasts. Another late afternoon snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world's largest bivalve) leads you into dinner at anchor on board, ready for an early morning venture for the Red Bird of Paradise.

Day 11: Saporkren Village | Mioskon Island

Today, you rise at 4:30 am, off Saporkren village. The dinghy carries you across to the village in the dark, and a local guide takes you on a short drive into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the gorgeous Wilson's Bird of Paradise. You hope that the efforts of your early start will pay off, enabling you to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird's elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy.

Back in the village, there is time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. You are back on the boat by mid-morning, and you head to Yenbuba at Mansuar island for some snorkeling before lunch. This place is known as the "fish bowl" because of the chance to see different types of fish around the bay. The boat then moves to Mioskon island for more snorkeling and the opportunity to watch a multitude of bats flying overhead just after sunset. Tonight, you have a farewell party.

Day 12: Sorong | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Today marks the end of our adventure, but you still have one last chance for a swim and a snorkel at a small offshore island before you cruise into the port. Alternatively, you can explore Doom Island.

Once you anchor, you say goodbye to George, our crew, and our sea-based home, the Ombak Putih, before taking the tenders ashore where you will be transferred to the airport for our onward travel.


Ombak Putih

Interior of the ship

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,400 2-3 travelers
Cabin, Ombak Putih
Select a Date
Cabin Deck
Cabin Deck. Spacious, air-conditioned twin-share cabins with twin bunks or double beds and private bathroom with toilet and hot shower.


- All rates are quoted in USD and represent cost per person, based on double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.75 times the published rate.
  • 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • First aid kit containing all major medicines.
  • Use of sleeping bags for sleeping on deck.
  • Complimentary cotton backpack, luggage tag, fan, and stainless steel water bottle, which guests are encouraged to take home and keep.
  • Two pieces of laundry each day.
  • Beach BBQ with complimentary wine, beer, and selected cocktails
  • English-speaking SeaTrek tour leaders
  • Full board including all meals and soft drinks, tea, coffee, snacks. Starting and ending with lunch on first and last days.
  • All port fees
  • Welcome drink and cold towel upon boarding the boat on the first day and each time guests return from all off-boat excursions
  • Daily room cleaning
  • Towels and linens
  • Sunscreen lotion but do bring your own
  • Soaps, shampoo and conditioner
  • Selected wines with special farewell dinner
  • Use of on-board TV and multimedia facilities
  • Library of books, kids’ games and TV documentaries
  • Unlimited use of espresso machine
  • All park fees, cultural performances, local guides, and off-boat activities
  • Use of all facilities on board, including snorkeling gear, paddle boards, kayaks, board games
  • All transfers to and from the boats in ports
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Domestic Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks outside of special dinners and beach BBQ.
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • Transit hotels


When to Go


* By providing your phone number, you consent to receive direct phone calls or SMS messages from our Trip Planners to get the process started. We do not share your information with third-parties.
Travel Agents

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
Chat Now
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.
Jack Charney
More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By