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Sunset at an ocean resort in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

Papua's Whale Sharks and Birds of Paradise

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Katharina
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Cruising Raja Ampat must rate as one of life's most beautiful experiences in the world. This special itinerary honors Alfred Russel Wallace, the prominent scientist who was one of the first who dared to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity some 150 years ago. In the company of the guest expert, Alexander Reeuwijk, revisit some of the areas that Wallace found so fascinating, and hopefully experience the magic of seeing the bird of paradise in its full glory within its natural habitat. If you're lucky, you'll get to snorkel with whale sharks in Triton Bay.
Beautiful wild coast of Raja Ampat, IndonesiaTraveler admiring a marine Indonesian viewSealife at Manuar Island, Raja Ampat, IndonesiaSorong, IndonesiaSunset at an ocean resort in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia
Highlights
  • Swim under the beautiful Kitikiti waterfall and explore nearby reefs
  • Follow in the footsteps of British naturalist and explorer, Alfred Russel Wallace
  • Relax while watching for birds of paradise in their natural habitats
  • Enjoy the sparkling white-sand beaches, clear waters, and vibrant reefs
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kaimana | Embark

Arrive in the West Papuan port town of Kaimana. From the airport, transfer to the harbor where the ship is waiting at anchor. Once you have settled into your cabin, your cruise director will introduce you to the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures. Ready to start your adventure, weigh anchor, leave the harbor behind, and head towards Namatote Passage, stopping for a refreshing swim along the way before watching the sunset on your first day at sea.

Day 2: Namatote

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, cruise through the Namatote Passage. Namatote’s cliffs are well known as a gallery of prehistoric art, boasting an impressive collection of cave paintings, glyphs and pictorial signs left by ancient nomads high upon the rock walls. You will then explore the undisturbed coves, caves, and lagoons of Triton Bay, where you will anchor for the night.

Day 3: Triton Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Triton Bay is a place of unsurpassed natural splendor, where time and tides have sliced the limestone landscape into tall cliffs and numerous islands separated by lagoons and narrow channels. It is also home to fishermen who keep masses of baitfish in nets that attract a migratory group of whale sharks, which you may have the chance to swim and snorkel with. No promises, as the wild animals are not on a leash, but fingers crossed you will. You will also spend your time swimming from secluded beaches, snorkeling the vibrant turquoise waters and kayaking amongst the rocky outcrops. You can also enjoy watching the birdlife from the comfort of your tenders as you explore this extraordinary maze of karst islands, before visiting the village of Lobo, which is a friendly place at the foot of a 1000-meter-high cliff.

Day 4: Karawawi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Round in Cape Papisol to the Karawawi region, where you will stop to refresh yourselves before journeying on to the beautiful Kitikiti waterfall. Here, in the wilderness, a roaring river cascades down the jungle-clad mountains and crashes into the sea below. You can swim under the waterfall and explore the extraordinary reefs nearby before continuing north-west along the coastline of West Papua.

Day 5: Sipitnanam

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit the village of Sipitnanam, where you will meet the residents, who spend their days fishing the nearby waters and tending their nutmeg plantations. From there, make your way to 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.

Day 6: Misool Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 maximizing everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marveling 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, spend a quiet night at anchor.

Day 7: Tomolol

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 you 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. After returning to the ship, use your 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 ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. After a full day, your ship will begin her overnight journey north.

Day 8: Sapokren

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning take an exciting opportunity for keen birdwatchers. While it is still dark, your tenders will ferry those of us who are feeling fit and adventurous to the village of Sapokren, where a local guide will take us on a challenging trek into the forest in the hope of seeing Wilson’s bird of paradise. The male is red and black with a yellow mantle on his neck, light green mouth, rich blue feet, and two violet tail feathers. The featherless crown is turquoise, ornamented with double black crosses. If you are lucky, you may be able to observe the male dancing from a distance of just five meters. Before the dance, he will clear the ground from any leaves or other obstacles that may disrupt his performance. On your way back to the boat, accompanied by the sounds of the jungle coming to life, you are sure to spot a number of bird species along the way. Spend the remainder of the day resting from the morning’s activities and enjoying the waters and reefs of Raja Ampat.

Day 9: Pulau Arborek

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Follow in the footsteps of the ‘father of biogeography,’ Alfred Russel Wallace by rising early and walking 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 might catch sight of this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy. After returning to the ship, turn your attention from the sky to the sea as the ship 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. End the 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.

Day 10: Sorong | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark at Sorong in the morning. After a final, hearty breakfast, say goodbye to your new friends and the crew. Your tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel.

Ship/Hotel

Katharina

Katharina ship
Katharina
Bar, Katharina

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$6,850
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Cabin Deck
Cabin Deck. Spacious, air-conditioned twin-share cabins with twin bunks or double beds. Private bathroom with toilet, washbasin, and hot shower.

Notes

Rates Include:
  • Accommodation in air-conditioned cabins with private shower and toilet
  • Full board, tea and coffee, soft drinks, mineral water
  • Excursions
  • Use of towels
  • Use of snorkeling gear
  • Experienced tour leader
  • Transfer to and from the ship in all harbors with the exception of Serangan Harbor, Bali
Rates Exclude:
  • Domestic and international Airfares
  • Personal insurance
  • Social alcoholic beverages
  • Crew gratuities

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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
Lindsay Gompf

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