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Learn about the history and culture of Sulawesi

From the Spice Islands to Sulawesi - Sailing the Undiscovered Frontier

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Katharina
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Sail from the spice entrepot of Ternate to the shipbuilding port of Bitung in North Sulawesi as you travel around the islands that fringe the Molucca Sea. This extended 14-day cruise program aboard Katharina, has many highlights such as rare and exotic wildlife sightings, remote island cultures, Bajau sea gypsies, volcanic peaks, and ample opportunities for snorkeling on fantastic coral reefs and in lakes filled with freshwater jellyfish. This voyage stops at some of the most remote and least visited parts of the Indonesian archipelago and is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ternate | Embark
Day 2 : Halmahera | Balcan
Day 3 : Bacan Island
Day 4 : Obi Laut
Day 5 : Sulu Archipelago
Day 6 : Talibau Island
Day 7 : Bokan Islands
Day 8 : Banggai
Day 9 : Togean Islands National Park
Day 10 : Kabalutan Village
Day 11 : Malenge
Day 12 : Sulawesi
Day 13 : North Sulawesi
Day 14 : Bitung Harbor | Disembark | Manado

Highlights

  • Snorkel around the coast of the charming Mangoli Island
  • Learn to cook traditional Indonesian dishes from your on-board chef
  • Explore villages and meet the locals on the remote Talibau Island
  • Tour the clove and nutmeg plantations on Obi Laut

Ship

Katharina

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Indonesia
  • Bacan Island
  • Banggai Islands
  • Bitung
  • Maluku
  • Manado
  • Sulawesi
  • Ternate Island

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Cruising Adventures! Dutch Fort Ternate Cruising Adventures! Sailing aboard the Katharina Fresh fruit displayed in the market Learn about the history and culture of Sulawesi

Day 1 Ternate | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Starting your adventure today with a tour of Ternate's historical highlights before boarding your ship, meeting the crew and settling into your new home for the next two weeks. Over lunch, the ship sets sail for for the short journey to Halmahera Island's Dojinga Village, a pivotal place in scientific history, where the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace first came up with the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Later in the afternoon, enter the water for the first time and snorkel and swim on your first coral reef before heading south as the sun sets behind the perfectly conical volcanic islands peaks of the northern Moluccas.

Day 2 Halmahera | Balcan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Birds of paradise, snorkeling and a very special martitime ritual are on today's schedule, pay a visit to both the tropical forest and the coral reefs and cross the Equator. Waking in the early morning, go ashore on Halmahera for a car journey to an eco-resort famed for its natural forest and bird life. Here you will be witness to the early morning mating rituals of the Wallace standardwing Bird of Paradise, and enjoy the full dawn chorus of the forest’s many different species of birds. Head back across the island to the ship in time for lunch as the ship sets sail to the south. Once you reach the Equator you will be in for a treat as the crew welcomes you to the middle of the planet with some fun and games and a unique ocean swim. Later in the afternoon you can snorkel once more before heading to the island of Bacan.

Day 3 Bacan Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today search for some very special species of butterfly, some unique birds and some quirky mammals. Explore the deep forest and rivers of Bacan Island, where Wallace first saw what he called ‘the most beautiful butterfly in the world, the Golden birdwing. During your trek the other species that you might see include cuscus, the black-crested macaque and some hornbills. After lunch, spend the afternoon snorkeling and swimming on the nearby reef and beaches.

Day 4 Obi Laut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, culture and spice will fill your day as you find yourself off the coast of the white sand island of Obi Laut, a place filled with clove and nutmeg plantations. Obi Laut's steep hillsides are covered in clove and nutmeg forests, reaching back to the rich and heady days of the spice trade, which saw many a European power vying for control of the East Indies. While the spice trade might not be what it once was, the growers can still make a good living on this remote island in the Banda Sea. Go ashore and walk through the villages and plantations and see the fruits and spices growing on the trees and drying in the sun ready for market, in the same way it has for centuries.  

Day 5 Sulu Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend today snorkeling, and learning about culture and history as you find yourself in the middle of the Banda Sea in the remote and breathtaking Sulu Archipelago.  This morning, explore the beaches and reefs of Mangoli Island, where the reefs are teeming with fish and other marine life. True to the desert island locale, you will also kayak, paddle, swim, explore and relax on the white-sand beaches. Later in the day, dive into some history and culture as you visit the local village market and the ruins of a 17th century Dutch fort, which once protected the spice trade along these routes.

Day 6 Talibau Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The cultural experiences ratchet up a notch today with a war dance performed in your honor, while the night time will be filled with Indonesian music. Go ashore on Talibau Island, where you will be treated to a traditional dance known as the ‘cakalale’, by local warriors. You will also have a chance to explore the local village and meet the people of this remote isle. This afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to snorkeling on a reef teeming with fish before moving to another deserted island, where you can swim, kayak and relax. This evening the crew will prepare a beach bbq for you, and entertain you with traditional Indonesian folk songs and sea shanties as you party by firelight late into the night.

Day 7 Bokan Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Bokan Islands are an area of unsurpassed beauty and today will be a day of marine exploration and relaxation as you snorkel, swim, paddle and kayak around the glorious reefs, beaches and islands with many caves and snorkeling spots. You will also have the rare privilege to swim in a small marine lake filled with stingless jellyfish, the exotically named Danau Piasu Botangan, one of only 20 lakes of its kind in the world.

Day 8 Banggai

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A trio of unique experiences await today involving culture, conservation and wildlife. Visit the bustling Indonesian island port town of Banggai, a place filled with activity and commerce. Here on Banggai Island, visit the local market, explore the neighborhoods, the sultan’s palace and the maleo bird egg ‘museum’, all from the back of brightly-colored motor rickshaws, which will be on the dock awaiting your arrival. Visit LINI, an NGO doing great work with coral restoration on the surrounding reefs, in addition to working with local fishermen in finding sustainable solutions for supplying fish for overseas markets and the live aquarium fishing trade. The last of the day’s highlights will be a snorkel on a local reef where you will see the most elegant, but very threatened, Banggai Cardinal Fish – a darling of saltwater aquarium lovers worldwide.

Day 9 Togean Islands National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will have the chance to possibly see one of the strangest and most unique flightless birds found in the world - the Maleo. After a morning snorkel, sail north to visit the endemic Maleo in their beachside environment, the symbol of the province within which it lives. Visit a conservation project on the mainland where scores of Maleo live and breed. Entering in twos, you can watch them at their sandy nesting sites from a camouflaged location as they go about their business. Later this afternoon, set sail for the Togean Islands National Park, for some island hopping and spectacular snorkeling, wildlife and culture.

Day 10 Kabalutan Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Bajau sea gypsies of Southeast have a very uqique way of life living in harmony with the water, and today you will get to see it up close. Visit the village of Kabalutan, where a population of about 2500 Bajau call home. You will be welcomed into their world to meet and talk with them about their lives. In the afternoon, snorkel and swim on some pristine coral reefs before moving on further into the park.

Day 11 Malenge

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
-Some great wildlife experiences await today both in the water and the air, with birds, fish and invertebrates as the main focuses. Enjoy a snorkel on the lush reefs near the island of Malenge, before taking your snorkels and masks for a rare second swim with stingless jellyfish in nearby Lake Mariona, the second jellyfish lake on your tour. Visit a local village and meet the people, and enjoy a late afternoon walk in the local forest before witnessing the most amazing nature show as flocks of hornbills come flying in to roost in the trees – a once in a lifetime sight.

Day 12 Sulawesi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Waking up in the east of the park,  go snorkeling and visit a local village before setting sail on a long crossing towards the Sulawesi mainland, where you can relax, watch the world go by and take in the beauty of the sea from the decks of the ship. In the afternoon, the chef will offer a cooking class for those interested in learning how to prepare some traditional Indonesian dishes. To finish the day, cocktails will be served on the back deck before a special dinner is served, followed by a party with the crew's band providing the music and entertainment.

Day 13 North Sulawesi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning you are in North Sulawesi and will have the chance for some more cultural exchanges and some impressive snorkeling. After breakfast go ashore to a remote village and meet the local people as they invite you into their village to share in their way of life. You can also go for a walk in the nearby forest on the look out for birds. Snorkel at a local reef before heading north, stopping en-route for another snorkel and a swim towards the end of the day before the crew throws a final beach BBQ, where you can dance and sing into the night under the stars next to a roaring bonfire.

Day 14 Bitung Harbor | Disembark | Manado

  • 1 Breakfast
Wake up just off the coast near the Tasikoki Rescue Centre, go ashore for a short tour of the impressive facilities at this NGO and hear all about their conservation program and also have the chance to see orangutan, tarsiers, hornbills, monkeys, and other endangered wildlife. After a final swim and snorkel on the beach and then a short sail into Bitung Harbor, say farewell to your crew and tour leaders and head to Manado City for either your onward flights, or further land exploration.

Katharina

Per person starting at
$8,560
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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

- 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.

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 
Rates Exclude:
  • Domestic airfares
  • Personal insurance
  • Social alcoholic beverages
  • Crew gratuities
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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