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Tropical Island and Underwater Paradise for Divers

Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands

Raja Ampat & West Papua Island - Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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The tropical archipelago of West Papua is ideal for expedition cruising. Raja Ampat and the nearby islands of the Indonesian archipelago are a melting pot of culture, history and nature. Discover the influence of Melanesia, Islam, and the Portuguese explorers and Dutch traders who ventured to the ‘Spice Islands’ in search of highly–prized spices such as nutmeg. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is also a marine biodiversity hotspot. With 75 per cent of the world’s coral species and over 1,500 species of tropical fish found here, it is a paradise for divers and snorkellers. Enjoy guided walks through rainforest where you may catch a glimpse of Birds-of-Paradise, and in Banda Neira, explore Fort Belgica, a fortress built by the Dutch in the 16th century to ward off marauders.
Tanah Lot rock formation
Highlights
  • Enjoy Snorkel and dive among the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems in Raja Ampat.
  • Experience Swimming amongst whale sharks in Cenderawasih Marine National Park.
  • Amaze with endemic Birds-of-Paradise in Arfak Mountains.
  • Explore Fort Belgica, largest remaining European forts in Indonesia
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Depasar

Upon check-in at Novotel Hotel Denpasar Airport, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin ahead. At our voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners, before spending the night in preparation for your charter flight to Biak.
Accommodation: Novotel Hotel Denpasar Airport

Day 2: Biak | Embark

  • 1 Dinner
Board a morning charter flight to Biak to embark the Sylvia Earle. Explore the powdery white-sand beaches and sparkling waters in the waters of the Schouten Islands. Separated by a narrow mangrove-lined channel, these forest-covered islands boast the highest rate of endemic species in Papua. Birders will hope to strike off their list a rare and endemic species. Kayak offshore pristine cays and snorkel among coral reefs. Discover a cave that was home to some 5,000 Japanese during World War II, and search for remnants of where American and Japanese military forces clashed. While sipping a sunset cocktail, meet your expedition team and crew at a beach barbecue welcome dinner.

Day 3: Mamberamo River

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The longest and widest river in Indonesia, the Mamberamo river is often called the Amazon River of Papua. Flanked by tropical rainforest that is inhabited by a rich diversity of wildlife, we plan to explore the area near the mouth of the Mamberamo River where it meets the Bismarck Sea, searching for wildlife and visiting a local village hike in the forest and learn about local plants and wildlife.

Day 4: Roon Island

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dive and snorkel among the colorful shallow reefs in Numamuran Strait, where the jungle meets the reef, and where we search for branching corals, boulder coral colonies, and cushion stars. Paddlers may glimpse dugongs—relatives of manatees that graze on seagrass. At the southern end of Roon Island, divers and snorkelers might see Hawksbill and green turtles, barracuda and surgeonfish, and where a Japanese Zero fighter aircraft, a relic from World War II rests on a shallow coral slope.

Day 5: Kwatisore

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Cenderawasih Marine Park covers more than 15,000 sq. km / 5,790 sq. mi of marine and coastal habitat, featuring some the finest and most extensive coral reefs found anywhere in the world. The marine park is renowned for its diversity of coral reef fish species, where some 1,040 species including multiple species of butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and anemone fish. In Cenderawasih Marine Park, you have the chance to experience swimming with iconic whale sharks, the world’s largest fish that can reach a size of 12 m / 39 ft. These gentle enormous creatures congregate near local fishermens’ bagan (traditional hand-made floating rafts), where they feed on fish that have escaped the fishermens’ nets. Here you’re able to experience a close encounter with these inspiring creatures.

Day 6: Arfak Mountains & Manokwari

The capital of West Papua Province, Manokwari, and the nearby majestic Arfak Mountains offer outstanding land and sea-based activities. The Arfak Mountains is one of the world’s premier birdwatching destinations and features an incredible variety of endemic plants and birds. After a pre-dawn start, we arrive in the Arfak Mountains and divide into small groups where we quietly sit and watch the displays of some of the region’s most iconic birds including numerous species of Bird-of-Paradise and the Vogelkop Bowerbird.

Manokwari is a small coastal town that offers beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Divers and snorkelers can explore the clear blue waters surrounding the nearby islands of Lemon, Raimuti and historic Mansinam, which features fascinating World War II shipwrecks.

Day 7-10: Raja Ampat

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Located in the ‘Coral Triangle,’ Raja Ampat archipelago has been described as a marine ‘species factory,’ and a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Believed to contain the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet, the waters surrounding Raja Ampat are home to 600 species of hard coral and 1,500 types of fish – more than anywhere else in the world – which makes for exceptional diving and snorkelling experience. We plan to spend four days exploring the coral reefs and shoals, limestone formations and rainforests of this hidden gem. Some of the islands we plan to explore include Wayag, Waigeo, Gam and Misool Marine Reserve, another Mission Blue Hope Spot.  

Established in 2005, The Misool Marine Reserve encompasses a 300,000-acre protected area. Fishing, collecting turtle eggs, reef bombing, cyanide fishing, netting or shark finning are not permitted here. In a scientific survey, conducted between 2007 and 2013, prohibition of the activities listed above have seen a 250 per cent increase in fish biomass. On some key sites, recovery surpassed 600 per cent – an incredible story of how the ocean's ecosystems can heal once they've been fully protected and left alone to recover.

Day 11: Ambon Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ambon is the capital city of Maluku, one of Indonesia’s oldest provinces, and is famous for its abundant natural resources, especially spices. On a guided tour of Ambon, learn of its history during Dutch rule and visit the Australian World War II memorial. In the afternoon, swim, snorkel, dive or kayak at Namalatu Beach.

Day 12: Banda Neira

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The story of the Banda Islands is mostly related to the trading of spices. As nutmeg was an expensive luxury item in Europe, controlling the production of nutmeg and mace was a major motivation for the Dutch conquest of the islands in the 1620s. On Banda Neira, explore the local market famous for its spices, stretching along the road next to the pier, and the nutmeg plantation close to the harbor. Enjoy a guided tour of impressive Fort Belgica, built by the Dutch East India Company to protect their monopoly of the nutmeg trade.

Day 13: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As we cross the Timor Sea, enjoy some final lectures from our team of experts and celebrate the end of a thrilling expedition discovering West Papua and the Spice Islands at a Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

Day 14: Darwin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers as you disembark in Darwin to continue your journey. 

Photo Gallery

Tanah Lot rock formation Rock formations along the coast of Kimberly Nightcliff Jetty, Darwin, Australia Beautiful wild coast of Raja Ampat, Indonesia Sunset at an ocean resort in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia Tropical Island and Underwater Paradise for Divers

Map

Ship/Hotel

Sylvia Earle

Indonesia

Dates & Prices

Per person starting at
$11,995
Greg Mortimer
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Aurora Stateroom Twin
3 Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
Located on Deck 7, the Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony Stateroom
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Balcony Stateroom C
11 Balcony Stateroom C cabins - most economical, fitted with all the necessities and comfortable for up to 2 people. These cabins are scattered throughout Deck 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom B
17 Balcony Stateroom B Cabins - standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups. These cabins are located at the fore and aft of Deck 4 and 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
23 Balcony Stateroom A cabins - premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions on Deck 4 and 6 which provides easy access between Decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
Located on Deck 4 and 6, the Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Junior suite
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Junior Suite
4 Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer-Captain's Suite
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Captain’s Suite
Captain's Suite - the largest of all our rooms, will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you'll need to get in early to secure this suite.

Notes

Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea and other conditions beyond our control. Local regulations of the marine parks and reserves in Papua can change with little or no notice. Under such circumstances, Aurora Expeditions reserves the right to amend the proposed itinerary accordingly.
Inclusions
  • One night’s hotel accommodation at Novotel Hotel Denpasar Airport (breakfast included) 
  • Charter flight from Denpasar to Biak on day 2 
  • Transfer from airport to the vessel on day 2 
  • Transfer from ship to airport on day 14 
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service 
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage 
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner 
  • All shore excursions  
  • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult) 
  • Complimentary dry bag 
  • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage 
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information 
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees  
  • Gratuities for ship crew
Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights, unless specified 
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary 
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes 
  • Passport, visa, and vaccination charges 
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges 
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary 
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary 
  • Optional activity surcharges 
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges

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