Seabirds, Cetacean and Spices :
From the Komodo dragons of Rinca and the marine life of the Wakatobi National Park, to the seabird colonies of the Banda Sea and the nutmeg forests of the Banda Islands, this exceptional 12-days cruise with Gert de Jong will introduce you to abundant wildlife above and below the water, masses of seabirds, remote island cultures and the illustrious history of the spice trade as we voyage through the the islands and seas of the Coral Triangle, home to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet. The Banda Sea is also a major migration route for many whale species, which we hope to encounter en route.
Safari covers Flores, Komodo National Park, Wakatobi and Banda Islands.
When you arrive in Labuan Bajo, we will meet you and transfer you to the harbour, where you will be welcomed aboard the Ombak Putih.
You will have lunch as we cruise to the island of Rinca in the heart of the Komodo National Park. From the ranger station of Loh Buaya, we will set off on a ranger-led nature trek in search of Komodo dragons.
After our trek, we will find a quiet spot for a swim and a snorkel, before heading northeast to Bonerate.
We will wake up at Bonerate in the middle of the Flores Sea. Here, we will visit the main village with its sandy streets and houses built on stilts in typical Makasserese style.
Afterwards we can swim, snorkel and enjoy the beautiful beaches and reefs at the northwest side of the island.
Later we’ll continue cruising in a northeasterly direction for Kakabia.
Today we will drop anchor off the little island of Kakabia for a day of bird counting, exploring, swimming and snorkelling looking out for sea turtles and dugongs.
We will take the tenders and go ashore, and we can expect to see frigate birds and red-footed boobies.
Day four heralds our arrival in the Tukang Besi archipelago, also known as Wakatobi, which is world famous for its pristine coral reefs.
While we are in the Wakatobi National Reserve, we should see pods of dolphins – both spinner dolphins and spotted dolphins inhabit these waters, and we may see pilot whales, sperm whales or even the rare beaked whales.
In the evening we will depart for Moromaho Island.
We will wake up to the view of Moromaho. We will swim, snorkel, bird watch and bird count.
In the afternoon, we will embark on our longest leg of the cruise, our journey to Gunung Api in the middle of the Banda Sea.
Day 6 & 7
Gunung Api sits alone in the middle of the Banda Sea. There is no beach or suitable landing spot, so we will only be able to circumnavigate the island in the tenders.
The two days that we spend here will be very relaxing, a time for swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the tropical sun.
Towards the end of the second day we will depart towards to the Lucipari archipelago.
The Lucipari Archipelago consists of a group of four wooded islands, which are uninhabited, but occasionally visited by fishermen from Buru and Ambon.
We will spend some time exploring before going back to the boat.
We will anchor in a sheltered bay off Gunung Api and then go by tender to visit Banda Neira, the major village in the Bandas, and stroll through the old town visiting old fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past.
Day 10 & 11
These days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands in the group, perhaps the very small island of Run.
Being in the middle of the Coral Triangle we will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands.
When it is time to depart for Ambon, we will navigate through the ‘Sonnegat’ (sun’s gap) between Bandaneira and Gunung Api.
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village. The dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us into the forest.
We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and if time permits we’ll travel over to Pef Island to snorkel and motor around the convoluted coast.
In the afternoon we’ll head towards Sorong and should have time for a snorkel before dinner.
After an early morning arrival in the Bay of Ambon, we will have a short sightseeing tour of the city and we will visit Fort Victoria, another fort dating back to colonial days.
We will then say farewell to the captain and crew of the Ombak Putih before being transferred to the airport for our onward journey.
The route and dives are always organized according to the weather conditions, the currents and tides.