This cruise, rich and varied, brings you to explore the most stunning area of Indonesia. Discover the unique archipelago of Raja Ampat, located off the Papua coast. This area of 40000km2 is a five stars biodiversity heaven, offering plenty of enchanting islands and of course, an exceptional marine life. The exploration of this breathtaking region aboard one of our boats promises memorable land excursions and fabulous diving experiences.
Day 1 & 2
Arrival early in the morning in Sorong in West Papua where we embark on board the Cahaya Mandiri, our Indonesian schooner. Navigation to the island of Kri.
We will reach the outskirts of the island of Kri at daybreak. A first snorkeling session in the heart of extravagantly colored reefs will open this extraordinary journey. We will then set sail for Mansuar Island, then we will stroll through the village before enjoying a new snorkeling session at the end of the afternoon. Afternoon sailing to Batanta Island.
We will start in the early morning a 3 hour hike in the primary forest. We will first cross a mangrove whose peaks reach a rare height for a mangrove forest, a fragile ecosystem if any, and yet essential. We will then take a narrow path that runs along a crystal clear river to the splendid waterfalls that shelter the island of Mansuar. We will have time to enjoy this end of the world atmosphere before returning to the boat at the end of the morning. We can rest before snorkeling in the surrounding seabed, then visit a peaceful Papuan village at the end of the afternoon. The evening will be shared with the villagers on the beach where we will reserve a surprise for you organized by the few “artists” of the village. The evening generally attracts young and old and will be a great opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the villages in the region.
Short navigation in the early morning to the small island of Wai. During a snorkeling session we will discover the coral reefs surrounding it. They shelter a diverse and overflowing underwater life, a real kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. Turtles and reef sharks should not be missing. We will try a little later to witness the ballet of manta rays, grandiose species which can reach here up to 7 meters wide. An extraordinary show that inspires respect, grace and fullness. Then we will discover the island of Arborek and its colorful atmosphere at the end of the world. In the evening, short navigation to Gam Island.
We will live in the morning an exceptional moment, that budding botanists, nature lovers, animal photography enthusiasts or simply curious will appreciate at its true value. We will indeed try to surprise the amazing bird of paradise in full courtship. This strange parade is known worldwide, but very rarely observed. This is a very special moment that our local guide will allow us to capture. Known throughout the region as “the man who talks to birds”, he will simulate the song of the paradise to attract him … to our amazement. We will also be on the lookout for kuskus (which comic book lovers can compare to the famous Marsupilami), parrots, hornbills and other emblematic animal species, if not endemic to this part of the globe. We can then enjoy the rich underwater life observable under the pontoon of the village (sweetlips, giant clams or even clownfish have taken up residence in particular). We will then set sail for the Wayag Archipelago.
Day 6 & 7
We will have crossed the equator for the first time on this journey to reach the Wayag Archipelago, which is located in the far northwest of the Raja Ampat. The combined effects of wind, rain and tides have formed a series of islets, karst pinnacles and dizzying cliffs dotted with coves with turquoise waters. An almost unreal landscape that will undoubtedly mark our trip. We will appreciate this unique setting all the better as we will be able to observe it from a point of view overlooking it. Possibility to relax on small dream beaches and enjoy snorkeling sites of rare richness during the rest of the day. A magical place that few have the chance to discover in a lifetime!
We will go from one beach to another, and take the opportunity to bathe in ever more translucent waters. We will of course put on our snorkeling equipment regularly in order to observe, among other things, sea turtles or manta rays of impressive sizes! We will sail towards the island of Penemu at the end of the day, navigation during which we will cross the equator again.
We will find ourselves in the early morning off the small archipelago of Penemu. After having our breakfast we will undertake a snorkeling on a site where juvenile black tip sharks sometimes swim. If the timing allows, you can visit Penemu, a sort of “miniature Wayag” with many sugar loaves scattered on both sides of breathtakingly beautiful coves and water features. We will then head towards the extreme south of the Raja Ampat archipelago, and more precisely towards the island of Misool.
We will leave this morning in the annex to sink into a new karst labyrinth which will lead us to a most impressive point of view. We can then bathe in crystal clear waters before returning to the boat. We will later visit a village where there are mixed ethnicities from the southern Moluccas, Bajo and Bugi peoples. The Bugis people are originally from Sulawesi, they are famous for being excellent master carpenters, navigators, fisherman (and sometimes also very good pirates!). The bajo are today mainly sedentary, but take their nickname of “gypsies of the seas” from their ancestral nomadic habits. Intriguing encounters, captivating scenes of life in the midst of a small everyday society necessarily opposed to ours. Once the day is out we will participate in a night snorkeling session. A new experience and sensations for many of us. A strange world is revealed, inhabited in particular by bioluminescent phytoplankton, which will give us the impression of swimming among the stars. The goal of this nocturnal session will remain the meeting with an endemic and at the very least eccentric being: the red-shouldered shark. It is a completely harmless little shark, found only in Papua. It has the distinction of being a very bad swimmer and therefore move … by crawling! Notice to the curious!
This morning a short navigation will allow us to reach the small island of Walig, located south of Misool. We will snorkel drop offs as colorful as they are vertiginous, then we will stroll through the typical landscapes of Raja Ampat before setting foot on a paradise beach. An excellent barbecue will be prepared by the crew. Relax, swim … before returning to the boat.
The Wagmab archipelago and its labyrinth of islets will end our discovery of this incredible region at the end of the world. Superlatives are lacking to describe this paradise, where here again karst peaks rise from waters as translucent as they are rich in animal and plant species. We will go through it in the morning, wandering from one “water hole” to another, discovering at the same time exceptional snorkeling sites unique to the Raja Ampat. We will board the Cahaya Mandiri for lunch, and then sail towards the port of Sorong, which was our starting point. The last few hours were conducive to relaxation, as well as a few last photos of one of these wonderful sunsets that we will have had the chance to observe throughout the stay.
We will disembark in the morning from Cahaya Mandiri before being transferred to Sorong Airport.
The route and dives are always organized according to the weather conditions, the currents and tides.