This cruise, rich and varied, brings you to explore the most stunning area of Indonesia : the unique Raja Ampat Archipelago, located off the Papua Coast. This area of 40000km2 is a five-star biodiversity paradise offering plenty of enchanting islands and, of course, one of the most exceptional marine life on earth. The exploration of this breathtaking region aboard one of our boats promises memorable land excursions and a once in a lifetime diving experience.
Day 1 & 2
SORONG – KRI – MANSUAR
As you will land in Sorong airport (West Papua) on the first morning, a crew member will pick you up and drive you to the boat. Once on board, we start a 6-hour navigation to the island of Kri.
The second day starts with a snorkeling session in the heart of extravagantly colored reefs located around Kri. We will then set sail to Mansuar Island and visit its little village before to enjoy a new enchanting snorkeling session. The rest of the afternoon will be spent on board, navigating to Batanta Island.
We will start the day with an early morning 3-hour hike in the primary forest of the island. We will first cross a mangrove whose trees reach a rare height for a mangrove forest, and then take a narrow path that runs along a crystal clear river to reach a splendid waterfall. We will have time to enjoy the remote atmosphere of the place before returning to the boat for a good lunch and a little rest. In the afternoon, we will go snorkeling in the surrounding seabed and visit a peaceful Papuan village. The evening will be spent on the beach with the villagers, enjoying a little surprise prepared be the “artists” of the village. This kind of event generally attracts young and old and is a great opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the villages in the region.
WAI & ARBOREK
We will start the day with a short navigation to the small island of Wai. Once arrived, we will go snorkeling to discover a coral reef which shelters a diverse and overflowing underwater life. Turtles and reef sharks are usually spotted in this area, as well as some graceful manta rays which can have a width up to 7 meters. We will then discover the island of Arborek and its colorful atmosphere before to navigate to Gam Island in the evening.
BIRDS OF PARADISE
In the morning, we will live an exceptional experience that nature lovers and photographers will greatly appreciate : we will try to observe the amazing bird of paradise doing its courtship ritual. This strange spectacle 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 bird whisperer” he will simulate the song of the bird of paradise to attract it… 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 will then enjoy the rich underwater life from a pontoon of the village where sweetlips, giant clams or even clownfish have taken up residence, before to set sail for the Wayag Archipelago in the evening.
Day 6 & 7
We will cross the equator for the first time on this journey to reach the Wayag Archipelago, which is located in the far northwest of Raja Ampat. The combined effects of wind, rain and tides have formed a series of islets, karst pinnacles, dizzying cliffs and coves with turquoise water. An almost unreal landscape that will undoubtedly leave a mark in your mind. We will appreciate this unique setting even better as we will be able to observe it from a point of view overlooking it. During the rest of the day, we will have the possibility to relax on small dream beaches and to enjoy snorkeling sites of rare richness. A magical place that only a few have the chance to discover in a lifetime!
On the 7th day, we will go from one beach to another, taking 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! At the end of the day, we will sail towards the island of Penemu, crossing the equator a second time.
We will be off the small archipelago of Penemu early in the morning. After a delightful breakfast on board, we will go snorkeling in a spot where we might encounter juvenile black tip sharks. If the timing allows, we will then visit Penemu, a sort of “miniature Wayag” with many sugar loaves scattered on both sides of breathtakingly beautiful coves. We will then head towards the island of Misool in the extreme south of the Raja Ampat.
We will take the dinghy to explore a new karst labyrinth which will lead us to an impressive viewpoint. We will then bathe in crystal-clear waters before returning to the boat. Later we will visit a village composed of different ethnicities. Bajo and Bugi peoples are here mixed with people from the southern Moluccas. The Bugis people are originally from Sulawesi and are famous for being excellent master carpenters, navigators, fishermen (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. Be prepared for intriguing encounters and captivating scenes of life in the midst of a small society necessarily opposed to ours.
After the sunset, we will go for a snorkeling session in the dark. A new experience! A strange world is revealed, inhabited in particular by bioluminescent phytoplankton which will give you the impression of swimming among the stars. The goal of this nocturnal session will remain the meeting with an eccentric endemic being: the epaulette 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!
This morning, a short navigation will allow us to reach the small island of Walig where will go snorkeling along drop-offs just as colorful as vertiginous. After that, we will stroll through the typical landscapes of Raja Ampat and debark on a paradisiacal beach where the crew will prepare an excellent barbecue.
Day 11 & 12
WAGMAB ISLAND – SORONG
The Wagmab Archipelago and its labyrinth of islets will end our discovery of this incredible remote region. There are not enough superlatives to describe this paradise where karst peaks rise from waters as translucent as they are rich in fauna and flora. We will go through it in the morning, wandering from one “water hole” to another, discovering exceptional snorkeling spots that can only be found in Raja Ampat. We will then get back on board for lunch, and prepare for our last night of navigation towards the port of Sorong, which was our starting point.
We will debark from Cahaya Mandiri the morning after and you will be transferred to Sorong Airport.
The route and dives are always organized according to the weather conditions, the currents and tides.