Exploring Raja Ampat and Triton Bay, down to West Papua, Indonesia.
Raja Ampat, one of the underwater wonders of the planet, is often described as drop-dead, gorgeous. Looking at a map of Indonesia, Raja Ampat is just off the west coast of West Papua, in the eastern archipelago. Located at the top and west of the Birdshead peninsula (the peninsula resembles the head of a bird) in the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is renowned for its pristine reefs and marine life biodiversity.
It consists of over 1500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool (home to ancient rock paintings), Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo (the capital). Huge tracts of jungle blanket the islands sheltering orchids, birds of paradise, marsupials, hornbills and cockatoos. Sheer cliffs drop from high peaks into the water to the bottom of the sea making incredible wall dives full of coral and fish. Raja Ampat offers 75% of the worlds reef systems with the majority unexplored. Besides wall diving you will find reefs, caves, mangroves, lagoons and World War II wrecks. A shallow reef system makes for great snorkeling and divers have loads of options. The huge abundance of marine life is due in large part to the area’s inhospitality to human habitation.
Besides diving or snorkeling, we will explore by tender the deserted beaches, hidden coves, islands and make excursions into the mushroom shaped karst islands scattered along the way. Alfred Russel Wallace explored here in the 19th century, as he collected specimens forming his theory of Natural Selection.
Raja Ampat means Four Kings, which dates from the 15th century when the Sultan of Tidore appointed four local kings for the four main islands. Raja Ampat was not really explored until 2001 when Conservation International did a survey.
Conservation International concludes that “due to its location in the Coral Triangle coupled with amazingly diverse habitats the area is potentially the world’s richest in terms of biodiversity.” Home to 1070 fish species, 101 were previously unknown in Raja Ampat, and four are new to Indonesia. They also recorded 450 species of hard coral (more than half of the world’s total species), seven new species of soft coral, more than 950 species of reef fish, and the highest number of fish species (238) visually recorded during a single dive in the Indo-Pacific. Above and below the water Raja Ampat has no equal thanks to the remoteness of the area.
This special cruise is unique, as takes the traveler from the gorgeous islands of Raja Ampat down to the Triton Bay, and beyond to Timika, gateway to the Asmat, a stone-age people, known for their intact culture and acclaimed wood carvings. Following this cruise, a second cruise focuses on the Asmat, their art and culture.
We are chartering the luxury Mutiara Yacht, a 47-meter double mast yacht that closely resembles an 18th century North Atlantic schooner. Each cabin is air- conditioned and has a private bathroom. With an overall length of more than 145 feet the vessel has comfortable staterooms. On the main deck there is an air- conditioned saloon, library, lounge area and an intimate dining room that seats up to 14 guests at a finely carved wooden table. The yacht has seven cabins (each of the four double cabins has a large bed and a side bed that can accommodate one single person), there are two twin cabins with two beds, and one executive cabin on the top deck with a king bed.
Due to the recommended health protocols from the World Health Organization at this time (summer 2020), we are following guidelines to have a isolation cabinavailable in case of someone coming down with symptoms of Covid-19. Your new terms and conditions will include corona specific terms regarding cancellation and medical care.
We do recommend that travelers explore insurance options such as "cancel for any reason" and prior to embarking on our 2022 trip, travelers should take all reasonable precautionary measures to prevent spreading the virus including receiving any FDA approved vaccinations or medications that may be available for that purpose at the time. We do feel confident we will have an anti-viral drug for the corona virus and/or a FDA approved vaccine for 2022.
Approximate land/cruise price $10,875 per person, sharing a room and/or cabin. Excludes regional and international airfares. This cruise is deeply discounted for repeat clients. Please add your name to the waitlist.