TCS we rock!!!!
Wallace Trails & Sails: Naturalist Expedition II with Dr Tony Whitten
Sorong – Raja Ampat - Seram - Ambon
Expert Cruise Led by: Dr. Tony Whitten
Cruise Summary

SeaTrek is excited to introduce a brand new partnership with Dr. Tony Whitten, Director of Fauna & Flora International for the Asia-Pacific region. This expedition is designed to complement our award-winning 2013 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime ‘Wallace Trails and Sails’ tour and give guests an opportunity to visit some of the most exceptional and remote islands and settlements Indonesia has to offer, while being led by one of it’s most knowledgeable experts. Our inclusive 12-day tour works its way through the very centre of the eastern Indonesian Archipelago. We will journey from the astonishing region of Raja Ampat, which has arguably the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas, where we will trek on land to view the red bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. We will stop at the scarcely populated and seldom visited island of Seram where we will spend time trekking and bird-watching in the national park. The combination of seeing this tremendous world from our graceful pinisi, the Ombak Putih, the unique tour stops, the unbeatable excursions on land, snorkelling and swimming the pristine waters, and the expert guidance of the inimitable and inspiring Dr. Tony Whitten makes this a not-to-be-missed tour of a lifetime. This is an exceptional opportunity to delve deeply into Eastern Indonesia.

Note: Guests will meet the Ombak Putih in Sorong in West Papua. As we would like to start on time we recommend that you fly to Makassar (Sulawesi) one day before and take an early morning flight from Makassar to Sorong. Airfares to Sorong and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
Your flight arrives in the Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat.  You will be met at the airport and transferred to the harbour where the Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, you will have time to meet your cruise director who will brief you about the trip.  Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, and stop for a refreshing swim along the way. Later, we will enjoy dining alfresco on the main deck while getting to know the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.

Day 2
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village.  It will be an early morning start as the dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us on a 20-minute walk into the forest. As dawn breaks in the forest canopy, we should get good views of the bright ‘Cendrawasih Merah’ or Red Bird of Paradise. Back in the village there will be time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. 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, while learning the myth about the prehistoric hand print still visible high on a limestone cliff.  In the afternoon we’ll head east and should have time for a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner.

Day 3
This morning we wake up on the north coast of the jungle-clad island of Batanta.  Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior We will anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our hike. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 4
Today the Katharina will make its way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel with some of the larger marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient- rich currents. We will end our day in front Arborek Village, where we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and get a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living on this tiny isolated island.  Arborek is also home to a local manta conservation project where volunteers will happily show us around and explain their efforts and programmes in more detail.

Day 5
In the morning, the Katharina will be moored in front of the island of Penemu. The heart of the island is home to the famous ‘Hidden Bay’. We will take a short hike here to experience one of the most famous views that Raja Ampat has to offer. The rest of the day we will spend exploring, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling in the surrounding areas.  Early evening we will set course for the Misool Archipelago.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over this picturesque chain of islands, we will have a chance to visit a cavernous grotto adorned with spectacular stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to reach the other islands that make up the Misool archipelago. The landscape is typical of ‘karst dissolution’, of a great number of tiny islets whose bases over time have been eroded by the relentless motion of the tides. We will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Katharina will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol bay.

Day 7
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites.  The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Overnight we cruise towards the island of Seram.

Day 8 & 9
The pristine island of Seram (Ceram) is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as the holder of the local beliefs and culture of the Lease Islands. Seram is rarely visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the village of Sawai, an oasis in itself, but also a perfect land base for us to make the most of Seram’s stunning northern coast and Manusela National Park. We will spend two days trekking, exploring and bird-watching in the area before continuing on our westerly course.   

Day 10
Today we will wake up in front of Boano Island, which is famous for its towering cliffs, karst formations and white-sand beaches. We’ll use the tenders to explore this beautiful coastline. During lunch we will move to a nearby string of uninhabited islands for some spectacular snorkelling.

Day 11
This morning will be spent on the island of Manipa, said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese never set foot on it despite occupying the surrounding islands. The village that we will explore is simple but bright with tropical blooms, while the surrounding gardens, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and the sago palm. We will visit a distillery for the locality’s famous ‘kayu putih’ oil – a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without, for all the aches and pains, colds and stomach upsets that afflict us. It is distilled from vats full of the crushed leaves of melaleuca trees. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beachcombing.

Day 12 
In the morning, we will find ourselves at anchor in the harbour of Ambon. After a final, hearty breakfast, we will say goodbye to the Katharina and her crew. Our tenders will then take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. If you wish to spend some extra time in Ambon we are happy to arrange a city tour.

About The Expert: Dr. Tony Whitten

Dr. Tony Whitten was trained as a wildlife biologist and since late 2010 he has been the Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest international conservation organization. The subject of his PhD at Cambridge University was on the endangered gibbon on a remote and primitive island west of Sumatra in the mid 1970s. After this Tony worked at the University of North Sumatra where he initiated production of a major and innovative series of books on the ecology of the several regions of Indonesia, writing three of them himself, each taking about three years. During a two-year spell in the UK, he was employed by the British government’s conservation agency to write its Recovery Plan for Protected Species – covering sea anemones to wild cats.  He joined the World Bank in 1995 and supported a broad range of activities and projects until he left in 2010: he advised on habitat and species protection issues as part of infrastructure projects, started various region-wide and global activities (e.g. on the forgotten biodiversity of caves and karst), ran a programme which produced 111 volumes of local language field guides to all manner of plants and animals, and was responsible for a suite of conservation projects in Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and elsewhere in the region.  He has an in-depth and broad knowledge of biodiversity and has published on a wide variety of topics.

Cruise Summary

SeaTrek is excited to introduce a brand new partnership with Dr. Tony Whitten, Director of Fauna & Flora International for the Asia-Pacific region. This expedition is designed to complement our award-winning 2013 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime ‘Wallace Trails and Sails’ tour and give guests an opportunity to visit some of the most exceptional and remote islands and settlements Indonesia has to offer, while being led by one of it’s most knowledgeable experts. Our inclusive 12-day tour works its way through the very centre of the eastern Indonesian Archipelago. We will journey from the astonishing region of Raja Ampat, which has arguably the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas, where we will trek on land to view the red bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. We will stop at the scarcely populated and seldom visited island of Seram where we will spend time trekking and bird-watching in the national park. The combination of seeing this tremendous world from our graceful pinisi, the Ombak Putih, the unique tour stops, the unbeatable excursions on land, snorkelling and swimming the pristine waters, and the expert guidance of the inimitable and inspiring Dr. Tony Whitten makes this a not-to-be-missed tour of a lifetime. This is an exceptional opportunity to delve deeply into Eastern Indonesia.

Note: Guests will meet the Ombak Putih in Sorong in West Papua. As we would like to start on time we recommend that you fly to Makassar (Sulawesi) one day before and take an early morning flight from Makassar to Sorong. Airfares to Sorong and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and flight reservations.

View Day-to-Day Itinerary >>
Cruise Summary

SeaTrek is excited to introduce a brand new partnership with Dr. Tony Whitten, Director of Fauna & Flora International for the Asia-Pacific region. This expedition is designed to complement our award-winning 2013 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime ‘Wallace Trails and Sails’ tour and give guests an opportunity to visit some of the most exceptional and remote islands and settlements Indonesia has to offer, while being led by one of it’s most knowledgeable experts. Our inclusive 12-day tour works its way through the very centre of the eastern Indonesian Archipelago. We will journey from the astonishing region of Raja Ampat, which has arguably the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas, where we will trek on land to view the red bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. We will stop at the scarcely populated and seldom visited island of Seram where we will spend time trekking and bird-watching in the national park. The combination of seeing this tremendous world from our graceful pinisi, the Ombak Putih, the unique tour stops, the unbeatable excursions on land, snorkelling and swimming the pristine waters, and the expert guidance of the inimitable and inspiring Dr. Tony Whitten makes this a not-to-be-missed tour of a lifetime. This is an exceptional opportunity to delve deeply into Eastern Indonesia.

Note: Guests will meet the Ombak Putih in Sorong in West Papua. As we would like to start on time we recommend that you fly to Makassar (Sulawesi) one day before and take an early morning flight from Makassar to Sorong. Airfares to Sorong and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
Your flight arrives in the Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat.  You will be met at the airport and transferred to the harbour where the Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, you will have time to meet your cruise director who will brief you about the trip.  Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, and stop for a refreshing swim along the way. Later, we will enjoy dining alfresco on the main deck while getting to know the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.

Day 2
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village.  It will be an early morning start as the dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us on a 20-minute walk into the forest. As dawn breaks in the forest canopy, we should get good views of the bright ‘Cendrawasih Merah’ or Red Bird of Paradise. Back in the village there will be time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. 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, while learning the myth about the prehistoric hand print still visible high on a limestone cliff.  In the afternoon we’ll head east and should have time for a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner.

Day 3
This morning we wake up on the north coast of the jungle-clad island of Batanta.  Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior We will anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our hike. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 4
Today the Katharina will make its way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel with some of the larger marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient- rich currents. We will end our day in front Arborek Village, where we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and get a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living on this tiny isolated island.  Arborek is also home to a local manta conservation project where volunteers will happily show us around and explain their efforts and programmes in more detail.

Day 5
In the morning, the Katharina will be moored in front of the island of Penemu. The heart of the island is home to the famous ‘Hidden Bay’. We will take a short hike here to experience one of the most famous views that Raja Ampat has to offer. The rest of the day we will spend exploring, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling in the surrounding areas.  Early evening we will set course for the Misool Archipelago.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over this picturesque chain of islands, we will have a chance to visit a cavernous grotto adorned with spectacular stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to reach the other islands that make up the Misool archipelago. The landscape is typical of ‘karst dissolution’, of a great number of tiny islets whose bases over time have been eroded by the relentless motion of the tides. We will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Katharina will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol bay.

Day 7
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites.  The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Overnight we cruise towards the island of Seram.

Day 8 & 9
The pristine island of Seram (Ceram) is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as the holder of the local beliefs and culture of the Lease Islands. Seram is rarely visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the village of Sawai, an oasis in itself, but also a perfect land base for us to make the most of Seram’s stunning northern coast and Manusela National Park. We will spend two days trekking, exploring and bird-watching in the area before continuing on our westerly course.   

Day 10
Today we will wake up in front of Boano Island, which is famous for its towering cliffs, karst formations and white-sand beaches. We’ll use the tenders to explore this beautiful coastline. During lunch we will move to a nearby string of uninhabited islands for some spectacular snorkelling.

Day 11
This morning will be spent on the island of Manipa, said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese never set foot on it despite occupying the surrounding islands. The village that we will explore is simple but bright with tropical blooms, while the surrounding gardens, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and the sago palm. We will visit a distillery for the locality’s famous ‘kayu putih’ oil – a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without, for all the aches and pains, colds and stomach upsets that afflict us. It is distilled from vats full of the crushed leaves of melaleuca trees. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beachcombing.

Day 12 
In the morning, we will find ourselves at anchor in the harbour of Ambon. After a final, hearty breakfast, we will say goodbye to the Katharina and her crew. Our tenders will then take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. If you wish to spend some extra time in Ambon we are happy to arrange a city tour.

About The Expert: Dr. Tony Whitten

Dr. Tony Whitten was trained as a wildlife biologist and since late 2010 he has been the Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest international conservation organization. The subject of his PhD at Cambridge University was on the endangered gibbon on a remote and primitive island west of Sumatra in the mid 1970s. After this Tony worked at the University of North Sumatra where he initiated production of a major and innovative series of books on the ecology of the several regions of Indonesia, writing three of them himself, each taking about three years. During a two-year spell in the UK, he was employed by the British government’s conservation agency to write its Recovery Plan for Protected Species – covering sea anemones to wild cats.  He joined the World Bank in 1995 and supported a broad range of activities and projects until he left in 2010: he advised on habitat and species protection issues as part of infrastructure projects, started various region-wide and global activities (e.g. on the forgotten biodiversity of caves and karst), ran a programme which produced 111 volumes of local language field guides to all manner of plants and animals, and was responsible for a suite of conservation projects in Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and elsewhere in the region.  He has an in-depth and broad knowledge of biodiversity and has published on a wide variety of topics.

Day 1
Your flight arrives in the Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat.  You will be met at the airport and transferred to the harbour where the Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, you will have time to meet your cruise director who will brief you about the trip.  Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, and stop for a refreshing swim along the way. Later, we will enjoy dining alfresco on the main deck while getting to know the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.

Day 2
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village.  It will be an early morning start as the dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us on a 20-minute walk into the forest. As dawn breaks in the forest canopy, we should get good views of the bright ‘Cendrawasih Merah’ or Red Bird of Paradise. Back in the village there will be time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. 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, while learning the myth about the prehistoric hand print still visible high on a limestone cliff.  In the afternoon we’ll head east and should have time for a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner.

Day 3
This morning we wake up on the north coast of the jungle-clad island of Batanta.  Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior We will anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our hike. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 4
Today the Katharina will make its way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel with some of the larger marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient- rich currents. We will end our day in front Arborek Village, where we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and get a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living on this tiny isolated island.  Arborek is also home to a local manta conservation project where volunteers will happily show us around and explain their efforts and programmes in more detail.

Day 5
In the morning, the Katharina will be moored in front of the island of Penemu. The heart of the island is home to the famous ‘Hidden Bay’. We will take a short hike here to experience one of the most famous views that Raja Ampat has to offer. The rest of the day we will spend exploring, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling in the surrounding areas.  Early evening we will set course for the Misool Archipelago.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over this picturesque chain of islands, we will have a chance to visit a cavernous grotto adorned with spectacular stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to reach the other islands that make up the Misool archipelago. The landscape is typical of ‘karst dissolution’, of a great number of tiny islets whose bases over time have been eroded by the relentless motion of the tides. We will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Katharina will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol bay.

Day 7
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites.  The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Overnight we cruise towards the island of Seram.

Day 8 & 9
The pristine island of Seram (Ceram) is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as the holder of the local beliefs and culture of the Lease Islands. Seram is rarely visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the village of Sawai, an oasis in itself, but also a perfect land base for us to make the most of Seram’s stunning northern coast and Manusela National Park. We will spend two days trekking, exploring and bird-watching in the area before continuing on our westerly course.   

Day 10
Today we will wake up in front of Boano Island, which is famous for its towering cliffs, karst formations and white-sand beaches. We’ll use the tenders to explore this beautiful coastline. During lunch we will move to a nearby string of uninhabited islands for some spectacular snorkelling.

Day 11
This morning will be spent on the island of Manipa, said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese never set foot on it despite occupying the surrounding islands. The village that we will explore is simple but bright with tropical blooms, while the surrounding gardens, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and the sago palm. We will visit a distillery for the locality’s famous ‘kayu putih’ oil – a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without, for all the aches and pains, colds and stomach upsets that afflict us. It is distilled from vats full of the crushed leaves of melaleuca trees. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beachcombing.

Day 12 
In the morning, we will find ourselves at anchor in the harbour of Ambon. After a final, hearty breakfast, we will say goodbye to the Katharina and her crew. Our tenders will then take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. If you wish to spend some extra time in Ambon we are happy to arrange a city tour.

Meet Cruise Expert >>

Cruise Summary

SeaTrek is excited to introduce a brand new partnership with Dr. Tony Whitten, Director of Fauna & Flora International for the Asia-Pacific region. This expedition is designed to complement our award-winning 2013 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime ‘Wallace Trails and Sails’ tour and give guests an opportunity to visit some of the most exceptional and remote islands and settlements Indonesia has to offer, while being led by one of it’s most knowledgeable experts. Our inclusive 12-day tour works its way through the very centre of the eastern Indonesian Archipelago. We will journey from the astonishing region of Raja Ampat, which has arguably the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas, where we will trek on land to view the red bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. We will stop at the scarcely populated and seldom visited island of Seram where we will spend time trekking and bird-watching in the national park. The combination of seeing this tremendous world from our graceful pinisi, the Ombak Putih, the unique tour stops, the unbeatable excursions on land, snorkelling and swimming the pristine waters, and the expert guidance of the inimitable and inspiring Dr. Tony Whitten makes this a not-to-be-missed tour of a lifetime. This is an exceptional opportunity to delve deeply into Eastern Indonesia.

Note: Guests will meet the Ombak Putih in Sorong in West Papua. As we would like to start on time we recommend that you fly to Makassar (Sulawesi) one day before and take an early morning flight from Makassar to Sorong. Airfares to Sorong and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
Your flight arrives in the Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat.  You will be met at the airport and transferred to the harbour where the Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, you will have time to meet your cruise director who will brief you about the trip.  Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, and stop for a refreshing swim along the way. Later, we will enjoy dining alfresco on the main deck while getting to know the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.

Day 2
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village.  It will be an early morning start as the dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us on a 20-minute walk into the forest. As dawn breaks in the forest canopy, we should get good views of the bright ‘Cendrawasih Merah’ or Red Bird of Paradise. Back in the village there will be time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. 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, while learning the myth about the prehistoric hand print still visible high on a limestone cliff.  In the afternoon we’ll head east and should have time for a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner.

Day 3
This morning we wake up on the north coast of the jungle-clad island of Batanta.  Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior We will anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our hike. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 4
Today the Katharina will make its way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel with some of the larger marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient- rich currents. We will end our day in front Arborek Village, where we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and get a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living on this tiny isolated island.  Arborek is also home to a local manta conservation project where volunteers will happily show us around and explain their efforts and programmes in more detail.

Day 5
In the morning, the Katharina will be moored in front of the island of Penemu. The heart of the island is home to the famous ‘Hidden Bay’. We will take a short hike here to experience one of the most famous views that Raja Ampat has to offer. The rest of the day we will spend exploring, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling in the surrounding areas.  Early evening we will set course for the Misool Archipelago.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over this picturesque chain of islands, we will have a chance to visit a cavernous grotto adorned with spectacular stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to reach the other islands that make up the Misool archipelago. The landscape is typical of ‘karst dissolution’, of a great number of tiny islets whose bases over time have been eroded by the relentless motion of the tides. We will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Katharina will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol bay.

Day 7
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites.  The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Overnight we cruise towards the island of Seram.

Day 8 & 9
The pristine island of Seram (Ceram) is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as the holder of the local beliefs and culture of the Lease Islands. Seram is rarely visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the village of Sawai, an oasis in itself, but also a perfect land base for us to make the most of Seram’s stunning northern coast and Manusela National Park. We will spend two days trekking, exploring and bird-watching in the area before continuing on our westerly course.   

Day 10
Today we will wake up in front of Boano Island, which is famous for its towering cliffs, karst formations and white-sand beaches. We’ll use the tenders to explore this beautiful coastline. During lunch we will move to a nearby string of uninhabited islands for some spectacular snorkelling.

Day 11
This morning will be spent on the island of Manipa, said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese never set foot on it despite occupying the surrounding islands. The village that we will explore is simple but bright with tropical blooms, while the surrounding gardens, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and the sago palm. We will visit a distillery for the locality’s famous ‘kayu putih’ oil – a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without, for all the aches and pains, colds and stomach upsets that afflict us. It is distilled from vats full of the crushed leaves of melaleuca trees. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beachcombing.

Day 12 
In the morning, we will find ourselves at anchor in the harbour of Ambon. After a final, hearty breakfast, we will say goodbye to the Katharina and her crew. Our tenders will then take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. If you wish to spend some extra time in Ambon we are happy to arrange a city tour.

About The Expert: Dr. Tony Whitten

Dr. Tony Whitten was trained as a wildlife biologist and since late 2010 he has been the Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest international conservation organization. The subject of his PhD at Cambridge University was on the endangered gibbon on a remote and primitive island west of Sumatra in the mid 1970s. After this Tony worked at the University of North Sumatra where he initiated production of a major and innovative series of books on the ecology of the several regions of Indonesia, writing three of them himself, each taking about three years. During a two-year spell in the UK, he was employed by the British government’s conservation agency to write its Recovery Plan for Protected Species – covering sea anemones to wild cats.  He joined the World Bank in 1995 and supported a broad range of activities and projects until he left in 2010: he advised on habitat and species protection issues as part of infrastructure projects, started various region-wide and global activities (e.g. on the forgotten biodiversity of caves and karst), ran a programme which produced 111 volumes of local language field guides to all manner of plants and animals, and was responsible for a suite of conservation projects in Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and elsewhere in the region.  He has an in-depth and broad knowledge of biodiversity and has published on a wide variety of topics.

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Dr. Tony Whitten

Dr. Tony Whitten was trained as a wildlife biologist and since late 2010 he has been the Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest international conservation organization. The subject of his PhD at Cambridge University was on the endangered gibbon on a remote and primitive island west of Sumatra in the mid 1970s. After this Tony worked at the University of North Sumatra where he initiated production of a major and innovative series of books on the ecology of the several regions of Indonesia, writing three of them himself, each taking about three years. During a two-year spell in the UK, he was employed by the British government’s conservation agency to write its Recovery Plan for Protected Species – covering sea anemones to wild cats.  He joined the World Bank in 1995 and supported a broad range of activities and projects until he left in 2010: he advised on habitat and species protection issues as part of infrastructure projects, started various region-wide and global activities (e.g. on the forgotten biodiversity of caves and karst), ran a programme which produced 111 volumes of local language field guides to all manner of plants and animals, and was responsible for a suite of conservation projects in Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and elsewhere in the region.  He has an in-depth and broad knowledge of biodiversity and has published on a wide variety of topics.