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

Under the guidance of Fauna & Flora International’s Dr Tony Whitten, 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 the most knowledgeable and experienced 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 the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas. We shall trek on land and hope to see up to five species of bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. Fauna & Flora International has been active on Waigeo for some years and we shall meet the staff and learn about their work. We shall explore rarely visited parts of southern Misool and have the possibility of watching three species of bird of paradise new to the SeaTrek itineraries. We will stop at the dramatic north coast of Seram where we will spend time trekking, bird-watching and finding all sorts of interesting bits of natural history in Manusela 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 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.

 

Wallace-Hut
Just who was Alfred Russel Wallace? Click on his portrait to find out more. 

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 Ombak Putih 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 each other and the crew, watching the sun set on our first day at sea.’

Day 2
We wake to the entrancing serenity of the entrance of the Wallace Channel in the SW corner of Kabui Bay. After a leisurely breakfast, we will take the dinghies down to the far end of the channel and will read the section from Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago where he describes trying to find the way to Kabui Bay. We will snorkel just outside the entrance as well as along the channel, and around the mushroom-shaped islands as we return to Kabui Bay. We then move to the NE corner and meet the villagers of Wawiyai village where FFI works. At dusk, we will take the dinghies again to wait by a small island for hundreds of great-billed parrots to fly from the main island to roost for the night. 

Day 3
We will wake offshore of Yenbesir 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- to 30-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. On the way down we will pass the faithful reconstruction of the hut used here over 150 years ago by Alfred Ruissel Wallace.  We hope there will be time to go to the village, meet with the community, and perhaps visit the school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and we’ll find a wonderful site to snorkel and (if our luck holds) see some large fish. We’ll stop off at a tiny island to see the enormous coconut crabs. As the sun sets we will be relaxing on board and hoping to see hundreds of fruit bats leave their roost on the island of Mioskon as they go to the mainland to feed. We move to the nearby village of Saporkren.

Day 4
We are up early again, this time to see the exquisite Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We get to the site by dinghy and then a 45-minute walk up a sloping path. After breakfast on the boat we can visit Saporkren and learn about the FFI project on Waigeo. We then sail back to the snorkelling spot west of Kri Island, a place which our guests sometimes find hard to leave. 

Day 5
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 near Arefi Village, 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 island behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over the picturesque eastern Misool archipelago, we will have a chance to visit a large cave adorned with spectacular stalactites. A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  Another is our visit to an enclosed lake full of several species of harmless jellyfish which we swim amongst. 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 cave paintings depicting human palms, fish, etc. The landscape has many peculiar mushroom-shaped islands which have been formed by the relentless motion of the tides. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for frigate birds cruising high above us watching for fish below, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery.

Day 7
We move to the south shore of Misool and visit some of the villages along the way, including one built entirely on stilts. If the tides are right we may take an excursion up the mangrove-fringed Biga river. After a snorkel off one of the islands, we move to Kapatcol village which we will visit and where we will arrange for you to try to watch the Lesser and the King Birds of Paradise the next morning.  If there is time we will snorkel once more before the sun sets.

Day 8
We will rise early and local guides show us the way through the forest to see the birds. Back on the boat for breakfast some guests may want to take a rest, while others may prefer to use the sea kayaks and paddle boards to explore the mangrove fringes. Meanwhile we will set camera traps in the forest to photograph whatever passes by in the night.

Day 9
We remain on the south coast of Misool long enough to give everyone the chance to see both the Lesser and King Birds of Paradise, to retrieve the camera traps, and to explore the forests which are very poorly known and rarely penetrated. Here and elsewhere we will lower our plankton net and put whatever we find in a large jar for people to enjoy the peculiar and often transparent marine creatures which we find. Overnight we cruise south towards the island of Seram.

Day 10
The relatively pristine island of Seram is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as a place of strong local beliefs and culture. Seram is little visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the small village of Sawai, backed by stunning forested cliffs, from which we gain access to Manusela National Park where we will trek with local park rangers. In the early evening the boat will move offshore of another small village and we’ll wait for thousands of small bats to corkscrew out of their cave in search of food – as we sit down for our own dinner.

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 and friendly, and its surrounding fields, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and sago. 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.  We will also see how sago flour is produced and hopefully find some being cooked for us to eat. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beach combing.

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

Under the guidance of Fauna & Flora International’s Dr Tony Whitten, 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 the most knowledgeable and experienced 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 the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas. We shall trek on land and hope to see up to five species of bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. Fauna & Flora International has been active on Waigeo for some years and we shall meet the staff and learn about their work. We shall explore rarely visited parts of southern Misool and have the possibility of watching three species of bird of paradise new to the SeaTrek itineraries. We will stop at the dramatic north coast of Seram where we will spend time trekking, bird-watching and finding all sorts of interesting bits of natural history in Manusela 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 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.

 

Wallace-Hut
Just who was Alfred Russel Wallace? Click on his portrait to find out more. 

View Day-to-Day Itinerary >>
Cruise Summary

Under the guidance of Fauna & Flora International’s Dr Tony Whitten, 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 the most knowledgeable and experienced 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 the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas. We shall trek on land and hope to see up to five species of bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. Fauna & Flora International has been active on Waigeo for some years and we shall meet the staff and learn about their work. We shall explore rarely visited parts of southern Misool and have the possibility of watching three species of bird of paradise new to the SeaTrek itineraries. We will stop at the dramatic north coast of Seram where we will spend time trekking, bird-watching and finding all sorts of interesting bits of natural history in Manusela 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 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.

 

Wallace-Hut
Just who was Alfred Russel Wallace? Click on his portrait to find out more. 

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 Ombak Putih 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 each other and the crew, watching the sun set on our first day at sea.’

Day 2
We wake to the entrancing serenity of the entrance of the Wallace Channel in the SW corner of Kabui Bay. After a leisurely breakfast, we will take the dinghies down to the far end of the channel and will read the section from Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago where he describes trying to find the way to Kabui Bay. We will snorkel just outside the entrance as well as along the channel, and around the mushroom-shaped islands as we return to Kabui Bay. We then move to the NE corner and meet the villagers of Wawiyai village where FFI works. At dusk, we will take the dinghies again to wait by a small island for hundreds of great-billed parrots to fly from the main island to roost for the night. 

Day 3
We will wake offshore of Yenbesir 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- to 30-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. On the way down we will pass the faithful reconstruction of the hut used here over 150 years ago by Alfred Ruissel Wallace.  We hope there will be time to go to the village, meet with the community, and perhaps visit the school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and we’ll find a wonderful site to snorkel and (if our luck holds) see some large fish. We’ll stop off at a tiny island to see the enormous coconut crabs. As the sun sets we will be relaxing on board and hoping to see hundreds of fruit bats leave their roost on the island of Mioskon as they go to the mainland to feed. We move to the nearby village of Saporkren.

Day 4
We are up early again, this time to see the exquisite Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We get to the site by dinghy and then a 45-minute walk up a sloping path. After breakfast on the boat we can visit Saporkren and learn about the FFI project on Waigeo. We then sail back to the snorkelling spot west of Kri Island, a place which our guests sometimes find hard to leave. 

Day 5
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 near Arefi Village, 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 island behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over the picturesque eastern Misool archipelago, we will have a chance to visit a large cave adorned with spectacular stalactites. A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  Another is our visit to an enclosed lake full of several species of harmless jellyfish which we swim amongst. 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 cave paintings depicting human palms, fish, etc. The landscape has many peculiar mushroom-shaped islands which have been formed by the relentless motion of the tides. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for frigate birds cruising high above us watching for fish below, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery.

Day 7
We move to the south shore of Misool and visit some of the villages along the way, including one built entirely on stilts. If the tides are right we may take an excursion up the mangrove-fringed Biga river. After a snorkel off one of the islands, we move to Kapatcol village which we will visit and where we will arrange for you to try to watch the Lesser and the King Birds of Paradise the next morning.  If there is time we will snorkel once more before the sun sets.

Day 8
We will rise early and local guides show us the way through the forest to see the birds. Back on the boat for breakfast some guests may want to take a rest, while others may prefer to use the sea kayaks and paddle boards to explore the mangrove fringes. Meanwhile we will set camera traps in the forest to photograph whatever passes by in the night.

Day 9
We remain on the south coast of Misool long enough to give everyone the chance to see both the Lesser and King Birds of Paradise, to retrieve the camera traps, and to explore the forests which are very poorly known and rarely penetrated. Here and elsewhere we will lower our plankton net and put whatever we find in a large jar for people to enjoy the peculiar and often transparent marine creatures which we find. Overnight we cruise south towards the island of Seram.

Day 10
The relatively pristine island of Seram is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as a place of strong local beliefs and culture. Seram is little visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the small village of Sawai, backed by stunning forested cliffs, from which we gain access to Manusela National Park where we will trek with local park rangers. In the early evening the boat will move offshore of another small village and we’ll wait for thousands of small bats to corkscrew out of their cave in search of food – as we sit down for our own dinner.

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 and friendly, and its surrounding fields, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and sago. 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.  We will also see how sago flour is produced and hopefully find some being cooked for us to eat. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beach combing.

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 Ombak Putih 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 each other and the crew, watching the sun set on our first day at sea.’

Day 2
We wake to the entrancing serenity of the entrance of the Wallace Channel in the SW corner of Kabui Bay. After a leisurely breakfast, we will take the dinghies down to the far end of the channel and will read the section from Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago where he describes trying to find the way to Kabui Bay. We will snorkel just outside the entrance as well as along the channel, and around the mushroom-shaped islands as we return to Kabui Bay. We then move to the NE corner and meet the villagers of Wawiyai village where FFI works. At dusk, we will take the dinghies again to wait by a small island for hundreds of great-billed parrots to fly from the main island to roost for the night. 

Day 3
We will wake offshore of Yenbesir 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- to 30-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. On the way down we will pass the faithful reconstruction of the hut used here over 150 years ago by Alfred Ruissel Wallace.  We hope there will be time to go to the village, meet with the community, and perhaps visit the school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and we’ll find a wonderful site to snorkel and (if our luck holds) see some large fish. We’ll stop off at a tiny island to see the enormous coconut crabs. As the sun sets we will be relaxing on board and hoping to see hundreds of fruit bats leave their roost on the island of Mioskon as they go to the mainland to feed. We move to the nearby village of Saporkren.

Day 4
We are up early again, this time to see the exquisite Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We get to the site by dinghy and then a 45-minute walk up a sloping path. After breakfast on the boat we can visit Saporkren and learn about the FFI project on Waigeo. We then sail back to the snorkelling spot west of Kri Island, a place which our guests sometimes find hard to leave. 

Day 5
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 near Arefi Village, 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 island behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over the picturesque eastern Misool archipelago, we will have a chance to visit a large cave adorned with spectacular stalactites. A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  Another is our visit to an enclosed lake full of several species of harmless jellyfish which we swim amongst. 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 cave paintings depicting human palms, fish, etc. The landscape has many peculiar mushroom-shaped islands which have been formed by the relentless motion of the tides. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for frigate birds cruising high above us watching for fish below, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery.

Day 7
We move to the south shore of Misool and visit some of the villages along the way, including one built entirely on stilts. If the tides are right we may take an excursion up the mangrove-fringed Biga river. After a snorkel off one of the islands, we move to Kapatcol village which we will visit and where we will arrange for you to try to watch the Lesser and the King Birds of Paradise the next morning.  If there is time we will snorkel once more before the sun sets.

Day 8
We will rise early and local guides show us the way through the forest to see the birds. Back on the boat for breakfast some guests may want to take a rest, while others may prefer to use the sea kayaks and paddle boards to explore the mangrove fringes. Meanwhile we will set camera traps in the forest to photograph whatever passes by in the night.

Day 9
We remain on the south coast of Misool long enough to give everyone the chance to see both the Lesser and King Birds of Paradise, to retrieve the camera traps, and to explore the forests which are very poorly known and rarely penetrated. Here and elsewhere we will lower our plankton net and put whatever we find in a large jar for people to enjoy the peculiar and often transparent marine creatures which we find. Overnight we cruise south towards the island of Seram.

Day 10
The relatively pristine island of Seram is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as a place of strong local beliefs and culture. Seram is little visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the small village of Sawai, backed by stunning forested cliffs, from which we gain access to Manusela National Park where we will trek with local park rangers. In the early evening the boat will move offshore of another small village and we’ll wait for thousands of small bats to corkscrew out of their cave in search of food – as we sit down for our own dinner.

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 and friendly, and its surrounding fields, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and sago. 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.  We will also see how sago flour is produced and hopefully find some being cooked for us to eat. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beach combing.

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

Under the guidance of Fauna & Flora International’s Dr Tony Whitten, 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 the most knowledgeable and experienced 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 the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, to the white-sand dotted islands of the Moluccan and Banda Seas. We shall trek on land and hope to see up to five species of bird of paradise as well as other wildlife. Fauna & Flora International has been active on Waigeo for some years and we shall meet the staff and learn about their work. We shall explore rarely visited parts of southern Misool and have the possibility of watching three species of bird of paradise new to the SeaTrek itineraries. We will stop at the dramatic north coast of Seram where we will spend time trekking, bird-watching and finding all sorts of interesting bits of natural history in Manusela 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 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.

 

Wallace-Hut
Just who was Alfred Russel Wallace? Click on his portrait to find out more. 

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 Ombak Putih 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 each other and the crew, watching the sun set on our first day at sea.’

Day 2
We wake to the entrancing serenity of the entrance of the Wallace Channel in the SW corner of Kabui Bay. After a leisurely breakfast, we will take the dinghies down to the far end of the channel and will read the section from Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago where he describes trying to find the way to Kabui Bay. We will snorkel just outside the entrance as well as along the channel, and around the mushroom-shaped islands as we return to Kabui Bay. We then move to the NE corner and meet the villagers of Wawiyai village where FFI works. At dusk, we will take the dinghies again to wait by a small island for hundreds of great-billed parrots to fly from the main island to roost for the night. 

Day 3
We will wake offshore of Yenbesir 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- to 30-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. On the way down we will pass the faithful reconstruction of the hut used here over 150 years ago by Alfred Ruissel Wallace.  We hope there will be time to go to the village, meet with the community, and perhaps visit the school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and we’ll find a wonderful site to snorkel and (if our luck holds) see some large fish. We’ll stop off at a tiny island to see the enormous coconut crabs. As the sun sets we will be relaxing on board and hoping to see hundreds of fruit bats leave their roost on the island of Mioskon as they go to the mainland to feed. We move to the nearby village of Saporkren.

Day 4
We are up early again, this time to see the exquisite Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We get to the site by dinghy and then a 45-minute walk up a sloping path. After breakfast on the boat we can visit Saporkren and learn about the FFI project on Waigeo. We then sail back to the snorkelling spot west of Kri Island, a place which our guests sometimes find hard to leave. 

Day 5
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 near Arefi Village, 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 island behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel.

Day 6
Awaking to see the sunrise over the picturesque eastern Misool archipelago, we will have a chance to visit a large cave adorned with spectacular stalactites. A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.  Another is our visit to an enclosed lake full of several species of harmless jellyfish which we swim amongst. 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 cave paintings depicting human palms, fish, etc. The landscape has many peculiar mushroom-shaped islands which have been formed by the relentless motion of the tides. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for frigate birds cruising high above us watching for fish below, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery.

Day 7
We move to the south shore of Misool and visit some of the villages along the way, including one built entirely on stilts. If the tides are right we may take an excursion up the mangrove-fringed Biga river. After a snorkel off one of the islands, we move to Kapatcol village which we will visit and where we will arrange for you to try to watch the Lesser and the King Birds of Paradise the next morning.  If there is time we will snorkel once more before the sun sets.

Day 8
We will rise early and local guides show us the way through the forest to see the birds. Back on the boat for breakfast some guests may want to take a rest, while others may prefer to use the sea kayaks and paddle boards to explore the mangrove fringes. Meanwhile we will set camera traps in the forest to photograph whatever passes by in the night.

Day 9
We remain on the south coast of Misool long enough to give everyone the chance to see both the Lesser and King Birds of Paradise, to retrieve the camera traps, and to explore the forests which are very poorly known and rarely penetrated. Here and elsewhere we will lower our plankton net and put whatever we find in a large jar for people to enjoy the peculiar and often transparent marine creatures which we find. Overnight we cruise south towards the island of Seram.

Day 10
The relatively pristine island of Seram is a remote place of hilly jungle, which has long been revered as a place of strong local beliefs and culture. Seram is little visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the small village of Sawai, backed by stunning forested cliffs, from which we gain access to Manusela National Park where we will trek with local park rangers. In the early evening the boat will move offshore of another small village and we’ll wait for thousands of small bats to corkscrew out of their cave in search of food – as we sit down for our own dinner.

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 and friendly, and its surrounding fields, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and sago. 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.  We will also see how sago flour is produced and hopefully find some being cooked for us to eat. During lunch we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for our final opportunity to do some exceptional snorkelling and beach combing.

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.