12 days / 11 nights
Click for dates

How I wished that I had the brain of a Russel Wallace and could read more clearly the illuminated page of Nature. - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In collaboration with Dr. George Beccaloni – naturalist, Wallace expert and head of the Wallace Correspondence Project – In collaboration with Dr. George Beccaloni – naturalist, Wallace expert and head of the Wallace Correspondence Project – this exclusive SeaTrek itinerary honours Alfred Russel Wallace in the 150th year since the publication of his seminal travelogue, The Malay Archipelago. Like Wallace, we will go in search of the stunningly beautiful Birds of Paradise, which he regarded as "…one of the most beautiful and most wonderful of living things."

With George as our on-board guest expert, our journey on-board the Ombak Putih will visit some of the places that most fascinated Wallace: the Spice Island of Ternate, Wallace's base for his eastern travels and once the centre of the world clove trade.; the mysterious island of Halmahera where Wallace discovered evolution by natural selection; the remote Raja Ampat Islands with their pristine incredibly diverse coral reefs and glorious Birds of Paradise

Along the way, we hope to see some incredible animals, including possibly five species of Birds of Paradise (about the same number Wallace saw), giant clams, massive manta rays, humongous coconut crabs, endangered black macaque monkeys, and if we are very lucky, dugongs. The landscapes are spectacular: from remote palm-fringed coral islands, to majestic rainforests, to huge smoking conical volcanos. On-board the Ombak Putih we will have comfortable cabins and delicious food. For us there will be none of the hardships that Wallace experienced: more than once he had to make a small parakeet last for two frugal meals as he sat in his small leaking ant-infested hut in the pounding tropical rain.

The Ship's Naturalist Dr. George Beccaloni, is a knowledgeable all-round naturalist and a world expert on Wallace, who has visited Indonesia five times previously on natural history-related trips. George is the Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project (http://wallaceletters.info) which aims to locate, digitize, transcribe, interpret all of Wallace's surviving letters and other manuscripts. Its online digital archive and publications will be a key resource for all those interested in the life and work of this great man.

The Expert's Advice.

Zoologist, cockroach expert, and founder of the Wallace Correspondent Project, George will be delivering a series of talks throughout the trip, which are listed below. He will also be screening a couple of documentaries on Wallace and Darwin, and the BBC documentary, Jungle Hero with comedian Bill Bailey, which George was the historical consultant for, spending several weeks in Indonesia helping with the filming. With Q&As to follow.

  • The Majesty of the Birds of Paradise

  • The Animals and Plants of the Malay Archipelago

  • Creatures You May See When Snorkelling

  • Alfred Russel Wallace: An Overview of His Life and Work

  • The Wallace Correspondence Project

  • Humans in Indonesia: An Ancient History

  • The Humble Cockroach and their Amazing Diversity

  • The World’s Biggest Bugs


Note: The price of this cruise does not include any domestic airfares to and from our start and end points, however, our reservations specialists in Bali are more than happy to help arrange domestic flights on your behalf and advise on scheduling. We book hundreds of flights each year on behalf of our guests and we know the best routes to take to ensure you arrive on time. We only book with IATA-approved airlines that have met with international standards of safety and dependability. Except for Bali, transfers to and from local airports to the boat are also included. If you are booking flights by yourself, do not book any flights before checking with us first. Our first and last day programmes rely on strict time scheduling, so please confirm with us to ensure that you arrive and depart at your destination with plenty of time to spare and to avoid disruption to other guests' schedules. 

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