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Cruising Raja Ampat must rate as one of life's most beautiful experiences in the world. This special SeaTrek itinerary honours Alfred Russel Wallace, the prominent scientist who was one of the first who dared to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity some 150 years ago. In the company of our guest expert, Alexander Reeuwijk, we will revisit some of the areas that Wallace found so fascinating, and we will hopefully experience the magic of seeing the bird of paradise in its full glory within its natural habitat. We may also get lucky and get to snorkel with whale sharks in Triton Bay, but there are no promises as we don’t have these wild animals on a leash. Wallace’s observations of the marked zoological differences across a narrow strait in the archipelago led to his proposing the faunal boundary line, now known as the Wallace Line, which separates the eco zones of Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species, while to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. While he was exploring the archipelago, Wallace refined his thoughts about evolution and had his famous insight on natural selection. In 1858 he sent an article outlining his theory to Darwin; it was published, along with a description of Darwin’s own theory, in the same year.
The Expert's Advice
Being a Dutchman and a keen naturalist, Alex has a strong affinity and understanding of both the colonial history of the former East Indies, and the rich diversity of its ecology. Along the way, Alex will be leading each day’s shore programmes by sharing his knowledge and observations of the areas we visit, while in the evenings his lectures can’t help but leave everyone hungry for more. His lecture topics include:
- The Moluccas and the Dutch. A Bloody History
- The Natural History of Ambon and Seram
- The Discovery and Mapping of Papua
- Indonesia, biogeography and Alfred Russel Wallace (two talks)
- The Age of Descent: the History of the Theory of Evolution
- Sexual Selection and Beyond: Darwin vs Wallace
- All Things Birds of Paradise
- The Bountiful Birds of Raja Ampat
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, please 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.