10 days / 9 nights
Duration
Feb 2018
Click for dates
per person from
US$ 4,455

Indonesia has more endemic birds than any other country, most of which can be found in the biogeographical region of Wallacea, which was named after the great naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace. Whether you are a mere nestling who is new to bird watching, a fully-fledged birder, or a seasoned twitcher, this expert-led, ten-day ornithological voyage through the remote, rainforest-clad islands and nature reserves of East Sulawesi presents a fantastic opportunity to add some significant numbers to your lifelists. Birding in Sulawesi is an amazing experience because 96 of the 507 species birds that have been recorded here are endemic or near-endemic, and if you are a first-time visitor, you will be forgiven for thinking that you are in that avian paradise, which you have always dreamt of, where almost every different species you see will be a new one. Your sightings will be rich with spectacular birds that might include the Purple-bearded Bee-eater, the Purple-winged Roller, the Golden-mantled Racquet-tail, and the Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher. Sulawesi’s signature bird is the Maleo, an odd megapode, which lays its eggs in the warm volcanic soils, and you will have the chance to visit a couple of nesting sites, where you may be lucky enough to see some pink-flushed adults digging in the sand in preparation to lay their eggs. There will also be some fabulous raptor watching opportunities, with possibilities to see the Sulawesi Serpent-Eagle, the Sulawesi Hawk-Eagle, Black Eagles, Rufous-bellied Eagles and Black Kites.

Every day from dawn until midday will be spent bird watching and trekking on the various islands in the company of professional spotters. In the afternoons there will be opportunities to do some snorkelling on the colourful coral reefs and to visit remote villages in the area, but of course, the afternoons can also be a time for trekking and bird watching ashore. Please be aware that the itinerary may be subject to change, depending on tides and weather conditions.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Pulau Labengke and Pulau Salabangka include, among others:  Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Goshawk, Spot-tailed Goshawk, Ochre-bellied Boobook, Ashy Woodpecker, Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk. 

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Morowali Nature Reserve include, among others: Maleo, Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi Hornbill, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Crow, Sulawesi (white-rumped) Triller, White-necked Myna, Yellow-billed Malkoha, Isabelline Bush-hen, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Sulawesi Hawk-eagle, Great-billed Kingfisher, Green-backed Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Red-eared Fruit-Dove, Grey-headed Imperial-Pigeon, White-bellied Imperial-Pigeon.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Pulau Peleng include, among others: Ornate Lorikeet, Banggai Fruit-Dove, Slaty Cuckooshrike, Banggai Crow, Red-and-Black Thrush, Peleng Leaf-Warbler, Rusty-bellied Fantail, Helmeted Myna, Sula Scrubfowl, Glossy Starling, Red-and-black Thrush, Red-backed Thrush.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at the Togian Islands include,  among others: Togian Boobook, Togian Golden Bulbul, Small Sparrowhawk, Blue-faced Rail, White-faced Cuckoo-Dove, Sulawesi Ground-Dove, Bay Coucal, Sulawesi Scops-Owl, Speckled Boobook, Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher, Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher, Purple-bearded Bee-Eater, Purple-winged Roller, Golden-mantled Racquet-Tail, Yellow-breasted Racquet-Tail, Pied Cuckoo-shrike, White-rumped Cuckoo-shrike, Sulawesi Cicadabird, Sulawesi Drongo, Sulawesi (rusty-backed) Thrush, White-rumped Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike.

Note: This is a first-time exploratory trip for SeaTrek, and as such it is reflected in the lower than normal price of the tour, but we will have professional guides on board to help us find the best locations and as many birds as possible en route. Please be aware that the itinerary may be subject to change due to tides, weather conditions or harbour restrictions.

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. 

1

Day 1

Arriving at Kendari Airport, we will be transferred, 50km south of the city, to Lapuko Harbour, where we will join our splendid ship, the Ombak Putih. After lunch and a general briefing, we hope to do our first bird-watching trek in the afternoon, near the beautiful Moramo Waterfall in the Tanjung Peropa Nature Reserve. Overnight we will cruise to Wawolesea on the East Sulawesi mainland

2

Day 2

Early in the morning we will start birding on the coast in front of the village of Wawolesea, and we will walk to the nesting site of the famous, endemic and nearly-extinct maleo bird. Instead of incubating their eggs, the maleos tap the natural resources of the island, relying on heat from thermal vents or sun-warmed sand to incubate their eggs. Furthermore, instead of building up like other megapodes, maleos dig down. Later, we will cruise to Pulau Labengke (Pulau is the Indonesian word for 'island'), where we can do some more birding in the afternoon. If time allows we can also do some snorkelling in this area. Overnight we will continue cruising in a northerly direction to the Salabangka Islands.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Pulau Labengke and Pulau Salabangka include, among others: Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Goshawk, Spot-tailed Goshawk, Ochre-bellied Boobook, Ashy Woodpecker, Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk. 

3

Day 3

We will have a full day to explore the Salabangka Islands: we can do some trekking and birding, visit a remote village and maybe do some snorkelling in the afternoon. Overnight we will cruise to the Morowali Nature Reserve.

4

Day 4

At dawn we will do an interesting trek in the Morowali Nature Reserve to find the isolated Wana tribe in the forest. The Wana are the native people inhabiting the reserve; about 600 families still live according to their ancient traditions. On the way, we will pass a maleo nesting site and we will have the chance to see many other birds of the area. From the village, we will return to the beach using longboats across a fast running river, an unforgettable experience. Later, the crew will weigh anchor for our crossing to Pulau Peleng.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Morowali Nature Reserve include, among others: Maleo, Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi Hornbill, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Crow, Sulawesi (white-rumped) Triller, White-necked Myna, Yellow-billed Malkoha, Isabelline Bush-hen, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Sulawesi Hawk-eagle, Great-billed Kingfisher, Green-backed Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Red-eared Fruit-Dove, Grey-headed Imperial-Pigeon, White-bellied Imperial-Pigeon.

5

Day 5

Early in the morning we will start a day-long trekking and birding expedition on the west side of Pulau Peleng, not far from the village of Tataba. Walking inland the trail passes from coastal agriculture through degraded forest, to intact forest on the hills. In the evening we will cruise to the north side of the island.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at Pulau Peleng include, among others: Ornate Lorikeet, Banggai Fruit-Dove, Slaty Cuckooshrike, Banggai Crow, Red-and-Black Thrush, Peleng Leaf-Warbler, Rusty-bellied Fantail, Helmeted Myna, Sula Scrubfowl, Glossy Starling, Red-and-black Thrush, Red-backed Thrush.

6

Day 6

Around the island’s main city of Salakan are extensive areas of degraded lowland forest. We hope to go birding and trekking near the village Kawalu, north of Salakan, while the crew visit the market in Salakan to provision for the rest of the cruise. In the afternoon we will start the long crossing to Pulau Waleabahi in the Togian Islands.

7

Day 7

Early in the morning we will go trekking and bird watching near Tobil village on the north side of Pulau Togian, and before lunch we may visit the nearby Danau (lake) Mariona, to snorkel with thousands of multi-hued stingless jellyfish. It still remains a mystery as to how this lake was formed, yet it is a fascinating experience. If time allows we can also try some snorkelling from the stunning Karina Beach, just next to the jellyfish lake. In the afternoon we can do another walk for birding near the village Tumbulawa on Pulau Batudaka, but those who prefer to go snorkelling can do so at the beautiful nearby Tumbulawa Reef. In the evening we will move to Pulau Malenge.

Endemic birds of Sulawesi spotted at the Togian Islands include, among others: Togian Boobook, Togian Golden Bulbul, Small Sparrowhawk, Blue-faced Rail, White-faced Cuckoo-Dove, Sulawesi Ground-Dove, Bay Coucal, Sulawesi Scops-Owl, Speckled Boobook, Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher, Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher, Purple-bearded Bee-Eater, Purple-winged Roller, Golden-mantled Racquet-Tail, Yellow-breasted Racquet-Tail, Pied Cuckoo-shrike, White-rumped Cuckoo-shrike, Sulawesi Cicadabird, Sulawesi Drongo, Sulawesi (rusty-backed) Thrush, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike.

8

Day 8

We will set out at dawn for a long bird-watching excursion from the north side of the island, and end up at Tanjung Malenge on the south side. If time allows we can visit the small Bajau (sea gypsy) village built on nearby Pulau Papan, and walk to Pulau Malenge along a very long wooden bridge. In the afternoon we will take the dinghies to go snorkelling at the famous California Reef, north of Pulau Malenge. Another short jungle walk on the north side of the island is also a possibility. In the evening we will cruise to Pulau Una Una.

9

Day 9

At dawn we will start climbing Una Una’s Gunung Colo volcano (the highest point Sakora Peak 507m, southwest crater 235m), seeing many birds along the way. Our destination will be two small lakes – one cold and one boiling hot, in an area of  high geothermal activity. In the afternoon we will visit a nice snorkelling spot the north-west side of Pulau Una Una, but those who prefer to go bird watching are of course free to take another walk in the jungle. In the evening we will have our farewell party with the crew of the Katharina at the beach or on board. We will head off later that night to our final destination, the harbour of Gorontalo.

10

Day 10

We will wake up at Gorontalo Harbour, where we will visit the Portuguese-built Fort Otanaha, from where we will have a beautiful view of the city of Gorontalo and the vast Limboto Lake. With any luck there will be some Black Eagles and Black Kites flying around, and Yellow-billed Malkohas and Crimson-crowned Flowerpeckers hopping in the trees. At noon, we will say goodbye to the crew, disembark, and transfer to the airport for the return flight to Bali, Jakarta or elsewhere.

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Seatrek Sailing Adventures - Dr. Kees Groeneboer

Dr. Kees Groeneboer

A linguist, historian and 30-year resident of Jakarta, Dr. Kees Groeneboer is passionate about the spectacular birdlife of his adopted homeland. He has travelled extensively though Indonesia’s eastern isles on countless missions to see, hear, and identify as many as possible of these graceful, colourful and often-endangered denizens of the forests and the cliffs. He often shares his enthusiasm with others by leading specialist bird-watching cruises aboard the Katharina during which he embellishes his bird expertise with his in-depth knowledge of Indonesian history and culture. He is published on language policy and has a PhD in the history of the Dutch colonial policy in Indonesia from 1600 onwards.