Be one of a special few to join this full circumnavigation voyage around New Guinea. This one-off voyage is packed with highlights. Sailing in comfort aboard the brand-new Coral Adventurer, you will experience many diverse cultures from the Spice Islands to the Sepik River, marvel at untouched landscapes, explore the wonders of Raja Ampat, and be immersed in one of the world’s last frontiers.
Guests are welcomed to board Coral Adventurer at 8:30am and you will then depart Darwin at 10:00am. Get to know the ship and your fellow travellers as you sail across the Arafura Sea.
Guest lecturers will hold several presentations today, on the itinerary safety procedures and introduce you to Indonesian culture and protocols. This evening, mingle with the Captain, crew and fellow guests at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.
As Coral Adventurer arrives at the entrance (Zonegat channel) to Banda Neira, traditional long canoes known as Kora Kora emerge, rowed thunderously by men in traditional costume. These traditional war canoes provide an impressive escort into the caldera where you will enjoy the first look at Banda Neira. Your first visit to the island includes Rumah Budaya, Old Dutch Church Hatta House, Perigi Rante, a Nutmeg plantation and the highlight visit of the beautiful Fort Belgica, where you watch traditional dancing and sample local treats during sunset drinks at the fort.
History has coined these islands as the fabled Spice Islands and is not without sound reason. Today these islands may be almost unheard of, but they’ve played an important role in the European history from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Combining raw natural beauty, a warm local heart, and a palpable and fascinating history, this remote cluster of ten islands were home to some of the most prized and fought-over commodities in the past – nutmeg, cloves, and mace. Underwater, impressive undersea drop-offs are vibrantly plastered with multicoloured coral gardens. The central islands – Pulau Neira and Pulau Banda Besar – curl in picturesque crescents around the pocket-sized volcano Gunung Api.
Today, snorkel over the coral reef that has emerged on the lava flow from Gunung Api’s historic eruption. Others may go ashore in Banda for a ‘tea party’ in the charming local surrounds.
Visit this remarkable scenic bay, where waterfalls tumble directly into the ocean. Here you can enjoy water activities such as snorkeling, diving and kayaking.
Arguni is a small island off the west coast of West Papua province of Indonesia. The island covers less than 5 square kilometres. The local language Arguni is spoken by about 150 people. On the south side of the island are pearl farm buoys and cages floating in the warm clear water. Mangrove swamps, many interesting limestone islets and formations, Papuan rock art (notably hand and foot stencils), burial caves, and villages (some on stilts) line the shore line. While Arguni is in the Fakfak Regency, it still has a traditional king (a functionless title), Raja Hanaf Pauspaus of Arguni, one of many Kings of Indonesia.
On your arrival, you are greeted by villagers displaying many cultural attractions, including traditional dances, local music, and traditional handcrafts. Enjoy fresh coconut and browse around the village to observe daily life and interact with the local people. Following this, journey by zodiac to visit the famous ancient blood paintings at Roefroefoea. The paintings feature many hands of humans and also animal depictions, with the red colour of the paintings resembling the colour of blood.
At Misool you will explore “the stone gardens of Misool” with its misty beauty. As a hidden and deserted paradise, Misool is unspoiled with waters of aquamarine lined by towering karst cliffs of various shapes and forms. Misool waters have approximately 200 saltwater lagoons stretching like a green carpet and bustling with unique and beautiful corals. Here you will swim, snorkel and explore around the islands by kayak.
Kofiau Islands are covered by lush trees and wild plants, they offer a fantastic wealth of nature and beautiful scenery. The tropical rain forest is home to the endemic rare Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher, Kofiau Monarch and Kofiau Green-tree Python.
Here, you will enjoy white and soft sandy beaches, and crystal clear water with stunning corals. You will enjoy a welcome to the local villages, where you can meet the people in their daily lives. Witness traditional foods being prepared, and attend the celebration of Buka Sasi.
In the afternoon, enjoy snorkelling, diving, or birdwatching.
The jewel in the crown of Raja Ampat, picturesque gumdrop karsts are the backdrop for this paradise on earth. Here, the underwater world is rightly famous – spend time to discover with snorkelling, SCUBA diving, and kayaking opportunities. For the fit, a walk up to Mt Pindito is available. This steep up-hill walk rewards with remarkable views over the islands.
Pulau Dua: Amsterdam and Middleburg Island are two islands located in the Tambrauw Regency, West Papua. Tambrauw is an expanding new regency since 2009, and as a conservation regency, the local government of Tambrauw continues to seek sustainable management of natural resources that is beneficial to the welfare of the people. Natural resource management and physical development of the area are conducted based on the principles of nature conservation, forest area conservation, local community wisdom empowerment, and protection of customary rights of the community.
A lip shaped island, sloping white beaches with clear water give visibility right to the seabed; the impressive underwater slope and cliff contours loom with the glorious wreck of ships drowned during WWII. This has created colourful coral gardens which offer a sensational experience for snorkelers and divers. Amsterdam Island is also well-known as a place where Leatherback turtles return to lay eggs.
Just below the surface resides a Japanese plane wreck with big black corals, gorgonians, big lionfish, glassfish, shrimps and many more. Snorkellers on the surface can still clearly see the wreck when the weather cooperates and the water is still, or they may dive down for a closer look. Afterwards, hope to explore a nearby village to meet the locals.
Today, experience one of the highlights of this cruise – swimming with the whale sharks. The gentle giants will be swimming around the fishing bagans and guests may enter the water in small groups for a chance to swim with these amazing animals. This afternoon you will visit the Papuan village of Kwatisore, where the locals will perform a ‘bird of paradise’ dance and other traditional performances. You may also participate and dance with the local people. Market stalls will be set up with interesting items to purchase, such as carved paddles. They are skilled musicians here and will entertain you with their string band.
Today, you will have another opportunity to spot Birds of Paradise in your early morning outing. As you make your way to Mamberamo River the guest lecturers will hold insightful presentations.
The Mamberamo River is the largest river in Papua and is regarded as the Amazon of the East. It is considered as the largest river in Indonesia by volume. Along the huge river valley live many tribes who have little connection to the outside world. There is an abundance of amazing bio diversity here in flora and fauna. This is a true Expedition destination.
At tropical Jayapura city, nestled between beautiful steep forested mountains, you will have the opportunity to visit the bustling markets and exchange smiles with the locals. This is the clearance stop as you leave Indonesia and depart for Papua New Guinea.
Early this morning you will arrive into the port town of Wewak. There is an incredible amount of WWII history here, and you will go on a tour with local guides including Wewak Hill Lookout, ANZAC Memorial, Mission Hill, and also see the local craft markets.
At first light the Coral Adventurer will enter the mighty Sepik River. Your destination is the remote village of Bien or Kopar, where the locals are known for their arts and crafts. A true Sepik welcome awaits you as you step ashore! Take the opportunity to purchase the unique hand carvings of this region. As you depart from the Sepik River, sail past the active volcano at Manam Island as you enjoy sunset drinks.
Explore Madang and its surrounds, which sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands and is famed for its waterfront setting and colonial history. Discover the surrounding area on a Madang tour – which includes a visit to the Madang Haus Museum, the Coastwatchers Lighthouse, and Bil Bil Village where pottery is made. Certified divers have the opportunity to check out some great dive sites in the area with experienced local operators.
For guests who may only want to travel half way, Madang is where you may disembark.
Today you will visit the Dregerhafen in the Finschhafen district of Morobe, famous for Tami bowls and timber paddles. Visit the village of Gingala for a high spirited PNG welcome. The markets will be open and there will be a chance to walk through the village with the locals. After lunch enjoy snorkelling, diving, and kayaking in the waters of the lagoon. Finish the day with drinks on the sundeck and a BBQ.
Awaken early and travel ashore for a morning of water activities at Fly Island. Biangatu Reef is teeming with fish life and colourful coral. Enjoy snorkelling, diving or kayaking.
Enter the Morobe Harbour and cruise in the Xplorer to view the stunning forest from the Mou River. Receive an Oro Province welcome and enjoy exploring the village with local guides. At high tide you may be able to travel into a stunning hidden bay to another village.
The Battle of Buna saw some of the fiercest fighting between American, Australian and Japanese forces during the final stages of WW2. Walk through the jungle with the local villagers and discover the fascinating history. After lunch visit the beautiful Sanananda to visit the War Museum, which the village has built to honour both sides. You will have the opportunity to meet the local village people and enjoy their lovely gardens.
Soak up spectacular views as you cruise close to the towering cliffs before entering Tufi Fjord. Enjoy a leisurely swim and snorkel over colourful fringing reefs or visit the nearby resort for some relaxation.
Join the Expedition Staff on a walk to Dei Dei Hot Springs, where the people share their mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs. Learn of the history of the Kula Ring at Dobu Island and meet the local primary school children, who will welcome you with a traditional dance performance. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel the incredible Bubbling Springs Reef.
Cruise into beautiful Sewa Bay and be welcomed ashore to the local Pwanapwana Primary school. The locals will show you their traditional war dances and share a morning tea of pineapple, coconut milk, and sugar bananas.
At these small islands, have the opportunity to relax and take in your surroundings. Delami Island is home to a wonderful reef & beach where you may enjoy diving, snorkelling, swimming, and birdwatching. Bona Bona Island, with vibrant marine life, also offers a chance to explore with an Xplorer cruise around the coast as well as diving and snorkelling. You may visit the small village here, and spot some of the abundant bird life – crested term, eclectus parrot, or the pied imperial pigeon. The village gardens are lovely – the locals will explain the plants to you.
Many rivers run from the mountains into Hall Sound, with historic Yule Island providing shelter from the Coral Sea. Here, explore the sound and enjoy an enthusiastic Central Province welcome.
Explore the Gulf Province capital, and enjoy cultural experiences.
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea as you cruise through the Torres Strait and make your entry into Indonesia.
Founded by the Maro River, this is the Easternmost city of Indonesia. Merauke is the border area between West Papua and Papua New Guinea on the south coast of the island. About 75 percent of the area is still shrouded in dense forest. Merauke is known for a number of natural attractions including the beaches, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves and a captive crocodile. Guests will be welcomed with a traditional dance before going to the Wasur National Park which is regarded as the “Serengeti of Papua”. The savanna landscape is surrounded by forest and bamboo, with grasslands and swamps. Many migratory birds, wallabies, and casssowaries come and inhabit the Blue Marsh Lake. Also known for giant ant nests, you will continue to see these enormous formations, locally known as Musamus.
Enjoy a day at sea to relax as you prepare to encounter the Agats warriors.
Experience a memorable welcome by an armada of about 40 or more war-canoes, rowed powerfully towards the ship by the Asmat warriors in traditional costume. Disembarking by the Xplorer you are accompanied by the Asmat tribe’s warrior war-canoes to Syuru village where you are greeted by a welcome dance set and performance by the Asmat women. After the ceremony you are invited deep into the “Men’s House” to experience wonderful items of traditional wooden arts and sculpture, which are offered for sale. This afternoon, visit the Agats Township and the Museums there, with time for guests to purchase artifacts and souvenirs.
Enjoy a day at sea, relax and enjoy lectures on the natural and marine wonders of West Papua while you steam towards Triton Bay.
Triton Bay lies on the south coast of the West Papua province of Indonesia, surrounded by tropical rain forests and rising on one side to a 1060 metre peak. The waters of the bay nurture abundant marine life – 471 types of coral and 959 types of coral fish. In these waters, Bryde’s whales and whale sharks also find their home. Nearby this region is where Alfred Russel Wallace, contemporary and equal of Charles Darwin, wrote of his explorations in The Malay Archipelago around 1858. With visitors rare to this region, it is indescribably special.
Triton Bay is known for displaying a similarly impressive level of soft coral coverage as places like Misool Island. Epaulette sharks can be seen walking over the reefs as giant groupers lurk in sheltered spots, while schools of jacks and fusiliers dart en masse. Squadrons of bump head parrotfish charge around chomping the coral into fine sand, watched by ever-present turtles. Triton Bay’s black coral forests are awesome in scale and never fail to impress.
In one area the high limestone cliffs display extensive pre-historic drawings and carvings, coloured orange, white and black, which are truly breath-taking. Take a Zodiac ride up-river to visit the villages.
Kei Island is located on the edge of the ‘Coral Triangle’, which outlines the world’s richest waters. Not only does this overall region have the highest diversity in terms of fish but also invertebrates, mollusks and corals. Fringing and barrier reefs shelter a huge variety of very colourful reef fishes. Big fish cruise by: Spanish mackerels, dog tooth tuna, eagle or manta rays are common encounters.
Kei Islands are rapidly gaining a reputation as the place to go for perfect, unspoilt beaches, fringed with coconut groves. Ngurbloat beach is one of these. Five kilometres of soft white sand (rumoured to be as soft as flour), thousands of coconut trees, crystal clear blue sea and calm waves. Here we relax and reflect on our incredible journey of discovery.
Today, share memories of your adventures with photo sharing and final lectures by the Expedition Team. In the evening, attend the Captain’s farewell dinner.