Cruise the breathtakingly beautiful archipelago consisting of more than 1500 islands, cays and shoals. See the exotic Wilson’s bird of paradise, cross the equator and take part in a mantra ray convention! Snorkel through caves and take guided walks through the jungle.
Your adventure begins amidst the tropical charm of Darwin. You will be met at your hotel and transferred to board a charter flight for the short flight to Sorong where you will welcomed on-board the magnificent True North. Enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail as we cruise to Misool Islands and then watch the sun set in a different land before indulging in an equally stunning dining experience.
This morning we continue our adventures at Misool Island. The waters surrounding this island teem with fish life, over-sized sea fans and, feature the underwater caverns of Farondi Island. Take a scenic ride around the spectacular Balbulol island formations or enjoy a second dive at “No Contest” (you’ll soon see why it’s so named) Over lunch we’ll steam into one of the prettiest anchorages in Raja Ampat – the Mesempta Karst Channels. But you’ll have to wait to really soak in the view as we’re off for a unique snorkel/float through the sacred Tomolol cave system – a truly awesome adventure. The Misool Island heli-flight is also not to be missed – you’ll be blown away by the aerial beauty of this region. In the late afternoon join your favourite expedition boat for a ‘drinks and nibbles’ cruise through the beautiful Karst Islands – don’t forget your cameras.
The helicopter is away early this morning revealing the spectacular Fam Group of Islands. The expedition boats will offer scenic cruises around beautiful Penemu Island and the Yeben Islands boast even more opportunity for beach-combing, snorkelling and diving. And after lunch it’s time for a cruise highlight. Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection and, he conducted extensive fieldwork on the Malay Archipelago. This afternoon you will slip into the coastal channel that bears his name to discover one of the world’s most unique snorkeling experiences. Surrounding currents converge in the Alfred Russel Wallace Channel to create a ½ mile long ‘drift snorkel’. The current will guide you over stunning orange cup corals, seahorses and clownfish – the vibrant water movement is one of the reasons why the area is so rich in coral and fish life – and all the while you will be surrounded by dense jungle! At the end of the channel the ship’s expedition boats will be waiting – but you may just want to do it all over again. End the day with another thoroughly enjoyable True North “raft up” as the expedition boats cruise through “Hidden Lagoon”.
Wake to the majestic beauty of Gam Island in the heart of Raja Ampat. With mesmerising underwater scenery, white sandy beaches, lush fringing jungle and, the opportunity to see both the red bird of paradise and manta ray – your day will be filled with a variety of visual wonder.
Kri is a long and narrow island that offers some of the Raja Ampat’s best diving and snorkelling. In fact, the abundant variety of fish seen at Cape Kri will likely astound! It was here that specialist guide, ichthyologist Dr. Gerry Allen, smashed his record for the total number of fish species recorded on a single tank dive – 374 species!
Wake to the stunning scenery of Wofoh Island – enjoy a breath-taking dive on the black coral forest, snorkel over the lush coral gardens or simply laze on the gorgeous white sand beach (watch out for falling coconuts). Later in the morning we’ll cruise to the rocky islets of Bougainville Strait and if we’re lucky we can take part in a manta ray convention! Plankton rich currents often attract large numbers of manta rays to Eagle Rock – jump in and have a swim with these gentle giants of the sea. This afternoon we visit the Australian-owned “Atlas South Sea Pearls” pearl farm at Aljui Bay – a chance to learn about the intriguing art of pearl farming and an opportunity to purchase a very authentic reminder of your time in this timeless land. And, we’ll send the fishing parties out in search of the revered mangrove jack – a great fighter and one of the best tasting fish you can catch. For the divers, tonight we’ll offer a night dive on the pearl farm jetty – chock-a-block with all manner of bizarre and beautiful critters ranging from wobbegongs, cockatoo waspfish, hairy ghostpipefish and even Raja Ampat’s endemic walking shark – not to be missed.
You’ll hardly believe your eyes as you emerge from your cabin and gaze upon the mind-blowing “karst beehive” islands of Raja Ampat’s “poster child” – the Wayag Archipelago. Enjoy a snorkel on these gorgeous reefs before we take a cruise on the expedition boats through the lagoon.
Wake and look forward to a second day in the Wayags. Another breathtaking day of snorkelling, diving, helicoptering and sightseeing. Plus we’ve got a new activity in mind today as well – get ready for our already-famous “Wayag Beach Party”. Select your place in the sun (or under a shady palm tree) and let the crew entertain with a sumptuous beach picnic and all manner of aquatic toy! Bizarre island formations, an azure sea and sparkling beaches fringed with palm trees in the foreground of dense Papuan jungle – two days in the stunning Wayag’s is never enough.
Next you’ll visit Ayau – one of the largest atolls in eastern Indonesia. This remote and very beautiful atoll was colonised by Papuan fishermen from Biak Island (to the east) over 100 years ago. The Ayau people are skilled at all means of fishing – from collecting edible worms from the powdery-white sand beaches to spearfishing amidst the coral splendour. The atoll is surrounded by crystal clear water that is frequented by large pods of dolphins. The outer-reef drops sharply to over 1000m and clouds of beautiful fish carpet the reef walls. The adventure boats will be busy as you snorkel and dive at several sites around the atoll or you can head off to the big-blue (outside the Ayau Marine Park) to try your luck at some deep-water trolling. You’ll also enjoy a traditional dance on the island of Miosbekwan – expect some loud drumming!
Mapia Atoll is a very remote and exquisite coral atoll seldom visited by tourists. Located north of the equator and lying basically in the middle of nowhere, the atoll presents classic opportunity to indulge in nature’s tropical ocean splendour. Vertical walls rise several thousand feet from the ocean floor and come alive with brilliant soft corals, gorgonians, sponges, myriads of tropical fish and a dense population of green and hawksbill turtles. The area also has an enviable reputation for light game fishing! Snorkel, dive and fish to your hearts content!
You’ll enjoy breakfast on-board before a private car transfer to Biak Airport and your chartered flight back to Darwin.