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12 Nights | Departs Biak 18 Jan 2021 | Arrives Darwin 30 Jan 2021
On our Raja Ampat & Spice Islands expeditions, experience scenery of outstanding natural beauty, diverse wildlife and lively histories. This Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition is a unique journey of discovery and adventure like no other. Embark Coral Adventurer in Biak, West Papua, at the commencement of our 12-night voyage to Darwin and become one of the few to experience these rarely-visited islands.
The centre-piece of our expedition is a 3-day exploration through the nature lover’s paradise that is Raja Ampat. Harbouring over 75% of the world’s total coral and fish species, Raja Ampat’s pristine and brightly coloured reef systems offer perhaps the very best snorkelling and diving in the world today. On Misool, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of Raja Ampat, you will have the opportunity to visit the natural pool at Yapap. Its turquoise seawater is so clear that the sand and coral reefs on its shallow ocean floor are clearly visible from the surface. Swimming and diving here is incredible.
Over the centuries, many explorers sought the Spice Islands. Aboard Coral Adventurer, we’ll retrace their footsteps as we approach the island of Banda Neira, guided by the plume of smoke on the horizon from the island’s active Gunung Api volcano. The most treasured and valued commodities of their time, the world’s supply of nutmeg and mace was grown in the Spice Islands during the 12th and 15th centuries, and even today a stroll through Banda’s local spice markets offers a melting pot of aromas, colourful spices and vibrant characters. In Cenderawasih Bay, a protected Marine Park home to one of the world’s largest schools of Whale Shark, we’ll seek out these amazing fish and may be able to swim with them.
Cruising aboard Coral Adventurer, in the company of an experienced Expedition Team and all-Australian crew, you are sure to make the most of every minute discovering the very best that nature has to offer on this remarkable journey through Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.
|CORAL ADVENTURER||TWIN SHARE PER PERSON||SOLE USE*|
|Bridge Deck Suite||$19,990||n/a|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom||$15,340||n/a|
Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.
Embark: Board at Biak for 5:00pm departure on 18 January 2021.
Disembark: Arrive at Darwin at 7:00am and disembark at 8:00am, 30 January 2021.
Board Coral Adventurer at Biak where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 6:00pm departure.
The biodiversity hotspot of Cenderawasih Marine Park attracts a significant population of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea. Cenderawasih Bay is one of the few places worldwide where it’s possible to swim with this endangered species. There is no guarantee that whale sharks will materialise on cue – if they do, we may have the chance to snorkel amongst them. Eyeballing these enormous fish, which are completely harmless and can grow to the length of a bus, is an experience you won’t forget!
Cenderawasih Bay (translates to Bird of Paradise Bay), hosts an incredible array of marine biodiversity. The largest marine park in Indonesia, Teluk Cenderawasih National Park protects a rich marine ecosystem, and covers an area of more than 14,500 square kilometres and is home to whale sharks, dugongs, dolphins as well as over 200 known species of fish and 150 species of coral.
Later, we will visit a village with local guides and learn about West Papuan customs, cultures and the traditional lifestyles of the people. You will notice the difference in dancing, adornment and musical instruments of the West Papuan people in comparison to customs and culture of earlier islands visited in Raja Ampat and Spice Islands.
Depending on the weather and conditions, today we will enjoy either Roon Island or Auri Island.
One of the highlights of Roon Island is the wreckage of a Japanese Zero fighter plane lying in shallow water and is visible to snorkellers when the weather co-operates. The wreck has become a marine habitat and sports large corals, gorgonian fans as well as large populations of lionfish, surgeonfish and turtles amongst other marine life.
To reach Auri Island, we will navigate through picturesque island scenery before enjoying beach activities, swimming and snorkelling in this striking location. There is also a visit to a local village where we will enjoy a traditional dance and music performance. Villagers turn out adorned with body paint and dressed in colourful costumes with grass skirts, shells and beads along with elaborate headdresses.
A lip-shaped island, decorated sloping white beaches with clear water give its visibility right to the seabed; The impressive underwater slope and cliff contours looming with the glorious wreck of ships drowned during WW II creating colorful coral gardens offering a sensation for snorkelers and divers. Amsterdam Island is also well-known as a place where Leatherback turtles always land on the beach of the island to lay eggs after they travelled across the Pacific Ocean.
Here, we will be greeted by the locals, with ceremonial dance performances. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to snorkel or dive over the World War II shipwreck lying off the coast of the island. Nature lovers may join a guided nature walk through tropical rainforest in the hopes of sighting birds such as Sulphur crested cockatoos and Blyth hornbills.
Our introduction to the beautiful natural playground of Raja Ampat is at Wayag Island. Raja Ampat means the ‘Four Kings’ which refers to four main islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, in an archipelago comprising over 1,500 smaller islands.
Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and the maze of limestone ‘gumdrop’ islands as we swim and snorkel amongst the islands.
After lunch, there is an opportunity for an energetic hike up to famed Pindito Peak, with hikers rewarded by panoramic views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively, you may choose to relax with a gentle swim, snorkel or paddle a kayak.
Continuing our further Raja Ampat explorations, we may also visit Aljui Bay, Piaynemo or Kawe Islands.
More Raja Ampat treasures await today as we explore the magnificent waterways and lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac boats with time to swim in crystal clear waters and walk upon white-sand beaches amongst the many islands.
More than 1,000 prehistoric petroglyphs estimated up to 5,000 years old have been discovered at Misool. These ochre rock paintings, which depict human figures, canoes, sharks and dolphins as well as abstract images thought to symbolise fertility.
At Misool we visit Balbulol Lagoon, an almost landlocked inlet populated with conical-shaped islets undercut at sea level that rise from turquoise waters like Christmas Trees. There is time to swim and kayak amongst the islands in this beautiful lagoon.
We visit another similarly spectacular waterway at Yapap, considered one of the best natural pools in the world. This vast primordial pool is dotted with dramatic limestone formations which look more like chess pieces than rocks. The turquoise Yapap sea has such clarity that grains of sand and coral reefs on the seabed are visible from the surface. We also visit heart-shaped Dafalen Love Lake which can be viewed from up high with a climb to the summit of nearby cliffs. Swimming and diving in these pristine waters is an undisputed highlight of our Raja Ampat adventures.
The Banda archipelago is the historic heart of the spice trade and was once the world’s only source of nutmeg until the mid-19th century as Portuguese, Dutch and English fought for control over the spice trade. The ten volcanic islands have attracted traders and merchants for at least 2,000 years as highly sought-after goods such as cloves, textiles, batik and rice were moved through Banda.
As we approach Banda Neira, witness the outline of Gunung Api volcano with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit. Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes glide over the water to greet us and escort us into the harbour. Ashore, immerse yourself in the aromas, sights and sounds of the streets of Banda Neira on a guided tour to view Dutch East Indies Company’s’ colonial mansion relics, Rumah Budaya Museum and a neo-classical Dutch Reform Church with its 17th-century tombstones between the pews.
Snorkel and dive over the nearby lava flow reef system or explore ashore and enjoy local tea and snacks on the waterfront.
Later in the afternoon, there is time to explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611. The pentagonal shaped fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonisation. We enjoy a traditional dance and music performance before sitting down for dinner under the stars at Fort Belgica.
Hatta Island is famous for exceptional snorkelling and diving on submerged lava flow reefs. Just a few metres from the beach we snorkel amongst vibrant coral gardens and abundant fish species. There is an opportunity for a guided walk through the village to meet school children and to explore a nutmeg (Myristica) and pepper plantation.
This morning our expedition team share insights into the region before our arrival and clearances into one of the ‘Forgotten Islands’, Pulau Yamdena.
On Yamdena Island we take a guided bus tour through a scenic landscape to arrive at the ancient megalithic culture of Sangliat Dol. This is a remarkable place, with ancient megalithic sites. A flight of stairs leads up from the beach to reach the ceremonial area were the giant ancient stone boat remains. A ritual ceremony begins our visit, followed by cultural events including traditional dances, demonstrations of local handicrafts and traditional ways of cooking. Browse the village to observe an interesting insight into the daily life of the village, visit to the church, school and ancient stone boat wells, or mingle with the villagers.
Enjoy a relaxing sea day at leisure and join the Expedition Team as our onboard program of activities and informative presentations continues.
Coral Adventurer arrives into Darwin at 7:00am. Farewell your Master, crew and fellow guests with disembarkation at 8:00am.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|18 January 2021||18 Jan 2021||30 January 2021||30 Jan 2021||$9,900 to $15,340||$9,900 to $15,340||Coral Adventurer||Available||Book|
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Overlooking Darwin Harbour, the 4-star Novotel Darwin Atrium features a magnificent indoor rainforest in the atrium, large resort pool and spacious, comfortable guest rooms. Located close to the waterfront and Mitchell Street, try one of the area’s many dining options or dine al fresco at the hotel’s Zest restaurant.
Located in a prime position close to the waterfront, the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade offers comfortable and well appointed rooms, a large outdoor pool and friendly, relaxed service. Just a short stroll from all of the attractions of the city, the restaurants of Mitchell Street and art galleries.